Western route on schedule for completion in 2018


Parliamentary Committee on CPEC met on Wednesday at the Parliament House with Senator Mushahid Hussain in the chair. The committee got a detailed and comprehensive briefing from Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal, who informed the members that the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC), which is the apex body for the CPEC, will hold its 6th meeting in Beijing on November 28-29, 2016. Before that meeting, the Joint Working Groups will be held during the early part of November.

He also announced that 5 joint Pakistan-China workshops will be held to learn from the Chinese experience in urban and rural development, poverty alleviation and industrial parks. Ahsan Iqbal said that as per the directions of the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC, all the provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan would be invited to the JCC meeting in Beijing.

Senator Mushahid Hussain appreciated this initiative of Ahsan Iqbal to hold workshops and include the provinces in the JCC meeting, as he said ‘CPEC should move forward with full consensus, transparency and inclusive development particularly that of less developed areas like Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan’. He also said that Gilgit-Baltistan was being fully included in CPEC through Eco-friendly economic projects in different areas.

Ahsan Iqbal also briefed the Parliamentary Committee on his recent visit to China, along with the Railways Minister, Kh Saad Rafiq, where the decision was taken for upgradation and dualization of the Pakistan Railways main line track from Karachi to Torkham, at a cost of $ 8 billion, of which $ 5.5 billion would be a concessional loan from China.

Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, Hafiz Hafeezur Rahman, who attended the session on special invitation, thanked the Parliamentary Committee for including Gilgit-Baltistan in all its deliberations. He said Gilgit-Baltistan had potential to generate over 30,000 megawatts of electricity, which should be harnessed.

The NHA chairman briefed the Parliamentary Committee on progress towards the construction of the Western route of the CPEC, which he explained with detailed maps and statistics, that the policy guidelines of the APC of May 28, 2015 and January 15, 2016, were being fully implemented. He also assured that the Western route was being given priority and it be completed by August 2018.