ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday said that Pakistan would be the first country of South Asia to have electric vehicles on its roads this year which is a matter of pride.
He was addressing the signing ceremony of strategic alliance agreement for setting up of electric vehicles value chain in Pakistan between Daewoo Pakistan Express Bus Service in Pakistan and Skywell Automobile China.
Speaking on the occasion, he said that the work on electric bikes and three-wheelers vehicles was on cards while the four wheelers policy will also be finalised within 20 days.
Fawad said that electric vehicles will help reduce the issue of pollution which poses severe health hazards for the people especially of Lahore and Karachi in the winter season.
He also admired the Billion Tree Project launched by the Prime Minister Imran Khan for overcoming the issue of environmental pollution as well as the contributions rendered by Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change Amin Aslam in this regard.
He said that the federal government was taking strong measures to control pollution but unable to understand why Punjab and Sindh governments were not taking steps for reducing pollution.
He conveyed that Pakistan has also launched its renewable policy according to which the country will work on solar and wind energy on priority basis.
“Our biggest problem was lack of coordination between civil and military side in research and development sectors. Now the first-ever civil-military interface in the field of science in Pakistan will help boost the research culture,” he said.
About the country’s efforts regarding Covid-19, the minister said that when the first case of Covid-19 appeared, Pakistan was relying on import of medical equipment even goggles, masks and protective face shields but now became a major exporter of Covid-19 medical products.
Emphasising the need to formulate the next 10 years’ policy keeping in view the requirements of modern technologies, the minister said that if any country wants to achieve progress; it has to focus on science and technology.
He said that it is very unfortunate that the science and technology ministry was not given due attention in the past years.
He recalled that Pakistan had started its space programme even before China and India but now people express astonishment when the government talks about sending Pakistan’s space mission by next year.
Fawad said that Chinese ambassador is the most popular ambassador among all in Pakistan. During his last visit to China, he had meetings with the officials of 41 companies.
According to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on Wednesday, this project will be launched in two phases. In the initial phase, 50 million dollars investment will be made while in the second phase; manufacturing of the electric buses will be started.
The private sectors of Pakistan and China will have partnership in view of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador of China to Pakistan Yao Jing said that the world knows that Pakistan and China are close friends and the masses and governments of both the countries are working to achieve progress.
“We want to involve private sector in Pakistan-China partnership in different sectors,” he said.
Appreciating Fawad’s last year’s visit to China, he said that the minister is taking valuable steps to put this country on right track. Pakistan is welcoming the investment of private sector and giving incentives to the foreign investors which he termed as a good sign.
The ambassador said that environment-friendly vehicles will bring substantial development to the country.
Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla said that any investment in Pakistan is close to his heart as only investment can bring real change in terms of development in the country.
He praised Fawad’s statement terming him the person who is highly respected even in the opposition.
He said that Pakistan was largely depending on fossil fuels in the transport and energy sector. China has been offering support for partnership in private sector, he added.
“It is the time for car and bus manufacturers to come forward and their 20 to 30 per cent production should be of electric vehicles. Such efforts will also help reduce pollution which is a big problem in our country,” he further said.
Skywell Automobile CEO speaking through video-link, said that this agreement between Pakistan and China will help built the automobile industry of Pakistan on modern lines and open new avenues for energy-based vehicles.
“We are striving for promoting new energy vehicles policy in Pakistan. Electric special vehicles and logistics can have a big share in global market,” he said.
Warm Waters Chairman Lt General (r) Asif Yaseen said that Pakistan is one of those countries which are most affected by the climate change. 40 per cent of the pollution comes from the transport sector which can be overcome with the advent of electric vehicles, he added.