A team of Chinese socio-economic development experts will visit Pakistan in the last week of February to finalise the projects and their sites in already agreed six different areas under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

This was disclosed by a spokesperson for the Ministry of Planning, Development, and Reform on Saturday.

The spokesperson, in a statement, also clarified a news item published in a section of press regarding delays in implementation of CPEC, saying that none of the projects is facing delay; rather Pakistan and China are in agreement on the future trajectory of CPEC and timely completion of its ongoing projects.

He said the successful 8th Joint Cooperation Committee meeting had laid the foundation for the expansion of CPEC to new heights.

For future, he said, joint efforts are under way, focusing on socio-economic development and accelerating cooperation in industrial development as well as agriculture.

The MoU on the formation of Joint Working Group (JWG) on socio-economic development and on poverty reduction was signed during the prime minister’s visit to China in November this year, the spokesman added.

On Gwadar, he said, Pakistan and China have agreed to speed up the progress on the port and its auxiliary projects. The groundbreaking of New Gwadar Airport, vocational institute, and hospital are planned in the first quarter of this year. Gwadar Master Plan is in the final stages of formulation.

Huge investment is expected in the petrochemical sector at Gwadar, he said.

Pakistan and China, the spokesman said, have expedited the work on industrial cooperation under CPEC and the government has expedited development of special economic zones by prioritising Rashakai, Dhabeji Faisalabad and ICT SEZs with a vision to make 2019 a year of industrial development under CPEC.

Pakistan and China have expedited cooperation in the field of agriculture with a special focus on enhancing cooperation in the areas of climate change, desertification control, desalination, water management, afforestation and ecological restoration, wetland protection and restoration, wildlife protection, forestry industry development, disaster management and risk reduction and other areas of mutual interest.

A sub group has been elevated to a full-fledged JWP and its meeting is planned in the first quarter of this year, he said. 

China Pakistan - CPEC
Photo: Chinese trucks parked at Pakistan Port Gwadar, which opened on Nov 13, 2016.

The government, the spokesman said, promotes the development of hydro energy projects and more projects based on indigenous sources are being added to the CPEC portfolio.

Similarly, he said the process has been initiated to prepare an integrated plan in line with SEZs development aimed at facilitating logistics and transportation for the zones.

He said a decision has been taken to complete the modalities for all weather opening of Karakoram Highway at Khunjerab.

ML-I designs and scope are being firmed up jointly. The government of Pakistan has prioritised implementation of Western Route projects with a focus to expedite development of the DI Khan-Zhob and Zhob-Quetta sections in order to ensure uplift of less developed areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

Read: China’s Xinjiang: Role Model for Pakistan to develop Baluchistan

The completion of two early projects of CPEC Peshawar-Karachi Motorway (Multan-Sukkur) and KKH Phase II (Thakot-Havelian) is planned in August 2019 and March 2020 respectively but both the projects are expected to be completed ahead of schedule, he asserted.