ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Lieutenant General (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa Thursday said all the CPEC projects, which were held up due to procedural delay or technical reasons would be handled on priority.
He was addressing a signing ceremony of business cooperation agreements in various fields between leading Chinese entrepreneurs and the Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC) in Taxila.
Referring to some misleading news disseminated by some detractors, he said CPEC was becoming a fast reality and it had been witnessed by all that even COVID could not hamper the progress of CPEC projects.
Asim Bajwa, who also heads the CPEC Authority, said as per the direction of the government, loan burden on the government in Phase-II would be reduced by opting the business to a business model with the Chinese firms who would be invited to come to Pakistan and partner with the Pakistani companies for investment.
“We are connecting the companies from the two countries among themselves and a new business council for this purpose is also going to be announced soon,” he said. Under the banner of CPEC, he said a lot of new projects and business activities were going to happen in days to come.
He said Pakistan-China relationship and development of CPEC were not restricted to one government but rather it spanned over decades. Asim Bajwa informed that a process of mass industrialization was going to be initiated in the country under the second phase of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that would ensure self-reliance in various fields.
“We are all set to launch CPEC phase-II in a deliberate, prepared, and in an institutionalize manner with full consciousness of transparency,” he said. General Asim Bajwa maintained that under the second phase railway sector would be revamped by upgrading the mainline (ML-1) railway line from Karachi to Peshawar.
“Manpower would be totally revamped, underpasses and overhead bridges would be built at all railway crossings, and speed of trains would significantly enhance,” he informed. He said the latest technology and industry would now be relocated to Pakistan and for this purpose preferred Special Economic Zones (SEZs) were being established in all provinces under CPEC.
“We are close to signing the development agreement of Rashakai in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Work in progress on Dhabeji SEZ in Sindh is going well, while Allama Iqbal economic zone in Punjab has already been inaugurated”.
He said the signing of agreements between HMC and Chinese companies would help enhance exports and substitute the imports besides boosting employment opportunities in the country.
The revamping of HMC with the help of China will contribute to import substitution and prevent us from importing heavy machinery from abroad and we will be relying heavily on HMC, he said and requested all companies ready to install industries in SEZs to place their orders with the HMC to get their machines as per their demand.
The SAPM said the development of the agriculture sector was also part of CPEC phase-II and with the help of China, all types of heavy agricultural machinery would now be manufactured at HMC that earlier were used to be imported from abroad.
Asim said the prime minister had directed completion of all projects of CPEC on priority. “The vision and direction of PM are very clear that is to continue each and every project and complete them as soon as possible.”
Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said the agreement would help strengthen mutual economic cooperation. He said the second phase of CPEC would help Pakistan in building its capacity in various fields including manufacturing, agriculture, and science and technology.
Ambassador of Pakistan to China Naghmana Hashmi said through a video link that Pakistan-China cooperation would further enhance capacities of the HMC to play role in country’s development. Chairman Atomic Energy Commission Muhammad Naeem also spoke on the occasion.