Islamabad - Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal said on Monday that out of total $46 billion worth CPEC projects, projects worth $18 billion had already hit the ground while  $17 billion were in the pipeline.

Talking to the Press Officers appointed in different countries here at his ministry, the minister emphasised promotion of country’s positive image.

He added that brand Pakistan was all about portraying positive image of the country to the world. “We need to highlight the strengths of our country,” he asserted. He told the officers that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was not just a road network, but a framework for co-operation, which consisted of industrial zones.

“It is not a bilateral project but a regional project, which will benefit 3 billion people of the region,” Ahsan said, and added, “CPEC is a fusion of Pakistan Vision 2025 and China One Belt One Road Vision, and it is not a security project but an economic one.”

About changes in the western route, he said that misconceptions were based on misunderstanding as there was no route agreement between Pakistan and China prior to 2013. He further added that Gwadar-Quetta route would be completed by December 2016 while Gwadar -Khuzdar -Ratodero road would also be completed on a stipulated time.

The minister said that parts of the LahoreKarachi Motorway, namely from Havalian to Thakot and Multan to Sukkur, were being completed at a fast pace.

“The road from Burhan to DI Khan would be completed by June 2018,” he informed. He further said that there would be one industrial zone in every province in order to ensure equal distribution of benefits among all provinces.

Ahsan said that different energy projects, under the CPEC, would help overcome energy crisis by 2018 as $35 billion would be spent on energy sector through private investment.

He also informed that Gwadar Airport and Eastbay Expressway, also in Gwadar, were in advanced stages and there groundbreaking would be within couple of months.

The minister said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on CPEC in 2013 had been converted into $46 billion investment within one year.

“This is a record in PML-N’s history of translating MOUs into reality,” he concluded.