Chinese Vice PM arrives to join 10-year celebrations of CPEC

Ahsan Iqbal counts visiting dignitary’s remarkable role in implementation of BRI, of which CPEC is a flagship project n Says present govt fully working to revive all projects ignored by PTI govt.

ISLAMABAD   -  Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng arrived in Islamabad yesterday on a three-day visit to Pakistan as both China and Pakistan are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He will attend a grand event organized by the government of Pakistan today to celebrate the 10th anniversary of CEPC here.

During the event, awards will be given to Chinese companies working on the CPEC projects. Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal and Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah received the visiting dignitary at the airport.

During his stay in Islamabad, Vice Premier Lifeng, who is also a Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping, will call on President Dr. Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif. Sharing details of the official activities of the visiting dignitary, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the visit of China's Vice Premier Mr. He Lifeng is of great significance that would help enhance economic and financial cooperation between the two countries. Addressing a news conference here, the minister said that Vice Premier He Lifeng has played a prominent role in China's international economic relations and implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, of which CPEC is a flagship project.

As Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, he was instrumental in the planning and execution of multiple CPEC projects in Pakistan. Counting his government's achievements under the mega CPEC project, the minister said during three years of our last tenure we attracted over 25 billion dollar investment under this flagship project. It also resulted in the production of around 8000 MW of electricity.

Ahsan Iqbal said we planned nine industrial zones in Pakistan under the mega CPEC project but unfortunately the previous government just ruined these futuristic projects.

The Minister said CPEC fostered a broader cooperation between the two countries which helped in improving cooperation in education sector as well.

Highlighting lucrative investment opportunities in Pakistan, the Minister said we are grateful to our all-weather strategic partner China which helped Pakistan in turning into an investment hub from a security state.

Sharing insights into the upcoming phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, he said the next phase will focus on promoting robust business-to-business and industrial cooperation between Pakistan and China.

Expressing gratitude to Chinese workers and engineers for transferring technological skills to Pakistani youth under CPEC projects, he stressed that collaboration and synergy between the two nations will pave the way for unprecedented opportunities and shared prosperity. Ahsan Iqbal also regretted that CPEC’s gateway, Gwadar, was ignored badly during the fouryear tenure of PTI government.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office said that the Chinese vice premier will be in Pakistan from July 30 to August 1 at the federal government’s invitation to attend a ceremony celebrating a decade of CPEC as the chief guest. It added that Lifeng would also hold meetings with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President Dr Arif Alvi during the visit. The FO had acknowledged Lifeng’s “prominent role” in China’s international economic relations and implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, of which CPEC is a flagship project.

Meanwhile, a notification issued by the district magistrate of Islamabad said that all public and private schools, universities and colleges, all private companies, all markets and shops, and all commercial banks would remain closed on July 31 and August 1. The federal Capital has been decorated with Chinese flags and Pak-China posters, signboards, and banners to welcome Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng in Islamabad. In honor of the Chinese guest, roads and different junctions in Islamabad have been decorated with signboards and banners inscribed with “Long Live Pak China Friendship”, “Celebrating 10th anniversary of CPEC” “CPEC from Vision to Realty”, etc. The banners are also including welcoming remarks in the Chinese language. CPEC is a collection of infrastructure and other projects under construction throughout Pakistan since 2013. The vast initiative is intended to rapidly upgrade Pakistan’s required infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects and special economic zones. The key agreement for the projects to be listed under CPEC was signed in 2013, and term sheets for them were signed during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan in 2015. In November of 2016, CPEC became partly operational when Chinese cargo was transported overland to Gwadar port for onward maritime shipment to Africa and West Asia. Islamabad has so far received $25.4 billion in direct Chinese investment in various transport, energy, and infrastructure schemes under the flagship connectivity and investment corridor project, under the flagship connectivity and investment corridor project, part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.

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