Govt making all-out efforts to provide security to Chinese investors: minister

Hamza HabibOur Correspondent

23rd Sep, 2021. 09:01 pm

ISLAMABAD: The government is making all-out efforts to provide foolproof security to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects because some foreign forces, especially from a neighbouring country, are trying their level best to sabotage it, a senior official said on Thursday.

After the 10th meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Federal Minister for Planning and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said in a media briefing that the issues related to security came under discussion.

“Both sides agreed to beef up the security for the Chinese workers of the CPEC projects,” he said.

Umar said that the government has established a Special Cell in the Interior Ministry to ensure round-the-clock security to the CPEC projects and admitted that after the terrorist attack on the Chinese workers, the work on Dasu Dam has not resumed but, at the same time, Dasu Dam was not part of the CPEC project.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on CPEC Khalid Mansoor said that the Army and Navy officials briefed the Chinese about the security measure taken for their protection.

Earlier, through a videoconference the JCC meeting was co-chaired by Asad Umar and Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of the People’s Republic of China.

Umar congratulated his Chinese counterpart on the 72nd Foundation Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, and the 100th Anniversary of the establishment of the Communist Party of China.

It is a matter of satisfaction that China and Pakistan have been able to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic in an effective manner. He thanked the Chinese government for unprecedented support to Pakistan in its efforts to combat Covid-19.

“It has been a true testimony to our brotherhood and a reflection of our historical strategic partnership.”

He said the work on all CPEC projects continued unhindered, despite the pandemic, mainly due to the commitment of top leadership from both sides.

He said Phase-2 of CPEC is even more promising, as it broadens the scope of cooperation and focuses on industrial, scientific and technological, as well as agricultural cooperation.

He emphasised: “We are working to ensure stable policy, ease of doing business, and better incentives for the private sector participation and for a sustainable development model.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had already issued directives for empowering SEZ authorities and management companies to provide full facilitation to the investors.

It has also been decided to establish a dedicated Investor Facilitation Centre for Chinese investors.

Umar said that the government was cognizant of the threats to CPEC and had enhanced the security arrangements to deal with the same in an effective manner.

During the meeting, the conveners of the joint working groups (JWGs) on energy, transport infrastructure, Gwadar, socioeconomic development, security, long-term planning of CPEC, industrial cooperation, international cooperation, science and technology, and agriculture cooperation made presentations, highlighting the progress on their specific areas and the future plans of action.

The issues came under discussion during the JCC included 700MW Azad Pattan hydropower project; South-North gas pipeline; policy framework for Thar coal gasification; strategic underground gas storages; national seismic study of sedimentary area; joint prospecting, exploration, development, and marketing of metallic minerals, Dir Motorway project; Peshawar–D I Khan Motorway; Clean and Green Gwadar Movement project; Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone; potential cooperation in the copper-gold mine exploration, stone processing and other areas of mutual interests.

In agriculture, the areas of particular emphasis would be germplasm resources; capacity-building; agriculture products processing; agriculture technology extension; fisheries, sciences and technology, aquaculture and aquatic products processing; and establishment of foot and mouth disease (FMD) Free Zones in Pakistan.

During the proceedings, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the establishment of a Joint Working Group (JWG) on Information Technology was signed by both sides.

A letter of exchange of provision of Balochistan solar power lighting equipment and provision of medical equipment and materials were also signed.

The JCC also announced signing a MoU on Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone (KCCDZ) and agreement of cooperation framework between Ningbo Port and Gwadar Port, as well as lease deed of the Gwadar Expo Center.

The NDRC vice chairman appreciated the holding of JCC meeting, despite the Covid-19 pandemic and said after successful completion of Phase-1 of CPEC, high consideration is being given to industrial cooperation, agriculture, science and technology, and socioeconomic cooperation.

He highlighted bilateral economic cooperation is picking up pace in the second phase of CPEC for the mutual benefit of the two brotherly countries.

The chief ministers of the provinces expressed their satisfaction with the progress of the projects and made suggestions for new projects. They also expressed their full support for the CPEC initiative.

In the end, Minister Asad Umar thanked the Chinese side and said that substantive progress on all dimensions of CPEC has been made, which reflects the immense hard work, devotion and commitment to the project from both sides.

The JCC meeting has been successful in exploring new avenues of cooperation and broadening and deepening under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Xi Jinping.

With the CPEC’s second phase accelerating, the economic ties between the two friendly neighbours will continue to get stronger and stronger, he added.

The meeting was attended by federal ministers, chief ministers of all the provinces, prime minister of AJK, special assistant to the prime minister on CPEC Affairs, federal secretaries and senior officials of the relevant ministries.

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