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CPEC to be completed at all costs, says Imran

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed on Friday that the government would complete the ambitious China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project at any cost and pass its benefits to the nation.

“The corridor is a manifestation of Pakistan-China friendship and the government will complete it at any cost and bring its fruit to every Pakistani,” the prime minister said at a meeting held to review progress on the CPEC projects.

Terming the CPEC an excellent project for the country’s socio-economic development, Mr Khan said the gigantic multi-faceted initiative would guarantee a bright future for the nation.

Lauding the performance of CPEC Authority, the prime minister said measures must be taken to improve its working as well as capacity.

The prime minister was briefed about the status of ongoing projects under the giant initiative.

Federal Ministers Asad Umar, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar and Omar Ayub, Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood, CPEC Authority Chairman retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa and senior officers of the organisations concerned attended the meeting.

CPEC is a collection of infrastructure and other projects under construction throughout Pakistan since 2013. Originally valued at $46 billion, the CPEC projects were worth $62bn as of 2017.

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.

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, while some major power projects were commissioned by late 2017.

The potential impact of the massive initiative on Pakistan has been compared to that of the Marshall Plan undertaken by the United States in post-war Europe. The initiative has entered a new phase after the coming into power of the government led by Mr Khan.

Master plans of cities
At another meeting the prime minister directed provincial governments to upgrade master plans of major cities to provide the best civic amenities to the populace.

Due to ill-planned growth in major cities, the environment had deteriorated and people were facing multiple problems, Mr Khan observed.

“As a result of a mushroom growth, green belts are vanishing… Master plans should be amended and upgraded keeping in view the changing circumstances.”

Prime Minister Khan said the main objective behind incentives being given by the government to the construction sector was to create job opportunities.

He advised provincial governments to use the latest technology so that master plans of major cities were upgraded as soon as possible.

The prime minister said a roadmap should be devised within a week to give final shape to the master plans.

The meeting was attended by PM’s Adviser on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, Member of National Assembly Khayal Zaman, chairman of the Naya Pakistan Housing Authority and the housing secretary while provincial chief secretaries participated through video link.

The prime minister directed the authorities concerned at yet another meeting to improve facilities in Panahgahs (shelters) for the poor.

He gave these directives while presiding over a meeting on the government’s flagship initiative — the Ehsaas programme.

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