ISLAMABAD: Minister of Planning, development and reform Ahsan Iqbal called the Chinese citizens working in Pakistan on China Pakistan Economic Corridor CPEC as “Our National Guests”, who are involved in the development of Pakistan.

He remarked “Security of Chinese workers is considered as national duty by Pakistani Nation” while presiding a high level meeting in Islamabad at Planning Commission to review progress on CPEC projects.

He further guaranteed that for protection of workers, Pakistan will leave no stone unturned on CPEC projects.

With Completion of CPEC early harvest projects, the year 2017 would enable Pakistan to witness new era of development and would be an important year for CPEC.

Minister PD&R, Ahsan Iqbal has expressed satisfaction over the progress on CPEC projects. “Much a head of its stipulated time, Sahiwal Coal Power project has been completed, starting generation of 1330 MW of electricity” under CPEC and non CPEC, adding a number of energy project will enable us to overcome the challenge of load shedding. He sustained.

He said “These road projects would ensure paving grounds for sustainable growth and inclusive development in the whole region as well as connectivity within Pakistan and well being of the people belonging to the underdeveloped areas”. Minister called the timely completion of these projects as a success for the people of Pakistan.

A framework agreement of Pakistan Railway Main Line-1 project has been signed between China and Pakistan, an initiative which would revolutionize transportation system in the country. “Beginning this year, this mega project would completely upgrade rail system and the main track from Karachi to Peshawar, allowing Pakistanis to enjoy modern transport facilities”.

He further said that the use of new technology would also be introduced in infrastructure, transportation and engineering sectors to make the project effective.

He emphasized that Pakistani universities should establish association with Chinese institutes to ensure transfer of knowledge in the field of transport engineering.

China has signed framework agreement of Gwadar Eastbay Express way and grant agreement of international airport with Pakistan. Minister said that within months fully fledged construction work would commence on these projects. To address the drinking water issue, minister directed to speed up work on water supply project in Gwadar.

He also instructed official of Gwadar development authority to immediately work for invigorating the existing desalination plant at Karwat so that during the summer season it can provide water to the local population. Minister further stated that contract of the Gwadar Master City Plan has been signed.

“It would develop Gwadar at equality  with international modern port cities like Singapore and Hongkong.”

From Chinese Embassy, the meeting was attended by officials of the federal ministries, provincial governments and officials at Islamabad. Officials from line ministries briefed about progress on the ongoing projects under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in various sectors including communication, railways, infrastructure, energy, Gwadar Port and special industrial zones.