ISLAMABAD - Chairman China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Lt. Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa on Thursday said that timely completion of the CPEC Phase-II will uplift the infrastructure of the country.

He said this while addressing a signing ceremony of Business Cooperation Agreements in various fields between leading Chinese entrepreneurs and Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC) in Taxila.

The Chairman CPEC Authority said that around 1870km railway track will be revamped in the CPEC phase-II, dry ports will be established and underpasses will be constructed at every railway crossing.

Lt. Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa also said that special economic zones will be established under the CPEC in every province as it will bring economic prosperity in the country.

He also said that the role of HMC will become significant in the upcoming phase under CPEC as it will manufacture the agriculture machinery to boost the sector. He also said that CPEC is a reflection of brotherhood between China and Pakistan and cordial relations between both countries have never remained restricted to any particular government.

He said that created with the techno-financial assistance of our real-time friend China, the HMC has been serving the nation for the last five decades.

The chairman CPEC Authority added that HMC has excelled in versatile fields right starting from assimilation of technologies and spreading this knowledge to establish a strong industrial base, predominantly to focus on the development of engineering and capital goods industry.

“It is a considered fact that industrialization in developing countries is not a matter of choice any more. To achieve that end they need to develop their engineering sector industries to meet requirements of plant, machinery and other vital inputs,” said Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa.

In terms of benefits, the engineering industry provides maximum employment opportunities per unit of capital investment, maximum value addition and foreign exchange saving through import substitution.

“I feel delighted to learn about the continued self sustainability of HMC under the ambit of Strategic Plans Division (SPD) & Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), who has chalked out its medium & long term business plans envisaging futuristic growth of this vital entity to serve more proactively not only general industrial economy but also the defence sector of Pakistan,” he said. 

Gen. Asim Bajwa also said that in the light of the Prime Minister’s vision, they are committed to making industrialization a major source of inclusive development in Pakistan by expanding its outreach and also by ensuring government’s entire support so that the country’s industrial potential is harnessed for the good of our country.

Referring to a misleading news disseminated by some detractors, he said CPEC was fast becoming a reality and it had been witnessed by all that even COVID-19 could not hamper the progress of CPEC projects.

“We are all set to launch CPEC Phase-II in a deliberate, prepared and in an institutionalized manner with full consciousness of transparency,” he said.

Asim Bajwa said as per direction of the PM, loan burden on the government in Phase-II would be reduced by opting the business to business mode with the Chinese firms who would be invited to come to Pakistan and partner with the Pakistani companies for investment.

“We are connecting the companies from the two countries among themselves and a new business council for this purpose is also going to be announced soon,” he said.

Under the banner of CPEC, he said a lot of new projects and business activities were going to happen in days to come.

“Manpower would be totally revamped, underpasses and overhead bridges would be built at all railway crossings, and speed of trains would significantly enhance,” he said.

He said latest technology and industry would now be relocated to Pakistan and for this purpose preferred Special Economic Zones (SEZs) were being established in all provinces under CPEC.

“We are close to signing development agreement of Rashakai in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, work progress on Dhabeji SEZ in Sindh was going well while Allama Iqbal Economic Zone in Punjab has already been inaugurated”.

He said the signing of agreements between HMC and Chinese companies would help enhance exports and substituting the imports besides boosting employment opportunities in the country.

The revamping of HMC with the help of China will contribute in import substitution and prevent us from importing heavy machinery from abroad and we will be relying heavily on HMC, he said and requested all companies who were ready to install industries in SEZs to place their orders with HMC to get their machines as per their demand.

He said that the second phase of CPEC, China would help Pakistan in building its capacity in various fields including manufacturing, agriculture and science and technology.

On the occasion, Ambassador of Pakistan to China Naghmana Hashmi said through a video link that the Pak-China cooperation would further enhance the HMC capacities to play a role in the country’s development.