ISLAMABAD  - Under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), industrial collaboration will be enhanced and special economic zones will be set up in all parts of the country with Balochistan to get the first economic zone.

Addressing a press briefing here on Sunday, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said establishment of economic zone in Balochistan will create jobs and bring prosperity in the province. He said Balochistan will get maximum benefit out of the CPEC project.

He said the CPEC was not just a road but it was an umbrella under which different projects would be started. Under the bilateral energy cooperation, projects worth 37 billion dollars will be started. These projects will yield 16,400 MW of electricity. The minister said that out of 16,400 MW around 10,400 MW power projects had been selected as early harvest projects which would be completed by 2018.

With Chinese cooperation different projects would be started in Thar that would yield 6,600 MW of electricity, he added. Ahsan said completion of these projects would bring prosperity and development in Thar region. He further said that under the CPEC, Gwadar Port projects will be upgraded and different roads and express ways will be set up with special focus on the Karakoram Highway.

He said Pak-China friendship fell among those consensual points that united the whole nation and whichever government remained in power in Pakistan, no one ever differed from the fact that this was the strong pillar of country's foreign policy.

The minister said that Chinese president was visiting Pakistan after 9 years. He attached good hopes with the visit of Chinese president and said that China and Pakistan were moving forward and going to enter in historic economic partnership.

Ahsan said governments of all times in Pakistan kept good relations with China but unfortunately did not focus on economic coordination. He said the present government had taken important steps in that direction and with the help of China, Pakistan would become Asian tiger within few years.

The minister said that during the visit of Chinese president MoUs worth 45 billion dollars will be signed in the sectors of energy, basic infrastructures, industrial collaborations and other sectors under CPEC. He said out of 45 billion dollar, 28 billion dollar projects were ready to go.

“It is need of the hour that we complete the projects at our side to take advantage of this economic collaboration and match the pace with China that completes the projects on fast track,” he said.

Ahsan said Kachi Canal project in Balochistan would be completed in the current year which would irrigate around 100,000 acres of land in the province.

He said under economic coordination, China would also relocate some of its industries from China to Pakistan that will create thousands of jobs and would also contribute in GDP of the country.