CPEC achieves major progress despite Covid-19: Pak official

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects have achieved major progress despite grave economic and health challenges posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Chairman of the CPEC Authority Asim Saleem Bajwa said.

“After successful completion of the first phase, CPEC is expanding into its second phase as per schedule despite a very serious setback of Covid-19 around the world, ensuring economic stability and well-being of the people of Pakistan,” Xinhua news agency quoted Bajwa as saying while addressing an award ceremony on Monday for outstanding Pakistani staff of CPEC projects.

During the ceremony organised by the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, a total of 18 staff members working at various energy and infrastructure projects under the CPEC, including hydropower projects, Orange Line Metro Train and Gwadar port, were awarded for their distinguished performance.

The timely implementation of the projects was one of the manifestations of time-tested friendship between the two countries that even the pandemic could not affect the progress of CPEC, Bajwa said, adding that the project is a game changer as it has brought employment, prosperity and socio-economic development to the country.

“The biggest dividends people of Pakistan are going to witness due to CPEC in the coming days are creation of massive local jobs, transformation of technology, particularly in the newer areas of science and technology, industrialization and agriculture,” he said.

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong said CPEC has achieved great success and made a tremendous contribution to the development of Pakistan and regional connectivity under the joint efforts of the governments, enterprises and all walks of life from both countries.

“Both sides have overcome the difficulties of Covid-19, and made new headway of cooperation in a coordinated way. In the on-going year, there was no stop of the construction, no job cut, and no withdrawal of workforce of the CPEC projects.

“In the next stage, we will focus more on areas of industrial cooperation, agriculture and socio-economic development to promote CPEC into a demonstration project for high quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative,” he added.

The CPEC is a flagship $62 billion project of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative that aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe through a vast network of highways, rail lines and sea lanes.

The multi-billion dollar corridor connects the Chinese city of Kashgar with Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea.