China ready to support energy, infrastructure projects in Sindh

 

China ready to support energy, infrastructure projects in Sindh

WUHAN – China yesterday came up with a fresh offer to support energy and infrastructure projects in Sindh province as the Asian giant continues to stand with Pakistan amid uneasy ties with the United States – the global superpower.

Chinese authorities in the industrial Hubai province pledged to support the Sindh government’s proposals to settle the energy crises and improve the infrastructure.

Member standing committee of the Communist Party of China Yu Shaoliang told a delegation of the Pakistan People’s Party led by Senator Sherry Rehman here that the ‘iron brother’ will be ready to extend support in energy, construction and shipping sectors.

Lately, Pakistan has signed several agreements with China to further boost the bilateral ties between the two countries in various fields, including energy and basic infrastructure sectors.

China intends to invest more than $46 billion in energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan till 2017-18 of which $15 billion investment is anticipated in infrastructure projects only. These include Lahore-Karachi Motorway, Karakorum Highway and expanding the capacity of Gwadar Port. In the transportation sector, the railway line from Karachi to Peshawar would be modernized and upgraded.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Secretariat was inaugurated in Islamabad on August 27, 2013. CPEC is likely to get funding from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

The bank was being set up on the proposal of Chinese President Xi Jinping to support the developing countries of Asia region for construction of their basic infrastructure.

The name ‘Corridor’ suggests a gateway or a passage that connects the two countries, continents or regions. This ‘economic corridor’ will not be the first in history. The use of sea and land routes has assisted in the globalization process of opening Asia, as early as the 19th century.

The project received a major boost when control of Gwadar was transferred to China’s state-owned China Overseas Ports Holding in February 2013. Built by Chinese workers and opened in 2007, Gwadar is undergoing a major expansion to turn it into a full-fledged deep-water commercial port.

Pakistan and China have signed agreements for constructing an international airport at Gwadar, upgrading a section of the 1,300-kilometre Karakorum Highway connecting to Islamabad and laying a fibre-optic cable from the Chinese border to the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi.

With the development of the corridor, Central Asia, traditionally an economically closed region owing to its geography and lack of infrastructure, will have greater access to the sea and to the global trade network.

Physically, the corridor is a 2,700-kilometre highway that stretches from Kashghar to Gwadar through Khunjrab. But in essence, these road and rail links will further strengthen the bond of brotherhood, as highlighted by the two governments.

Pakistan serves as an important ally for China in the South Asian region. Pakistan’s geographical location puts it on the main route connecting China and the Middle East and China and Central Asia.

For economic and strategic connectivity with these regions, China requires safe passage through Pakistan especially after China’s growing share in the world trade.

Yu Shaoliang said China considered Pakistan a close friend and was interested in its development in all sectors. He referred to the ongoing and past projects being completed or completed by the Chinese professionals.

The member standing committee of the CPC said that Hubai authorities strongly believed in development and industrialization and were equally ready to help the ‘Pakistani friends.’

He said the Chinese companies were already developing Gwadar sea port in Balochistan. He also offered cooperation in technical training and higher education sector for Sindh and Balochistan.

Senator Sherry Rehman said the PPP-led Sindh government was keen to develop Ktbander as sea port and Chinese cooperation would be helpful in this regard.

Member of the Standing Committee of CPC Hubei Committee and Minister of Organization Wang Yaping, Secretary General of CPC Hubei and Yan Pulin, Director General of Hubei Provincial Foreign Affairs Office also attended the meeting.

Earlier in the day, the PPP delegation had a detailed meeting with Provincial Development and Reforms Commission of Hubai province. During this meeting with Hubei provincial government officials, Sherry Rehman proposed to declare the Chinese city of Wuhan the twin city of Karachi.

The Commission was represented by Deputy Director General Liu Qi Gang, and included the divisional ministers for Foreign and Economic Trade, and Transportation among others.

The two sides also discussed economic reforms, industrial growth as well as a host of other development related initiatives taken by the Hubei province. Wuhan city, where the meeting took place is popularly known as the ‘Chicago of China’ owing to its multibillion trade economy.

In her opening remarks, Senator Rehman cited the similarity between industrial cities in Pakistan and China, particularly those where river economies were challenged by rapid climate degradation as well as industrial misuse.

She asked the Chinese government officials to share perspectives and lessons from Wuhan’s green industrial policies. Sindh Transport and Mass Transit Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah requested the Chinese expertise in urban mass transit that may help in establishing similar transit management models for Karachi and other larger cities in Sindh province.

Other recommendations floated during the meeting included the establishment of a foundation that will select and finance small and medium sized enterprises that will be managed by experts and technology sharing between the two countries.

Sherry Rehman suggested China should look into microfinance ventures in Pakistan, which offers a very effective regulatory framework compared to other countries.

The PPP delegation is scheduled to leave for Beijing today (September 7) to meet with think tanks and CPC leadership.

During the ongoing visit, the PPP delegation also held a meeting with Ethnic Affairs Commission and Religious Affairs Bureau in Urumqi – the capital of the Xinjiang province.

The Chinese authorities claimed there was no unrest in the province and the development work was being carried out like other parts of the country.

The nation source