The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government and Chinese companies signed 11 memorandum of understanding (MoUs) for completion of various development projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the province. This was witnessed in Beijing by the mid of April.
The development projects to be completed in different parts of the province included information technology, special economic zones, power plants, oil refinery, infrastructure and e-commerce.
KP Chief Minister Parvez Khattak, Senator Shibli Faraz, Ambassador of Pakistan to China Masood Khalid, President China-Pakistan Friendship Association Sha Zhu Kang, ministers and senior provincial officials witnessed the signing ceremony.
Parvez Khattak, while talking to the occasion invited the Chinese companies and businessmen to take advantage of investment-friendly atmosphere in the province for mutual benefits of the people of two countries. “We have set the stage to begin journey of industrialization in the province and we need support of our ‘Iron brothers’ to put the province on the path of development and economic growth,” he added.
Appreciating the One Belt One Road Initiative announced by Chinese President, Xi Jinping, Khattak said, the CPEC was a flagship component of the Initiative and stressed to further enhance business, cultural and social cooperation between Pakistan and China.
Terming Peshawar a key city on the Western route of CPEC, he said, it was located at a very strategic location connecting different regions.
He said during the last four years, his government had introduced reforms in health, education and infrastructure and created investment-friendly environment in the province.
Parvez Khattak said a strong security force comprising 4,500 personnel had been established for protection of foreign workforce including Chinese deployed on various development projects.
He informed a number of Chinese companies were working in the province and they were being provided foolproof security.
While emphasising the importance of the CPEC, President, China-Pakistan Friendship Association, Sha Zhu Kang said, the success of One Belt and Road Initiative was linked with the CPEC as it was pilot project of the Initiative.
“This project will not only benefit both China and Pakistan but it is beneficial for regional and global economic growth and all the countries and economies along the One Belt One Road Initiative will benefit from it,” he added.
He said the proposed corridor stretching from Kashgar to Gwadar would bring about economic and social progress for not a particular area but the entire Pakistan.
Zhu Kang said the Chinese companies were already working in KP and providing job opportunities to a large number of locals.
Welcoming the audience, Ambassador Masood Khalid informed that around 86 projects including energy, agriculture and infrastructure would be presented for investment and cooperation.
He said the KP chief minister’s visit, second in the last four months, underscored the importance of CPEC and Pak-China relations.
The Ambassador said all political parties in Pakistan were on one page as for as China-Pakistan relations were concerned, adding, CPEC, the leading project of One Belt One Road Initiative had developed mutual cooperation.
He said the CPEC was showing steady progress and now the Gwadar Port was operational and energy and infrastructure projects were being completed in accordance their timeframe.
Sharing with development and economic growth in Pakistan during last few years, he asked the Chinese investors and businessmen to take good advantage of conducive environment and the untapped potential in different sectors.
He said the CPEC was long term strategic plan and it was manifestation of leadership of Pakistan and China vision for mutual benefits of the two countries and the region.
Special Envoy on CPEC, Zafar Mahmood said the KP province offered best possible opportunities for investment and expressed the confidence that Chinese companies would take lead in tapping that advantage.
Later, the officials of KP government presented overview of different projects having abundance potential for the Chinese investment.
He sought cooperation in hydel power, oil and gas exploration, development of infrastructure in tourism sector, mines, mineral and precious stones.
The official said as many as 17 sites had been selected for setting up special economic zones in the province, adding, the provincial government would ensure investment hospitality by maintaining peace, ensuring transparency and good governance.
Talking about priority areas of collaboration, he said, those were communication, mining, tourism, industrial cooperation, energy, cultural exchange, agriculture, urban development and linkage with academia.
Some representatives of Chinese companies already working in KP shared their experience and informed that they had complete protection and viable environment for their business.