A new era of ever expanding, versatile ties – Pak-China cooperation
ISLAMABAD – The development projects committed under the eight memorandums of understanding (MoU) signed during Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif’s visit to China and the establishment of a `China Cell’ at the PM’s office to oversee the smooth execution of projects carried out by Chinese firms, are both hoped to give an impetus to the national economy.
The bilateral agreements signed during the PM’s five-day visit included a trade corridor featuring the 2000-kilometer road and rail link between Kashgar and Gwadar, the construction of the Lahore-Karachi Motorway and extending technical and political cooperation between the two friendly states.In reference to the Pak-China trade corridor, Nawaz said that it would uplift the socio-economic conditions of the Pakistanis.
He said that steps would be taken for turning the Gwadar Port into a trade hub. He also termed the impending cooperation in the energy and infrastructure sectors between the two countries as a new era of ever expanding multifaceted ties.
Realizing the significant presence of Chinese companies in Pakistan, Nawaz decided to set up the ‘China Cell’ for supervising projects that were to be executed with Chinese cooperation.
He said the cell would oversee the execution of the development projects to steer the country out of the present crisis.
The PM said that both the sides had constituted a taskforce to ensure speedy completion of the projects.
He assured all-out support to Chinese companies willing to work in Pakistan on hydro power projects, mass transit systems in Karachi and Lahore and on high speed trains.
In order to boost the confidence of Chinese companies, Nawaz categorically said the country did not require civil servants and officials, who were not pushing forth the completion of development projects. Rather, fresh and talented blood having missionary zeal and possessing realization of the significance of such projects should be injected through the civil service.
Former Ambassador Javed Malik said that some of the projects to be launched as a result of these accords would revolutionize bilateral trade activity and transform the region’s economic landscape.
He observed that Pakistan’s strategic location was a major strength, adding that some south Asian states, the oil rich Gulf economies and the economic giant China were all in its immediate vicinity, making it a major strategic trade gateway. Karachi was already providing access to the Arabian Sea but now all eyes were fixed on the Gwadar port, he added.
Pakistan and China also inked an agreement on economic and technical cooperation and moreover, two letters of exchange on training courses for textile, flood relief, disaster management and provision of equipment for eradication of polio were also signed.
Another document was signed between the Strategic Communication Organization of Pakistan and the Huawei Company of China for laying optic fiber cables and for setting up a communication link between the two countries.
In regard to the Lahore-Karachi motorway project Nawaz said that its feasibility study would be completed within three months and that it would be executed within two and-a-half years. After completion, the project would reduce travel time drastically and it would also enrich business activity in the area.