Long-term CPEC plan to be endorsed in Islamabad: Minister

Minister for Interior and Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has said that a long-term plan for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be approved by the Joint Cooperation Council (JCC) at its meeting scheduled for Nov 21 in Islamabad.

Long-term CPEC plan to be endorsed in Islamabad: Minister

The minister announced this while presiding over a meeting held here on Wednesday to review implementation of the ongoing CPEC projects and preparations for the future projects to be made part of the long-term plan.

He directed all the stakeholders and provincial governments to firm up their projects and explore further options of mutual interest to be taken up at 7th JCC meeting.

This is the same long-term plan that Mr. Iqbal had said would be finalized during the One Belt, One Road summit in May. When pressed by some media organizations after Dawn had published a report about the plan, he promised that it would be made public once it was finalized. When asked by Dawn on Wednesday night whether or not the plan would be made public following its approval by the JCC in November, the minister said: “Yes.”

The 51st progress review meeting on CPEC projects was attended by senior officials of line ministries and representatives of provincial governments, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir and officials of the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, including chargé d’affaires Zhao Lijian.

Long-term CPEC plan to be endorsed in Islamabad: Minister

The JCC is the apex decision-making forum on the CPEC that is jointly chaired by the planning and development minister and the vice chairman of National Development and Reform Commission of China.

The meeting was informed about some obstacles to the Karachi Circular Railway project by the Sindh government. Mr. Iqbal directed the Ministry of Railways to resolve all outstanding issues relating to the project within a week. The railway’s ministry was also directed to streamline work on the Mainline One (ML-I) project and finalize its financial arrangements at the earliest.

Reviewing the progress of special economic zones (SEZs), the minister asked the provinces to complete feasibility studies of their respective SEZs by the first week of November in order to get tangible outcomes with respect to industrial cooperation.

The Board of Investment was directed to review the feasibility studies so as to resolve any outstanding issue and ensure uniformity in the development pattern. The board was also advised to undertake reforms for transforming the body into a modern investment agency to meet expectations of foreign investors.

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