ISLAMABAD: A specially convened All Parties Conference (APC) Thursday gave a go-ahead to the government on the ambitious China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and agreed on priority development of the Western corridor to link Gwadar with Kashgar.
Prime Minister (PM) Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, chairing the second All Parties Conference here at the PM House, said the political leaders endorsed the CPEC project, aimed at building road, rail networks, airports and sea ports, along with economic zones and power houses across the country.
The meeting was convened to discuss the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), its route, related projects and to seek suggestions to ensure that all provinces get equal benefit. The earlier APC on the CPEC meeting was held on May 13, however it remained inconclusive.
PM said the CPEC would help Pakistan achieve its cherished dream of becoming a developed country and said the project would not only help economic growth of Pakistan, but would also benefit the regional countries.
Sharif said the CPEC would help equitable development across the country and noted with appreciation the role of China in this regard.
The premier said the current era was totally different, as all political forces now stood together to work for development and progress of the country and to further strengthen democracy.
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal briefly updated the participants and said the world today saw Pakistan as the focus of Chinese investment and they too were keen to invest.
Iqbal clarified the misconceptions about the project and said it was not confined to a single physical route, rather it was a concept that included roads, airports, ports, energy and development projects.
Iqbal said the US 46 billion Chinese investment was not meant to be distributed as it relates to several energy, roads and rail projects all over the country. He also gave a breakdown of various projects and clarified that the Orange Line in Lahore was not part of CPEC.
Ahsan Iqbal said a working group comprising representatives of the provinces would study the feasibility of setting up viable economic zones along the Western, Eastern and Central routes.
The minister invited the representatives of political parties for their input and suggestions in this regard. He said the projects along the western alignment would be completed by 2016.
Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq briefed the participants about the up-gradation of rail routes.
Rafiq added a new rail track would be constructed to link Gwadar Port with national rail link.
The meeting was attended by representatives and heads of political parties.
The Pakistan Peoples Party delegation was headed by Syed Khurshid Shah, PTI delegation by Shah Mahmood Qureshi, ANP by Asfandyar Wali, MQM by Farooq Sattar, JUI(F) by Maulana Fazalur Rehman, JI by Siraj ul Haq, BNP by Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini, and PML(Q) by Mushahid Hussain Syed.
Mehmood Khan Achakzai of PKMAP, Hasil Khan Bizanjo of NP, Ijaz-ul-Haq of PML(Z), Aftab Ahmed Sherpao of QWP, Senator Prof Sajid Mir, Syed Ghazi Jamal and Alhaj Shah Jee Gul from FATA, Peer Ejaz Hashmi represented their respective political parties.
Also in attendance were Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, KPK Pervaiz Khattak, Balochistan Abdul Malik Baloch, Leader of House in Senate Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq, Minister for Defence Kh Muhammad Asif, Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar, Minister for Information Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Railways Kh Saad Rafiq, Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch, Minister for Safron, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Affairs Irfan Siddiqui, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistants Barrister Zafarullah Khan and Khawaja Zaheed Ahmed.
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