China-Pakistan Economic Corridor gains momentum

Islamabad, Aug 19 (IANS) The construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is gaining momentum in Pakistan after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the country, those involved in the project have said.

The CPEC, a 3,000 km network of roads, railways and pipelines linking China’s Xinjiang Uygur region and Pakistan’s Gwadar port, is a major project of the “Belt and Road” initiative, reported Xinhua.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road are aimed at reviving the ancient trade routes that spanned Asia, Africa and Europe.

According to Pakistan’s Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the CPEC projects are very important for power supply in the country. He said Pakistan would be able to overcome the energy crisis with the cooperation of its neighbour.

A $1.5 billion solar power project, the largest such power plant in the world, located in Bahawalpur of Pakistan’s Punjab province, is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

Construction of the $1.65 billion Karot hydropower project will begin at the end of this year and the plant is expected to be put into operation in 2020.

China Road and Bridge Corporation said realignment project of the Karakorum highway (KKH) at Attabad barrier lake is going to be completed by the end of this month.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to inaugurate the project. The KKH, the only land route between China and Pakistan, will re-open after being cut off by a barrier lake for over five years.

Pakistan has shown strong willingness to push forward the construction of the CPEC. During a high-level meeting held in Islamabad to review the work on CPEC projects, Sharif said projects under the CPEC would be put on fast-track.

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