ISLAMABAD, Jul 28 (Agencies): Pakistan’s interim Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal presided over a meeting to review the progress made in preparation for the 11th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) expected to be held by next month.
Foreign Secretary, Sohail Mahmood, gave a detailed briefing on the 3rd International Cooperation & Coordination Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting held virtually on July, 22, 2022, according to a press release issued by the Planning Ministry.
Foreign Secretary was quoted as saying that China appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to provide a safe and smooth business environment and our leadership’s commitment to building CPEC with “Pakistan Speed”.
Third-party participation and extension of CPEC to Afghanistan were also discussed. It was also pointed out that cooperation between thematic think tanks on both sides should be encouraged to further deepen the strategic economic cooperation under CPEC. The Minister was also apprised of the activities that are planned to promote the CPEC narrative at the national & global levels.
Power Division highlighted the agenda for the forthcoming 9th JEWG meeting scheduled to be held in the 1st week of August.
It was informed that 1124 MW Kohala and 700.7 MW, Azad Pattan hydro power projects as well as 1320 MW Thar Coal power plant project would be taken up with the Chinese side in the next scheduled JWG on Energy meeting.
A joint study for the future development of Thar Coal has also been made part of the agenda.
The Minister underlined that measures have been taken to provide sufficient power for Gwadar city, and stressed the need for renewable energy projects for Gwadar city development in the future.
Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunications (IC&T) also briefed the meeting on the agenda of the forthcoming second JWG on IT with a focus on infrastructure development, policy and regulations, human resource development, and Cyber Security.
The Minister for Planning stressed the need for cooperation with China in the IT sector, as China has emerged as the leader in Artificial Intelligence, and cooperation with China in this field has enormous promise for Pakistan.
The meeting also discussed projects in the agriculture and socio-economic sector for the forthcoming 11th JCC meeting. In the agricultural sector, it was underlined that China’s expanding agricultural market provides significant potential for Pakistani exports.
Modernization and mechanization of agriculture in Pakistan should be carried out in the context of CPEC, as well as other measures to enable agricultural development and tap into the Chinese market for the mutual benefit of the two countries. FMD and quarantine issues were explicitly emphasized as important hurdles in meat export to China by a representative from M/o National Food Security, who informed the chair that they are being addressed on priority with the Chinese assistance.
The Minister concluded by emphasizing the importance of the people-to-people exchange program between China and Pakistan and how it may contribute to the economic development of the country. He instructed the Secretary of Planning to devise a plan to boost exchanges under CPEC so that emerging leaders in every field experience the development in China, and internalize it for the development of Pakistan.
The provinces and special regions’ planning and development departments, as well as other relevant stakeholders from across the country, also virtually attended the meeting.