Anyone who desires Pakistan to reach its absolute economic potential can never raise an eyebrow on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This project is the epitome of strategic alliances in the region; not only geographically but economically as well.

CPEC is originally a framework agreement with the total estimated worth of USD 46bn which was signed by the Chinese President during his visit to Pakistan in April 2015.

Recently, Central Development Working Party (CDWP), Pakistani government’s unit for authorizing major projects approved two key projects with the total worth of USD 10 billion. One of the flagship projects is to upgrade the railway network of Pakistan with the total cost of USD 8.2 billion. Another major milestone is Gwadar-Nawabshah LNG Terminal and Pipeline project with the estimated cost oscillating around USD 2 billion.

Approximately 85% of these projects will be funded by China in the form of concessionary loans; the terms and conditions of these loans will be negotiated later.

Much needed Railway upgradation under way…

The shabby condition of Pakistan Railways and its meager share of 4% in bearing the national traffic has indeed gained the attention of authorities. This project is aimed at upgrading the 1872 Km Karachi- Peshawar main line.

This project will be implemented in a two pronged stage with the first phase to be completed in December 2017 and the second in 2021 subsequently. The ultimate objective is to augment the axleload from 22.8 tonnes to 25 tonnes which will be possible with track relaying and upgrading bridges, tunnels and culverts. To boost regional trade and increase economic gains, a dry port will be constructed at Havelian and an upgradation of a 55Km line from there to Taxila is also under the project’s priority list.

Gas pipeline project to amplify Pakistan’s Strategic importance

After mammoth debates and skeptism in the political corridors, the Gwadar- Nawabshah LNG pipeline has finally gained approval as this project has many strategic objectives for the country. It is anticipated that it will make Pakistan an Economic Hub in the region by linking its gas infrastructure with Iran. This project will also be completed within a span of five years I.e. By 2021 with the first phase to be completed by 2017 and the next in 2021 accordingly.

According to Ahsan Iqbal, the CDWP Chairman and Minister for Planning,

“The exact costs of both the projects will be firmed up after finalizing financing arrangements, after finalization of the financing arrangements, both the projects will be taken to the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) with firmed up cost for final approval.”

If implemented smoothly without any major hiccups; all projects under the umbrella of CPEC offer a very promising future for the country. This will make Pakistan an axis of regional trade by giving us an opportunity to grow and stabilize in the region on many facets.

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