Islamabad: Pakistan’s Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) this week directed the concerned ministries to prepare the list of ‘deliverable’ projects for the upcoming 10th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) with Iron Brother China.
The 31st meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC was held here at the Parliament House, Islamabad under the Chairmanship of Sher Ali Arbab.
“The Committee thoroughly examined the agreed projects in Joint Working Groups thereby to be presented as deliverables in the forthcoming 10th Joint Coordination Committee between China and Pakistan and recommended that the remaining deliverables by all concerned Ministries/Divisions should be forwarded to the Committee at the earliest so that tangible progress of all the projects pertaining to every segment of CPEC could be evaluated and accelerated,” said an official statement issued after the in-camera meeting.
The Committee was briefed by Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Additional Secretary ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Secretary National Food Security and Research, Additional Secretary ministry of Science and Technology, Joint Secretary ministry of Interior, Director General Projects National database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and other officials on the forthcoming 10th JCC meeting between China and Pakistan and the proposed development projects therein.
While providing compliance over the Committee’s previous recommendation regarding reforms in visa regime, the Joint Secretary ministry of interior announced that 191 countries including China had been made online to speed up issuance of work visas.
By going online, a work visa for three months will now be provided within 48 hours. The Committee expressed satisfaction over the initiative and observed that investors needed to be facilitated as the success of CPEC hinges upon boosting trade and investment, the statement added.
“The Committee thoroughly examined the agreed projects in Joint Working Groups thereby to be presented as deliverables in the forthcoming 10th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) between China and Pakistan and recommended that the remaining deliverables by all concerned Ministries/Divisions should be forwarded to the Committee at the earliest so that tangible progress of all the projects pertaining to every segment of CPEC could be evaluated and accelerated,” said the statement.
The Committee highlighted the importance of ML-1 project and recommended speeding up the extension of Peshawar-Torkham section in Main Line-1(ML-1) project under CPEC and adding electric traction component in Main Line-1(ML-1) project so as to reduce the cost and protect the environment.
The Committee Chairman remarked that the vision of CPEC was to enhance trade and investment by ensuring regional connectivity. It is, therefore, undeniably important to boost transit and bilateral trade with Afghanistan and expedite the projects/initiatives which enhance Pakistan’s connectivity with Afghanistan and facilitate Afghans who are keen to invest in Pakistan. By constructively engaging Afghanistan, Pakistan can also have easier access to Central Asia.
While receiving a briefing over the projects related to science and technology, the Committee chief said that there was a huge potential for Pakistan in the areas of science and technology and the private sector was ready to invest in this field.
“Therefore, instead of throwing debilitating burden on national exchequers, efforts needed to be exerted to attract maximum investment of the private sector in such a field. Moreover, the massive scope of Information Technologies should also be aligned with science and technology and exploited to create new avenues for the younger generation to be equipped with modern technology and skills,” he said.
The Committee observed that Pakistan has vast agriculture potential under the CPEC framework which needed to be exploited and recommended that apart from the areas in which Chinese are currently engaged, the concerned Ministry should also identify new areas so that Pakistan’s huge scope in the agriculture sector could be utilized in letter and spirit and the people attached to this sector could harvest maximum benefits.
The meeting was attended by Noor Alam Khan, Umer Aslam Khan, Mir Khan Muhammad Jamali, Nafeesa Inayatullah Khan Khattak, Ghous Bux Khan Mahar, Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhry, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Mehnaz Akber Aziz, and Zahid Akram Durrani.