Islamabad: “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has almost eliminated the power shortage in Pakistan,” Prime Minister Imran Khan’s aide on CPEC Khalid Mansoor said.
Speaking at the session ‘CPEC in the Emerging Regional Scenario’ organized by Islamabad-based think tank the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) this week, Mansoor stressed that CPEC had contributed to resolving the electricity shortage in Pakistan which was a big hurdle to industrial development.
“CPEC has brought prosperity to remote areas in Pakistan including those in the Balochistan province,” Khalid Mansoor, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on CPEC affairs underlined.
Before the commercial operation of a number of energy projects under CPEC, he recalled, Pakistan was suffering probably its most severe power crisis, with 12-18 hours of load shedding in a day, interrupting industrial production.
“Whatever power we were producing was most expensive, and not competitive in the international market, and that was the reason we were losing export orientation,” Mansoor reminded.
He maintained that Pakistan wanted to have cost-effective power and planned to make use of coal mines in the southern Sindh province.
“Unfortunately, no funding was available for the power projects. So this is when we really resorted to China, and we thank China for really helping us out,” he remarked.
Mansoor noted that the coal-fired power plants under CPEC had installed state-of-the-art technology to make electricity production eco-friendly.
“There used to be propaganda that Pakistan is installing coal power plants which will emit dark soot in the air. I challenge you that if you visit CPEC coal power plants, you will witness that rather than throwing dark soot into the air they are emitting very clean and clear flue gas, and their walls and floor are cleaner than those in your drawing rooms,” he added.
Mansoor underscored that CPEC had enhanced Pakistan’s connectivity to the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, by making the country well-connected internally to a network of motorways, roads and the Gwadar port.
He emphasized that the phase of the CPEC, which focuses on industrial, agricultural and socio-economic cooperation, is more promising, with more job opportunities.
“Once we start developing and executing the projects in the special economic zones, we are going to have the industrial revolution, and Pakistan is going to be the main manufacturing hub. We need to have the import substitution, and we need to have the export orientation,” he opined.
The PM’s aide pressed that Pakistan should learn from China’s successful development experiences and follow the footsteps of China which developed strong industrialization by becoming a large manufacturing hub of the world.
He said Pakistan had a very compatible environment for foreign industries to get relocated here as labor in Pakistan is very cheap, adding that the country will encourage companies from China and any other countries to invest in the special economic zones under CPEC in Pakistan.