Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told the cabinet on Thursday that the projects in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) were the top priority of the government and concerted efforts should be made to ensure timely progress.The cabinet was given a detailed briefing on the progress of the CPEC projects and the prime minister directed the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform to ensure completion of the first batch of projects in energy and infrastructure sectors by 2017-18.Sharif told the ministers that speedy progress on these projects was necessary for addressing the existing shortfalls and future demands, a statement from the PM House said.
"The completion of early harvest projects will go a long way in elimination of load shedding by summer of 2018," the statement quoted Sharif as saying.He noted that significant progress was being made on the western route of the CPEC project. Employment opportunities would be generated for the local populace which would generate economic activity and enhance national wealth.He further stated that the CPEC would ensure equitable benefits among different areas of Pakistan, including the most underdeveloped areas."It will not only connect 200 million people of Pakistan, but would also open up avenues of cooperation amongst people, communities and states across the region."
The cabinet was informed that a considerable part of the portfolio under the CPEC had been energized while the remaining was in the pipeline.Meanwhile Foreign Office spokesman Nafeez Zakaria said the CPEC, which is broad-based economic cooperation between the two countries, would also benefit other countries."CPEC is a comprehensive and broad-based economic cooperation project between Pakistan and China. The project will contribute to economic development of the entire region and not only for Pakistan and China," Zakaria told a weekly briefing."It can be a catalyst for economic connectivity and integration in Central Asia, South Asia and the West Asia," he said.