Friday October 28, 2022

ML-1 Railway: Pakistan, China Decide to Execute $10bn Project

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China agreed to execute the Mainline-1 (ML-1) railway project at an estimated cost of $10 billion.

The Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) also decided to undertake business-to-business deals under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Pakistan will also request for the rollover of deposits and rescheduling of its $27 billion debt.

During the meeting, Pakistan assured China of taking several initiatives for the security of Chinese working under CPEC projects. Both sides have agreed to expand their cooperation in information technology and it was decided that Chinese companies will establish research centres in Pakistan to explore new avenues in this sector.

Pakistan and China held the 11th JCC meeting virtually but both sides could not sign the minutes of the meeting. It was expected that the minutes of the meeting will be signed during the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif who, along with a high-powered delegation, will be visiting China from November 1, 2022.

The CPEC meeting was held in Islamabad with both sides expressing satisfaction over the ongoing projects under CPEC while several other projects were proposed. The meeting was co-chaired by Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, and Vice Chairman National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC), China, Lin Nianxiu.

Under the leadership of PM Shehbaz, CPEC has emerged as the topmost national priority, said the minister, in his welcome address. The meeting was also informed that another 3,100 MW, which has achieved 90% milestone for FC (700 MW Azad Pattan HPP, 1,124 MW Kohala Hydel Project and 1,320 MW Thar Coal Block-I), will be finalised at the earliest so as to get closer to the envisaged target of 1,7000 MWs.

The projects in motorways and highways of around 888km were also highlighted to be constructed with both Chinese and local financing (another 853km under construction through local financing). The KKH-Thakot-Havelian, one of the flagship projects of this sector, has received international recognition.

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