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China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) | Updates & Discussions

Just who will the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor really benefit?

Adnan Aamir says many in Pakistan see the projects as a way to boost the economy and solve unemployment woes. Others, however, worry about debt, an influx of Chinese workers and few opportunities for locals


Adnan Aamir

Published: 11:23am, 13 Sep, 2017

Updated: 7:31pm, 13 Sep, 2017

Pakistan has always relied heavily on foreign remittances and foreign aid to bolster its struggling economy. As such, signing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor agreement in 2013 was seen as a blessing for the country. The corridor is part of China’s Belt and Road initiative and comprises energy and infrastructure projects worth some US$57 billion.

Many saw the project as a solution to Pakistan’s economic woes and even termed it a game changer, capable of producing millions of jobs and solving the country’s unemployment problem.

However, soon after the project’s inception, it came in for criticism from different quarters. The main fear is that it has the potential to convert Pakistan into an economic colony of China.

Details of the agreement have not yet been made public, but what is known suggests the majority of the projects revolve around loans that must be repaid. A report from a brokerage house in Pakistan said the country could have to pay US$90 billion to China over 30 years.

Moreover, economic experts have started questioning the assertion that the economic corridor will bring millions of jobs for the people of Pakistan, given that China is bringing its own labour force. Thus far, there has not been any major job creation.


Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, left, with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing , last Friday. Photo: Xinhua
Chinese labour is cheap compared to workers in Pakistan. So, Chinese companies find it economically beneficial to bring their own workforce from China rather than employing local labour. Chinese workers are also accustomed to long hours in tough conditions, unlike many of their Pakistani counterparts. As a result, local labour isn’t the automatic choice for employment in economic corridor projects.


Despite concerns, Chinese labourers have started pouring into Pakistan and can be seen in large cities including Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. According to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, more than 71,000 Chinese nationals travelled to Pakistan in 2016, a 41 per cent increase from the previous year.

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Small as that figure may seem, it proves that the number of Chinese is increasing. This provides oxygen to the claim that, ultimately, economic-corridor-related jobs will be secured by Chinese and not Pakistanis.

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Furthermore, Balochistan, the least populated province of Pakistan, faces the greatest threat from the influx of Chinese. Home to the strategic port city of Gwadar, Balochistan has just 6 per cent of Pakistan’s population, and its populace is spread thinly. There are growing fears that Chinese nationals heading to the province will not only take jobs, but could eventually outnumber the people of Balochistan, leaving locals as a minority.

One report, by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, predicts that the Chinese population will outnumber natives of Balochistan by 2048. It estimates that after completion of economic corridor projects, more than 600,000 Chinese will enter Pakistan each year. The Pakistan government and Chinese Diplomatic Mission in Pakistan have both rejected the report, but concerns linger.

There are also fears that the influx of Chinese will drastically alter the lives of local people, given that the culture, values, way of life and religious beliefs of Chinese differ completely from Pakistanis’.

The majority in Pakistan consider the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor economically beneficial. However,others believe that the project’s potential pitfalls could outweigh the good points, and need to be taken into account. Chinese claims about the project, they say, should not be accepted at face value.

Adnan Aamir is a journalist and columnist based in Quetta, Pakistan. @iAdnanAamir


Adnan Aamir
Adnan Aamir is a journalist and columnist based in Quetta, Pakistan.
PM inaugurates power plant part of CPEC

October 21, 2019
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was in Karachi on a day-long visit on Monday, inaugurated the China Hub Power Generation Plant in Hub, Balochistan, a project under the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Addressing the inauguration ceremony, the premier said the power plant was the first joint venture between Islamabad and Beijing under CPEC, and expressed his desire to work on such projects in the future.

“The government will facilitate joint collaboration between Pakistani and Chinese businesses in various sectors,” he said, adding Balochistan was full of rich mineral deposits and fisheries — resources which can help boost the country’s foreign exchange.

PM Imran said his government was moving towards the second phase of CPEC, and it had established the CPEC Authority to facilitate the projects.

He said Chinese leadership, during his recent trip to Beijing, had reiterated fast-tracking CPEC projects, adding that his government was committed to increase ease of doing business in the country to attract foreign investment.

Chinese ambassador Yao Jing, federal ministers and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.
'Motorway of friendship': CSCEC's Peshawar-Karachi Motorway inaugurated
China.org.cn, November 7, 2019

The aerial view of the motorway in July 2018. [Photo courtesy of CSCEC]

The Sukkur-Multan section of the Pakistan Peshawar-Karachi Motorway, the largest infrastructure project along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), was inaugurated Tuesday in Islamabad. The project is undertaken by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Ning Jizhe, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, Murad Saeed, federal minister for communications of Pakistan, Yao Jing, Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, Wang Zhihua, economic and commercial counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, Zheng Xuexuan, director of CSCEC, Sikander Qayum, chairman of the National Highway Authority (NHA) of Pakistan and Mansoor Sirohey, a member of NHA, Shan Hongjun, deputy director general of the Department of International Cooperation of China's Ministry of Transport, and Jiang Juhua, secretary to the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of China.

The PKM Motorway is a key project on the Belt and Road and the south-north transport artery of Pakistan. The CSCEC team started constructing it in August 2016 according to an ambitious plan and high standards, and accomplished its construction through high-quality management. Now, it has become a model project of friendly cooperation between China and Pakistan.

The motorway in June 2019. [Photo courtesy of CSCEC]

Road of wellbeing for win-win cooperation

The Sukkur-Multan section of the PKM Motorway starts from Sukkur, Sindh province, in south Pakistan and connects to Multan, Punjab province, in the north. The 392-kilometer motorway has a design speed of 120 kilometers per hour, and is the first bi-directional six-lane motorway with an intelligent transportation function in the country. Its contract value is about US$2.9 billion.

The contract period of the project was 36 months. There are 100 bridges, 468 underpasses, 991 culverts, 11 interchanges, six pairs of service areas, five pairs of rest areas, and 24 toll stations. The motorway was divided into seven sections for simultaneous construction. The CSCEC team imported more than 3,500 sets of large machinery and equipment from China, which ensured a steady progress of the project.

Multan and Sukkur are important cities in Pakistan, and they are now connected by the motorway. Multan is a major area for producing mangoes, dates, and other crops, while Sukkur is an important transport hub. The motorway can reduce the commuting time between the two cities from 11 hours to less than four hours, thus expediting the construction of the CPEC and travel between China and Pakistan.

During the construction, the Pakistani government provided huge support for the project in terms of security.

The local temperature often reaches above 40 degrees Celsius. Despite the harsh natural environment, the CSCEC team completed the tasks one after another. On May 26, 2018, the 33-kilometer section of the project opened to traffic 14 months earlier than the contractual deadline. On July 23 this year, the whole project was completed two weeks ahead of schedule.

The NHA gave a thumb up to the CSCEC team, saying that the Sukkur-Multan section is a highway project of the highest standard in Pakistan to date, setting a good example for the Peshawar-Karachi Motorway construction.

The CSCEC team paves the motorway with bitumen in December 2017. [Photo courtesy of CSCEC]

Road of science and technology for a trustworthy project

The PKM (Sukkur-Multan Section) project is a high-standard motorway with the highest design grade. It is also the only motorway in Pakistan with trees along the entire road and can resist once-in-a-century floods. Based on the quality assurance and quality control system, a multi-level and all-round quality control network incorporating design and construction was established to build a most advanced intelligent motorway in Pakistan with innovation and ingenuity.

To adapt to the local high temperatures and heavy workloads, a new anti-rutting technological standard of asphalt pavement mixtures was applied, which can withstand the high temperature of 80 degrees Celsius. SBS modified bitumen was applied to ensure the road formation quality. The UAV aerial photogrammetry technology was used in Pakistan for the first time to obtain accurate data. The hydro-physical model was adopted to optimize the design of cross-river bridges. The difficulty in erecting small skew bridges was successfully overcame. For the first time, the deflection testing technology was applied to control the quality of subgrade and pavement. The standard of intelligent transportation system in Pakistan was improved by the entirely electronic and automatic toll system and signal management. The optical cables laid along the entire motorway can transmit real-time surveillance videos and other information to the control center to have a full control of traffic situations and ensure traffic safety.

Qasir, a Pakistan employee of the project, participated in the project's construction from the very beginning. He said, "I'm fully confident with its quality. This motorway we built is a trustworthy quality project. When the employer was carrying out testing for acceptance along the motorway, the testing team unanimously appraised the PKM project as the fastest motorway project of the best quality in Pakistan."

The motorway in April 2019. [Photo courtesy of CSCEC]

Road of friendship for strengthened people-to-people ties

In implementing the principle of "extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits" of the Belt and Road Initiative, the PKM project attaches great importance to cooperation with local enterprises, including joint development of borrow pits and quarries and renting of equipment locally. Construction materials such as earth and stone, diesel, steel, and cement were all procured locally to drive local industries. During the peak construction period, more than 28,900 local workers, equipment operators, and management personnel were employed.

The CSCEC team also invited a vocational training organization in Karachi to provide standardized training to local employees. Local farmers were trained to become skilled technicians. Dozens of asphalt pavers, road rollers, and dump trucks working on the project were almost exclusively operated by Pakistani employees.

Amar, a commercial consultant of the project, said, "The PKM project has provided us with valuable employment opportunities, and is our second home."

According to him, more than 6,800 local farmers have become skilled equipment operators and project management personnel. "They have become modern engineering and technical personnel in Pakistan," Amar added.

While providing a large number of jobs, the project adhered to the philosophy of "one road, one family" and actively fulfilled its social responsibility, according to the CSCEC team. The team built up 800 kilometers of service roads, 15 bridges, 50 wells, over 200 canals for villages along the motorway. It constructed 920 underpasses and culverts, totaling 40 kilometers in length, to protect local ecology and environment. The team established and renovated schools along the motorway, and organized medical teams to provide free medical services to more than 1,000 villagers. They were also active in emergency and disaster relief and other accident rescues.

The CSCEC team finishes the pavement of the motorway with bitumen in April 2019. [Photo courtesy of CSCEC]

Pakistan China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) urged the government to boost export of meat from Pakistan to China. PCJCCI President Zarak Khan while addressing the export promotion committee of his chamber on Tuesday said that there was a big gap in the world meat trade to be fulfilled and Pakistan had the potential to increase its export and earn foreign exchange by promoting Pakistan's high quality meat worldwide.

He said that Pakistan has the 4th largest livestock population in the world-180 million animals growing at 4.2 percent annually. Moreover there are above four dozen breeds of sheep and goats that have helped Pakistan to become 2nd largest goat meat producing country but our exports are still lacking far behind because of having limited techniques and skilled labour, he added.

PCJCCI chief proposed to avail of Chinese assistance to have training for enhancing the skills and livestock techniques up to the world's standard. He further said that by exporting meat to China we can contribute millions of dollars in the national economy.

The Pakistan's government is already convincing the Chinese government to permit import of meat from Pakistan, he added.

PCJCCI Senior Vice President Moazzam Ghurki speaking on the occasion urged the government and the private sector to create state of the art slaughter houses to attract the Chinese market. We can develop specific brand as per specific needs of Chinese people, he said. He cited an example �Omasum", the second stomach of cows and buffaloes is very much liked in Vietnam and China.

The Chamber's Secretary General Salahuddin Hanif said currently China is importing meat from Vietnam. Brazil and Australia, who are struggling to meet the demand while maintaining the standard too. Therefore in such a competitive environment there is a great possibility for Pakistan to initiate the production of good quality meat to cater the needs of Chinese Market. Viewing the increased demand, China is also considering to import meat from Pakistan to China, he added.

Hi. As gwader port is now operation can anyone tell me why isn't china using it for trade or import export as it was said to be really imp for china. And this china not using the port bothers me as payment are going to start from 2021. So when are they going to start using the route and what is our government doing to promote trade and investment?
PTI ministers’ statements on CPEC: Gen Bajwa had to visit China to control situation



LAHORE: Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Mushahid Hussain Sayed has said that the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa had to go to China to control the situation after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ministers levelled baseless allegations regarding the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.

Speaking to Saleem Safi in Geo News programme ‘Jirga’ on Sunday, he said it was regrettable that the US openly opposed the CPEC initiative. He said the project is not aimed for defence purposes, though it has various strategic implications.

Mushahid said China had no link with attempts to subjugate right to freedom in Pakistan. He said it is unfortunate that every upcoming government in Pakistan tries to take credit of the projects launched during the past governments. He said Minister Murad Saeed’s allegations

about corruption in CPEC projects were really unfortunate. He said not a single rupee corruption was proved in any CPEC project, and PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal should take Murad Saeed to a court of law over such allegations.

The PML-N senator said that CPEC had central position in the Pak-China strategic relationship. He said the PTI leadership should be very careful in giving statements about the CPEC projects as they were not full aware of the sensitivities attached with it.

One report, by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, predicts that the Chinese population will outnumber natives of Balochistan by 2048. It estimates that after completion of economic corridor projects, more than 600,000 Chinese will enter Pakistan each year. The Pakistan government and Chinese Diplomatic Mission in Pakistan have both rejected the report, but concerns linger.

Quality FUD.

Hi. As gwader port is now operation can anyone tell me why isn't china using it for trade or import export as it was said to be really imp for china. And this china not using the port bothers me as payment are going to start from 2021. So when are they going to start using the route and what is our government doing to promote trade and investment?

Current transport links between Gwadar to China is too weak.
Spotlight: Pakistan's first-ever urban train under CPEC takes first test run
Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-11 08:39:08|Editor: Liu
by Jamil Bhatti

LAHORE, Pakistan, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan's first-ever mass rapid urban transit train took its first test run here on Tuesday after the completion of the physical infrastructure of the project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Transportation Minister of Punjab Jahanzaib Khan Khichi inaugurated the test run of the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT), which has been tested partially twice earlier in Lahore, the capital city of the country's eastern Punjab province.

The transport minister told Xinhua that the project is a token of China-Pakistan friendship and a gift to the Pakistani people which provides a high-class transportation service of international standards.

"The project will help the government to counter the rising air pollution by reducing the use of thousands of smoking vehicles," said the minister, adding that a wave of economic activities will also be triggered alongside the route of the service.

The test run was made from Dera Gujran to the Ali Town area at a total of some 25 km route. The train service has 26 stations including 24 elevated stops and two underground stations. The underground track and stations were built to protect historical places which attract hundreds of thousand local and foreign tourists annually, according to General Manager of the Punjab Masstransit Authority Uzair Shah.

The project funded by the Export-Import Bank of China is part of the CPEC and is built by a joint venture of China Railway Corporation and China North Industries Corporation.

During the inaugurating ceremony, Shah said that a total of 27 sets of energy-saving electric trains, each comprising five fully air-conditioned wagons, with the operating speed of 80 km per hour, will provide a comfortable, secure and economical traveling facility to 250,000 passengers daily when it is fully operational in the first half of 2020.

The general manager said that the OLMT is the first of the three rail lines of a Lahore Metro master plan, which is expected to transport half a million people daily by 2025.

Executive Deputy General Manager of the Orange Line Project Wang Yunlin highlighted the importance of the urban rail transit as the most efficient and environment-friendly transportation system in modern big cities, believing that the OLMT will change lifestyle and usher in new development concepts in Lahore.

Wang told the audience that the project adopted advanced Chinese technology, standards, design concepts and equipment at a lower cost than similar projects in other countries.

Information Minister of Punjab province Fayaz-ul-Hasan Chohan hailed the project and vowed that the provincial government would continue to implement the CPEC in a true spirit as it is not a project of Pakistan's any political party or government but project of the Pakistani people.

A local journalist named Tahir Kalasra, who was one of the dozens of media persons reporting the test run, told Xinhua that the project is need of the time in the city which is facing a high rise in traffic congestions.

Waqar Ahmad, a taxi driver in Lahore, said the project would be a blessing for the common people, especially the commuters, by providing them cheap, quick and comfortable traveling as it passes through the middle of the city touching all important areas by cutting the traveling time by more than 70 percent.
China-Pakistan border trade via Khunjerab Pass up by 47% with construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) & Pakistan’s domestic economic growth, trade volume surged this year at a major border port between China and Pakistan.

Cargo import and export reached 66,600 tonnes in the first 11 months at Khunjerab Pass in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, up 46.8% from the same period last year. Trade volume increased by 1.4 times to 5.99 billion yuan (around 856.3 million U.S. dollars) during same period, according to a report of China News Network.

China-Pakistan border trade via Khunjerab Pass up by 47% with construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) & Pakistan’s domestic economic growth, trade volume surged this year at a major border port between China and Pakistan.

Cargo import and export reached 66,600 tonnes in the first 11 months at Khunjerab Pass in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, up 46.8% from the same period last year. Trade volume increased by 1.4 times to 5.99 billion yuan (around 856.3 million U.S. dollars) during same period, according to a report of China News Network.

How much are the Pakistani exports worth? The relationship with china should be revised. If they truly want an ally (which frankly, they need immensely) then their imports should be equal or more then their exports to us.

Otherwise it's they will destroy our nation, which is unthinkable.
Imports from Pakistan in China increased to 128147 USD THO in October from 89395 USD THO in September of 2019. Imports from Pakistan in China averaged 177389.81 USD THO from 2014 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 305989 USD THO in December of 2014 and a record low of 89395 USD THO in September of 2019.



Pakistan is looking for a wide range of cooperation with China in geographical areas and products, said Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood.

In an interview with the China Economic Net, the adviser said Chinese government had provided Pakistan with an opportunity to export more than just textile, leather and agricultural products and now the country would export chemicals and engineering goods as well.

“We see it as the perfect opportunity to enhance collaboration with Chinese companies,” he told the China Economic Net. “The second phase of Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will become operational from the first of December.”

Terming it a multi-faceted agreement, he looked forward to its swift implementation.

As per statistics, the 313 product lines, waived from tariffs under the agreement, would cover exports worth nearly $2 billion of Pakistani goods to China each year.

According to data compiled by the State Bank of Pakistan, the revised total exports from Pakistan to China rose $106 million in the previous fiscal year – from July 2018 to June 2019 – with potential to grow about 20 times.

When asked whether Pakistan’s exports to China were likely to increase by 10 times till the end of the current fiscal year following implementation of the second phase of FTA, Dawood said, “I hope so, this is the type of thing that we absolutely want to do.”

“I look forward to that type of growth. We have tremendous interest in enhancing exports to China,” he said.

Sugar exports may rise

Dawood’s anticipated increase in total exports to China is expected to come from a rise in the export volume of specific trade categories. Pakistani sugar is undoubtedly a defining product in China-Pakistan trade.

In the previous fiscal year, Pakistan exported sugar worth $609.9 million to China, which was over four times compared to sugar exports in fiscal year 2017-18.

When asked whether the sugar export volume would remain the same this year, Dawood gave a positive reply.

Minerals and precious stones were the categories frequently mentioned by Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Naghmana Hashmi when she was interviewed by the China Economic Net.

It is reported that among the newly added zero-tariff items, there are 12 products related to minerals and precious stones. The applicable tax rates on some of these products have been dropped from a high of 35% to zero. Some Chinese companies have also begun to focus on copper and gold deposits in areas such as Reko Diq.

“This is a new area on which Pakistan will concentrate. We have massive opportunity. Our trade with China is very low and we certainly will be concentrating on this area,” Dawood added.

Regarding the international image of the country’s enterprises, Dawood was of the view that Pakistan still had a long way to go to improve its image and market itself better at the global level.

“We are not very good at international marketing and this stems from the fact that in the domestic market, demand has always been greater than supply hence the emphasis on marketing remains low,” he pointed out.

The scenario of companies operating internationally was the other way round, the adviser emphasised. “Pakistan has to market and we have not learnt it yet but we will,” he said. “I can assure you Pakistanis are fast learners. Once they understand that they have to learn, this is what they will focus on.”

When asked about introducing the South Korean-Chinese marketing model in Pakistan and focusing on exchanges among the three countries, Dawood said, “I think this is a very good idea. I will certainly look into how we can get three-way cooperation, get help from the Koreans and then export here in China.”

Talking about Chinese President Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the China International Import Expo, Dawood said President Xi was a visionary man and a great leader.

“He has come forward to tell the world that China wants to import from the world. It is the very enlightening for all of us and we feel that it is a very good initiative,” Dawood said.

This article originally appeared on the China Economic Net

Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2019.
CPEC: Pakistani Government Announces Completion of 13 Projects Worth $11 Billion

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), aims to enhance bilateral ties between the two countries through a planned network of roads and railways that would link Xinjiang province of China with Pakistan's strategic Gwadar Port.

The Pakistani government told the country's parliament on Thursday that 13 projects worth $11 billion have been completed under the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

It also announced that another 13 CPEC-related projects worth $18 billion are under implementation, whereas projects amounting to $21 billion are in the pipeline.

Informing the parliament that the construction of the New Gwadar International Airport is being facilitated by a Chinese grant, Pakistan’s Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and Development Kanwal Shauzab said it would be the country’s largest airport.

In December, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi declared that the multi-billion dollar project led by China was Islamabad’s “top priority”.

Meanwhile, Pakistan appointed the former head of its military's media wing, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Lt. Gen (Retd.) Asim Saleem Bajwa, as the first chairman of the CPEC Authority in November. The panel is responsible for ensuring that the projects are completed on time.

The CPEC’s first phase primarily focuses on energy and roads, while the second phase would prioritise industrialisation, agriculture, and socio-economic development. China’s envoy to Islamabad Yao Jing announced in September 2019 the completion of key projects under phase one.

The multi-billion dollar project is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative that seeks to establish commercial links between Asia, Europe, and Africa through large-scale infrastructure projects and is often defined as “a modern version of the silk road

There is a song playing in the background of this video, I think it's a Pakistani folk song. Can a Pakistani member please link me to this song on youtube or give me the singer's name and song name?


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