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CPEC at a glance

During a news conference, the Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar has said the government has allocated PKR 87 billion for CPEC projects, under the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP).

As per details, PKR 1.1 billion have been allocated for Gwadar Airport, PKR 42 billion for Western Route, PKR 6.2 billion for Mainline-I, PKR 7 billion for provision of basic facilities and utilities for SEZs. Present at the occasion were media personnel, and top government officials include CPEC Authority Chairman Asim Saleem Bajwa who said the Industrial Cooperation Framework is under discussion while reforms in agriculture have been shared with China for enhancing cooperation.

Moreover, he also said that road network from Quetta to Gwadar is also complete, while a number of connectivity, infrastructural, and energy projects are underway.
Pakistan is an emerging destination for investors: Ambassador Haque
June 10, 2021


While attending a business forum organized by the Changsha High Tech Zone, Pakistan’s Ambassador Moin-ul-Haque highlighted that Pakistan’s favorable business environment will attract more Chinese enterprises, especially under the Special Economic Zones.

Pakistan Ambassador to China, Moin ul Haq Wednesday said Pakistan‘s favorable business environment would attract more Chinese enterprises.

He said this while attending a business forum, organized by the Changsha High Tech Zone during his visit to Hunan Province of China. Ten leading local enterprises from diverse sectors such as; biotechnology, steel manufacturing, mining, home appliances, agriculture and services sector participated in the forum.

Addressing the forum, Ambassador Moin briefed the participating companies about Pakistan‘s economy which was projected to grow 4% this year despite Covid-19 pandemic.

He said Pakistan was an emerging destination for overseas investment, and invited them to benefit from the attractive investment friendly policies of the government.

The ambassador further briefed them about the Phase-II of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which envisaged development of Special Economic Zones in Pakistan with special incentives offered for relocation of industries from China.

The business enterprises from across China had expressed great interest in establishment of industrial units in Pakistan.

He thanked the Hunan based enterprises for their successful investments in Pakistan.
Budget 2021

How China and Pakistan Negotiate


  • MAY 24, 2021
Summary: Many observers view Pakistan as a test case for China’s assertive overseas expansion plans. But sometimes, it is Chinese players who have had to adapt to Islamabad’s realities.


The project that best captures the combination of local agency and Chinese adaptation is the port of Gwadar in Balochistan, the jewel in the CPEC’s crown. To many Indian and U.S. policymakers, Gwadar epitomizes China’s military ambitions and expansionism. However, the development of the Gwadar Port is better understood as a Pakistani, not a Chinese, story. The project was first initiated by Pakistani elites who have long sought to build infrastructure that could help the country counterbalance its archrival, India—a cause to which China has been receptive over many years. Like other projects along the BRI’s routes, Gwadar, too, started much earlier than the advent of Xi’s signature initiative.

The first proposal to develop Gwadar as a port was put forward not by Beijing but by then Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf during his first visit to China in January 2000. In fact, Beijing was skeptical of Musharraf’s proposal, since Gwadar was located in a remote area and was disconnected from the major transport routes that have been China’s focus. The general’s Chinese interlocuters also looked askance at the project due to its modest commercial prospects and its location in a region—Balochistan—with strong and long-standing separatist sentiments.29

China eventually came around, in part because the project was such a high priority for its Pakistani partners. By the time of his May 2001 visit to Pakistan, then Chinese premier Zhu Rongji announced that Beijing had decided to invest in the port, with the completion of the project’s first phase slated for 2006.30 Following the inauguration of the port in January 2007, however, six years of inaction followed during which operations were handed over to the Port of Singapore Authority, which failed to deliver on further development at the port site. As one interviewee noted, the Pakistani government “gave it to [the] wrong organization, the Singapore Port Authority. They were not able to deliver, they were not able to run it, [and] they were not able to keep their commitment.”31

After Pakistan’s return to democracy, the February 2008 elections culminated in the victory of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), and the new government was determined to develop economic ties with China and to see the project through. As such, Pakistan once again offered Gwadar to China when then prime minister Yousaf Reza Gilani visited Beijing in the immediate wake of the May 2011 U.S. raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.32 Islamabad’s initial offer allegedly included developing a military base at Gwadar, or as then defense minister Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar announced, “We have asked our Chinese brothers to please build a naval base at Gwadar.”33 China, however, denied these claims. As the New York Times put it, Mukhtar’s statement was seen by some “as a pointed, if graceless, effort to send a message to the United States that Pakistan had other options should its foundering relationship with Washington prove beyond repair” after bin Laden was killed on Pakistani soil.34 Since then, both China and Pakistan have downplayed the military development of Gwadar.

In February 2013, the China Overseas Port Holding Company officially took over the management of the port. Even though this happened during the tenure of the PPP government, the importance of Gwadar to every Pakistani government, regardless of political persuasion, has remained a constant for more than twenty years.35 The relevance of the port for Pakistan relates to several factors, including the country’s rivalry with India and the potential to use Gwadar for trade through Afghanistan and Central Asia. The port has been and is a regular topic of discussion at the JCC meetings, with Beijing acceding to various Pakistani construction requests.

Thus, during the first JCC meeting in 2013, the chairman of Pakistan’s National Highway Authority—the agency tasked with the implementation of road projects under the CPEC—suggested that upgrading “the Makran Coastal Highway to link Karachi with Gwadar” should be a key priority.36 In his own concluding remarks at the same meeting, the vice chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission argued for “giving priority” to projects that would support a plan for “Gwadar port’s sustainable development.”37 (Beijing has placed a recurring emphasis on sustainable development, a point to which this paper will return.) As evidence of the importance Chinese actors placed on Pakistan’s requests, the two sides agreed at the third JCC meeting on August 27, 2014, to sign a government-to-government framework agreement, which included the Eastbay Expressway linking Gwadar to Karachi through the Makran Coast.38

To be sure, some of the prioritized projects, including the Eastbay Expressway, aimed to address Beijing’s original concerns about the lack of connectivity around the port and its geographic isolation from Pakistan’s transport networks (see photo 2). To put it differently, Beijing has not simply accepted Pakistani requests that lacked any underlying commercial or logistical logic. In addition, the Eastbay Expressway was financed by an interest-free Chinese government loan.39 This arrangement was in sharp contrast to the concessional loans and independent power producer plans that financed other early harvest CPEC projects.40 This reflected China’s desire to both meet Pakistani demands and pursue its own strategic considerations to develop what Chinese analysts consider a “strategic strongpoint” in the Indian Ocean.41

In summary, the first phase of the CPEC (2013–2017) is a potent example of negotiated outcomes between Pakistan’s evolving preferences and China’s own adaptive goals and priorities. The way the CPEC route was the result of the PML-N’s and China’s goals, the prioritization of coal projects in line with Pakistan’s requests, and developments at the port of Gwadar (especially about building road links with Pakistan’s highway network) all demonstrate this point.

Continued from #49


The CPEC’s strong early focus on energy generation sprung primarily from Pakistan’s own domestic political priorities. Energy came to be the very heart of the CPEC’s initial phase largely because of a dramatic energy crisis that was affecting the lives and livelihoods of Pakistanis, the country’s macroeconomy, and (as a result) the electoral prospects of those in power.

The promise to solve the “energy crisis” was a key electoral manifesto commitment of the PML-N’s 2013 campaign. As Punjab’s chief economist explained, “energy was the pre-requisite” to everything the PML-N hoped to achieve both developmentally and electorally.

The fact that Pakistan pushed its energy priorities onto Beijing rather than the other way around is demonstrated by the minutes of the first JCC meeting in August 2013. The Pakistani side “shared [that] the energy sector is the most important and critical sector and without its revival, economic activities cannot be re-generated in the country.

” In the same meeting the vice chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission agreed to take cues from Pakistan by “affirm[ing] that the projects . . . identified by the [Pakistani] Minister [would] . . . be the basis for future bilateral cooperation under the corridor.

.” However, Chinese officials warned that both sides would need to ensure the high efficiency of projects to maximize their benefits when making specific investment decisions within that Pakistan-set prioritization framework.

Within the energy sector, coal would play a key role (see table 1). The Pakistani authorities clearly dictated this priority, and their Chinese counterparts adapted accordingly. For instance, the National Power Policy 2013, one of the very first policy documents approved by the newly elected PML-N government in July 2013, called for the exploration of a “coal corridor.


This plan was made to generate cheaper electricity and to diversify the country’s energy sources with the goal of reducing its overreliance on oil. Accordingly, 47 percent (eight out of seventeen) of the prioritized energy projects under the CPEC between 2013 and 2021 were for coal-fired power plants. These projects accounted for 65 percent of the projected megawatts of power that CPEC sites would produce, a potent reminder of the centrality that the Pakistani government attached to the role of coal.

Pakistani leaders were not only steering the types of projects that received investment but were also asking Chinese firms to speed up the construction of various projects. The Pakistani government put pressure on the Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina), the state-owned enterprise (SOE) that holds a 51 percent stake in the project, to rapidly develop the Port Qasim coal-fired plant so it would be ready ahead of the 2018 elections.

The power plant was eventually connected to the country’s electrical grid in just thirty-two months, and the Port Qasim coal power plant began commercial operations sixty-seven days ahead of schedule and ahead of the July 2018 elections. In brief, the power generation projects that dominated the first phase of the CPEC were the result of Chinese accommodations of Pakistani political and economic priorities.
Continued from #50


One notable element of the CPEC since 2018 has been a renewed emphasis on SEZs. These entities have been introduced in many countries, despite skepticism from the World Bank and others about whether they improve economic development more than the national average. It is important to note that the creation of SEZs was already mentioned even before the 2018 election in the Long-Term Plan for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (2017-2030), which was agreed on under the previous PML-N government, as a major second-phase priority for the CPEC. Even before the PTI took power, therefore, Pakistan viewed the zones as a means of enabling “industries to smooth supply chains, enhance collaboration and innovation capabilities, and help reap significant economies of scale.”

From Beijing’s perspective, meanwhile, access to Pakistan through SEZs would have the secondary benefit of allowing Chinese investors to re-export “because [of] “Pakistan’s GSP+ access to the EU.”66 In addition, investing in SEZs would enable China to take advantage of Pakistan’s cheaper labor costs and relocate some of its “sunset industries” to Pakistan, as its own industries back in China moved up the value chain (although it is important to stress that Pakistan was not the only possible relocation candidate for these Chinese firms).

At the 2016 JCC meeting, Pakistan (under the PML-N government) and China agreed to nine new SEZs.68 In keeping with the rhetorical commitment to a whole-of-Pakistan CPEC narrative, these SEZs initially were spread across the country more widely than those first adopted in 2012. The federal government proposed “industrial parks in all four provinces,” with just one of the SEZs located in Sharif’s home province of Punjab along with two in Sindh, one in Balochistan, and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; they also proposed that SEZs also be located in the administrative territories of the Islamabad Capital Territory (one), Gilgit Baltistan (one), Azad Jammu and Kashmir (one), and the (former) Federally Administered Tribal Areas (one).

The minutes of the December 2016 JCC meeting recorded the “priority list of locations of special economic zones shared by the Pakistani side.” Although the minutes noted that “experts on industrial zones from China shall visit Pakistan in early 2017 to advise the Pakistani side on the most suitable locations,” it was Pakistan, not China, that pushed for these particular locations.

However, at the seventh JCC meeting in November 2017, differences emerged as to which SEZ sites should be prioritized. Beijing wanted the Thatta (Dhabeji) site (in Sindh), the Hattar site (in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), and the M3 Faisalabad site (in Punjab) to be prioritized, while Pakistan strongly advocated moving ahead on the Rashakai site (in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and the Sheikhupura zone (in Punjab)—the latter for parochial political reasons related to the PML-N’s Punjab heartland.

Meanwhile, China’s preferences reflected an interest in quick wins. As Hasaan Khawar, a journalist at the Express Tribune has noted, despite a common misperception, the Chinese never requested . . . [that] Pakistan [offer] exclusive industrial enclaves under [the] CPEC. Their preference for [the] M3 and Hattar industrial estates, with a number of pre-existing industries, makes this evident. No decision was reached on the location of the SEZs at this meeting.

At the eighth JCC meeting in December 2018, the first meeting after the PTI came to power, Chinese officials finally accepted that Rashakai would be one of the three SEZs prioritized as “key projects. Chinese actors accepted this outcome even though the feasibility studies provided to the sixth JCC meeting had ranked Rashakai lower than Dhabeji (in Sindh), Hattar (in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), or Faisalabad (in Punjab), and even though the existing economic zone at Rashakai had been described as a failure by analysts. As Small has argued, at the eighth JCC meeting, the Chinese participants were concerned that “there was a respectable public narrative around [the] CPEC in place for the second Belt and Road Forum.”

Nonetheless, Khan was determined to focus Chinese attention on this zone, located 70 kilometers from Peshawar, for partisan political reasons.81 The provincial government in power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, led by Khan’s party (Tehreek-e-Insaf), was a strong advocate for the SEZ’s adoption as it was located in the constituency of the chief minister.

Although Pakistan accepted China’s preferred sites of Dhabedi and Faisalabad at this meeting, the shift from Sheikhupura to Faisalabad was occasioned by Pakistani political changes. After the change in political power in Punjab from the PML-N to the PTI, feasibility studies on an SEZ at Sheikhupura revealed “some serious issues. The new government realized that “more than 200,000 resided in the area and the land was privately owned” so it could not simply be allocated to the SEZ. As such, this siting modification was the result of the shift in power in Punjab’s provincial government from the PML-N to the PTI, not shifting Chinese preferences. See table 2 for a full listing of the key prioritized SEZs.


Of the nine SEZs on the CPEC’s priority list in 2016, three were accepted as elevated priorities at the 2018 JCC meeting: Rashakai in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dhabeji in Sindh, and Faisalabad in Punjab. All three were the preferred options of the Khan government. China’s preference for the Hattar industrial park as the more viable and efficient option was eventually abandoned, and the Rashakai project, adopted for political rather than economic reasons, was accepted instead. This is a clear example of how an economically inefficient project was driven by Pakistani domestic political concerns, a development that runs counter to the common narrative that China is typically the one distorting market forces.

The discourse on the development of the SEZs has been related to economic cooperation, skills training, and employment. However, it is extremely difficult to independently verify the claims made about employment levels in and nearby the SEZs. For instance, in January 2020, the Faisalabad Industrial Development and Management Company (a company established by the provincial government that develops and upgrades industrial estates) claimed that the Faisalabad SEZ “will absorb more than 400,000 skilled workers in four years” and provide training centers for workers within the SEZ.The government-funded CPEC Centre for Excellence estimated in 2018 that 1.2 million jobs would be created by 2030. A similar narrative was echoed in December 2020 by Chinese Consul General Li Bijian, who argued that “investment would bring development and jobs for [the] local population and also . . . will improve civic facilities. With industries, locals will increase their incomes and would have better services.

Many experts question these projections, however. As Zahra Beg, representing a widespread view among analysts, put it, “Locals, if hired, are in lower positions, often suffering major salary discrepancies. Interviewed at the end of 2020, the journalist Khawar said that the situation has remained much the same: “[The] Chinese say they can’t find high-tech or specialized labor in Pakistan. So wherever they can’t find local labor, they bring in Chinese [workers]. He was optimistic, however, that with time this would change. A senior political appointee in Lahore agreed that if a project needs to be completed quickly, Chinese labor tends to be used, but in the long term he believed that there would be a shift to Pakistani labor. However, no reasons were given to support this assertion.
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In contrast to the slow progress on SEZs, a different model has been underway in Gwadar (see photo 3). After the China Overseas Ports Holding Company took over the management of the port, the company “leased over 650 acres of land . . . to build and operate” a Free Trade Zone. Unlike the SEZs, the free trade zone operates as “a free port . . . similar to [how] Hong Kong [operates].” China receives 91 percent of the profits from the port, which it will run for forty years under a “build-operate and transfer model [sic].

China has invested billions to meet long-standing Pakistani requests to help turn the port of Gwadar into a regional hub for trade.

Projects in Gwadar featured prominently in the JCC meetings, particularly at the fourth JCC meeting in March 2015. What is striking about the minutes from that meeting is the stress placed on the “Social Sector Development of Gwadar Region” with statements such as the “JCC also appreciated the progress on social sector projects.

Both sides were keen to ensure the success of the project, and the inclusion of so many prominent social sector projects was important for the public image of the CPEC in Balochistan, a marginalized province with multiple insurgent groups. As Small notes, Chinese workers had been attacked in Gwadar before, notably in 2004 and 2007.

In October 2019, shortly before Khan visited China, generous tax exemptions were granted to investors in Gwadar including for income tax, sales tax, and federal exercise duties. Although the Pakistani government’s concession of these exemptions met long-standing Chinese demands, they also reflected the strategic importance of the port for the Pakistan Navy. It is no accident that the decision to grant these exemptions was made by the National Development Council, which is chaired by the prime minister but crucially includes the chief of army staff, reflecting the changed balance of power in Pakistan.

The granting of these exemptions stood in stark contrast to the lack of concessions over the payment of income tax for investors in the SEZs, one of China’s concerns, as discussed above. Developments at the Gwadar free trade zone look more promising on paper than those of the SEZs. Recently, the chair of the China Overseas Port Holding Company, Zhang Baozhong, has claimed that “43 Chinese companies are going to invest while 200 more firms have been registered for the purpose. However, it remains to be seen how much investment actually materializes from these expressions of interest.

China also has a strategic goal at stake in the development of the Gwadar Port, and most of the funding for projects in Gwadar “comes in the form of grants and interest free loans. However, it is striking that, in contrast to the SEZs, several of the Gwadar projects publicized in the early harvest phase of the CPEC were designed to appease local communities in the province and in the surrounding area. These included the Pak China Friendship Hospital, the Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute, the Gwadar Livelihood Project, and the establishment of Gwadar University. Other projects such as a desalination initiative also benefit the immediate area.

The Gwadar Livelihood Project was of particular importance as it involved the Chinese holding company overseeing the port taking “effective measures for social sector development” and the “pgradation and development of fishing, boat making and maintenance services to protect and promote livelihoods of [the] local population.

Scholar Frederic Grare, writing in 2018, suggested that these measures were designed to appease the local population and decrease the security challenges of the project. Grare wrote, “Interestingly, the Chinese authorities seemed to understand the problem better than their Pakistani counterparts: they built a school, sent doctors and promised some $500 million for the construction of a hospital, a college, and various infrastructure projects to supply the city with drinking water.

Yet, despite the commitment of the PTI government to socioeconomic development, many of these projects to win over local residents were removed from the 2018–2019 PSDP. In November 2019, both the Gwadar Livelihood Project and the Development of Gwadar University were removed from the Gwadar project pages of the CPEC website.

Even before the removal of the Livelihood Project from the CPEC website, local fishermen had expressed their concerns that their livelihoods were being adversely affected by the CPEC and that the Pakistani government had not kept its development promises to them. Despite a promise from Pakistani officials that “CPEC projects and education schemes would not be dropped . . . at least four projects of [the] CPEC and one dozen schemes of Gwadar [were] dropped from the PSDP.

Although conditions of austerity partly explain the decision to drop these projects, Khan’s concern about the CPEC is also part of the explanation. Despite being the Pakistani province with the largest territorial area, its small population (6 percent of the country’s total) has meant that successive Pakistani governments have failed to invest in Balochistan since it holds fewer seats in the National Assembly than any other province.

The fishing sector represents an important part of Gwadar’s development because of its commercial potential. The port’s fishing community has been expressing concerns about being displaced from their traditional fishing grounds due to the construction of CPEC projects such as the Eastbay Expressway for several years. More recently however, their entire livelihood has come under threat as a result of developments related to the CPEC.

In October 2020, Pakistani fishermen in Sindh and Balochistan protested against the arrival of Chinese trawlers that would fish in the exclusive economic zones of Sindh and Punjab. According to one news account, the “president of the Gwadar Fishermen Alliance [argued that] the Chinese ships will badly hurt local fishermen . . . Fishing in the sea is a source of livelihood for over 2.5 million people . . . and the new trawlers will deprive us of our livelihood The locals are extremely worried about fishing stocks being depleted. As one reporter noted, an adviser on marine fisheries for World Wildlife Fund-Pakistan named Moazzam Khan said “Chinese fishermen are eager to fish in Pakistan waters as they can sell the catch back home duty-free.

Responding to this latest wave of concerns over the future of fishing in Gwadar, the Chinese consul general countered that China was providing assistance to local fishermen in the form of “engines, solar panels and fishing nets . . . to help increase their fishing capacity. The Chinese government also has encouraged them to “seek [the Pakistani] federal and provincial government’s help in developing more fishing cultures to boost their future fishing capacity. The latter is seen as a precondition to establish processing factories and storage plants that would enable Pakistani seafood to be exported.

The Gwadar free trade zone does include a “fishery processing centre. However, while a 2013 World Bank report noted that there was an urgent need for processing facilities closer to the sea, these latest developments suggest that the local Pakistani fishing community will not be the ones to benefit.

Overall, it is clear that China is keen to be seen as responsive to the local population’s concerns in Gwadar, perhaps more so than the current PTI government. China has a clear interest in minimizing the security challenges to the project. In this respect, Chinese actors face an uphill struggle, not least because of the province’s long history of economic deprivation and marginalization. In addition, whether local communities are able to benefit from a more industrialized economy is open to question, given the low level of skills development in the province.

Recently, progress does appear to have been made on completing the Technical and Vocational Institute, a project that “aims to produce skilled manpower in different areas to [allow the local population to] take maximum advantage of CPEC linked opportunities. There will be concerns from locals that Pakistanis from other provinces will take advantage of these opportunities, and, as with the development of the free trade zone and the fishing processing center, benefits will not necessarily accrue to the local areas around Gwadar. In addition, the tension between securing the buy-in of local communities and the need to increase security is likely to remain, as was revealed in December 2020 by attempts, allegedly “at the behest of” Chinese actors according to some media accounts, to physically fence off parts of Gwadar.

CPEC generating employment, despite ongoing pandemic

June 26, 2021

Yasir Habib Khan, a columnist writes that in none of the CPEC projects has any employee ever been laid off, whereas globally unemployment has risen considerably. He labels this as a testament of Pakistan-China iron-clad friendship. He writes that CPEC projects offer a variety of employment opportunities to Pakistani labor force as it has already created 75,000 jobs for high-skilled to medium-skilled workforce. He says that this phenomena is unseen globally and adds uniqueness to this bilateral relationship.

In another shining example of the unflinching 70-year-Pak-China relations, CPEC has never dismissed, laid-off and shrunk employability to any Pakistani employee since its genesis to date. Contrary to others, CPEC also stands tall, untainted with practices of forced termination to employees. Even during over one year’s Covid-19 economic contractions when big companies got compelled to axe jobs, CPEC did not relieve Pakistani employees from their employment.

CPEC projects offered a variety of jobs to the Pakistani labour force. As per contractual periods, many completed their job terms. After their service periods came to end, they left but with professional advantage. Having worked with Chinese experts and technicians, their job experiences helped them to get familiar with modern skilled specifications. Their new professional competitiveness facilitated them to secure more lucrative jobs in Pakistan and even foreign job markets.

CPEC began in 2015. It created more than direct 75000 jobs of various categories from high-skilled and medium-skilled to blue-collar workers. Generating thousands of indirect jobs from allied industries is another windfall. It is an iconic feature of Pak-China affinity spanning over seven decades that CPEC’s employability status never takes a hit despite countless untowardness. This phenomenon, in the current history, is unique and unseen globally.

In the course of CPEC phase I and ongoing phase II, all Pakistanis who have been awarded jobs are enjoying 100 percent job security throughout 2015 to 2021 with peace of mind. During the period of contract, no Pakistani employee has ever witnessed forced termination. They say goodbye to their jobs with grace after their contractual period expires.

As CPEC’s job security momentum has achieved milestone resilience, its future job landscape for Pakistani employees is completely stable and steady.

The CPEC employment bonanza might be one of the biggest marvels of the Pak-China friendship. In a scenario when Covid-19 had compelled at least every private sector to render many people jobless due to financial losses and economic downswing, thousands of people working on CPEC projects remained unhurt. They have been continuing their job status up and running without any future threats and risks.

According to the data recently released by the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, CPEC created 75000 jobs. With no workforce withdrawal, a total of 46 CPEC projects are under construction or have been completed, and the corridor has brought 25.4 billion US dollars in foreign direct investment to Pakistan.

Beyond this, experts believe that CPEC has also created more than 200,000 indirect jobs for the Pakistani people, with its per capita income increased by 23 percent. More than 100 small and medium-sized enterprises have participated in the construction of CPEC, providing hundreds of thousands of jobs. CPEC is expected to create 2.3 million jobs between 2015 and 2030.

Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong, speaking at an online awarding ceremony for outstanding Pakistani staff of CPEC projects in December 2020 had clearly said that there was no stop of the construction, no job cut, and no withdrawal of workforce of the CPEC projects.

The unemployment rate increased by 34.1 percent in Pakistan, said a study conducted by the Mahbub ul Haq Research Centre at LUMS titled COVID-19 Pandemic’s Economic Burden in Pakistan, which took data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics’ Special Survey for Evaluating the Socio-Economic Impact of COVID-19. The Ministry of Planning has also estimated that 12.3 million to 18.5 million people in the country could lose their jobs.

A recent survey by Gallup Pakistan reveals that more than seventeen million people could become unemployed in the future amid the COVID-19 crisis. Economist Hiraj Malhi said that though CPEC did not inflict job-cuts on Pakistani workforce but its global critics took a massive hit. Employment layoff took a heavy toll on the job markets of developed countries, he added.

“In United States, the unemployment rate remained 6.0 percent, the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) said in its monthly report, released April 2, 2021. Unemployment Rate in European Union decreased to 7.30 percent in March from 7.40 percent in February of 2021. Meanwhile in the UK, the unemployment rate was 4.8 percent, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS),” he added.
Contribution of Pakistani entrepreneurs in CPEC

Contribution of Pakistani entrepreneurs in CPEC

Khawar Abbas Sandhu
June 30, 2021

There are faces in Pakistan who are doing their best in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, with their dedication and hard work and China has labelled them as role models. They are working on various projects under CPEC.

Asadullah Larik is an interpreter for a coal-fired power station in the Thar Coalfield under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He is not only a fluent Chinese and English speaker, but also a model worker and a considerate helper, according to China Economic Net’s report.
Asadullah is proud to be part of a CPEC project.

Driven by passion and a sense of mission, he aspires to do his best. Whenever he encountered any unfamiliar technical term during interpretation, he would figure it out by consulting experts or books and kept it in his notebook so that he could deliver accurate interpretation. In his spare time, he often took online lectures to broaden his knowledge and horizon.

As an interpreter by profession, Asadullah not only conveyed the instructions on the project, but also took initiative to supervise the tasks involved to ensure timely completion.

Asadullah’s care for others extended beyond the workplace. When a co-worker needed to have his phone repaired, he volunteered to reach out to his local friends for help. When a staff member of the project division was about to celebrate his birthday, he arranged a surprise followed by a birthday cake and exquisite presents.

He also offered to interpret for Chinese colleagues in daily scenarios, such as hospitals when necessary. He even learned several Chinese dialects during his association with his Chinese peers.

After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asadullah took on another role: anti-pandemic inspector. Each day he collected data of the workers’ body temperature, checked incoming vehicles, and assisted in nucleic acid testing and antibody kit testing at the entrance of the construction site.

“He adopts a conscientious and proactive attitude towards work. And he is always ready to lend a helping hand to fellow workers in need”, acclaimed his colleagues.

Asadullah has graduated from Yangtze University in China. Now he is furthering his academic studies at another university.

The coal-power-integrated project of the first block of Thar Coalfield is a key CPEC project under the "Belt and Road" initiative. It is also essential for Pakistan’s South-North Power Transmission. Designed to be put into commercial operation in 2022, it will alleviate the country’s electricity shortage, reduce the cost of power generation, and save the cost of fuel import.
CPEC incorporates 6 projects from KP

July 14, 2021

PESHAWAR: The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority has included 6 key projects of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the upcoming meeting of Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of CPEC.

However, the KP government has sent a request to the chairman of CPEC Authority to include nine additional projects in the CPEC portfolio. The much-awaited meeting of the JCC has been convened on Friday (July 16) in which the projects will be formally approved. The JCC meeting will be held after a gap of one and a half years, the last JCC meeting was held in November 2019.

While expressing his satisfaction over the meeting of the JCC of CPEC, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Mehmood Khan said that in the past KP was ignored in CEPC projects, other provinces were given more projects but this time KP government has made all preparations. “Although six projects of KP have been included in the agenda but we have requested an additional nine projects to be included in the portfolio,” the CM said.

“The feasibility of almost all the projects has been completed. The construction of roads would provide better transport facilities to the people of the province. DIK Motorway and Dir Expressway have already been approved by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP)”, he said

Mahmood Khan said the mega projects would provide better transportation facilities for the people and help in the province’s sustainable development. The Chashma Right Bank Canal is a 40-year-old project that will revolutionise the southern districts and make the province self-sufficient in wheat.

He said China is a time-tested friend of Pakistan and CPEC is a great example of Pak-China friendship. The flagship project of CPEC Rasakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) would boost industrial activities and create employment opportunities in the province.

According to data available with this scribe, the four road infrastructures, one industrial zone, and one education project have already been included in the portfolio. PTI flagship project Rasakai SEZ has been placed at the top of the agenda which has already been inaugurated by the prime minister.

Rasakai SEZ will boost industrial activities and create employment opportunities in the province. The second project is the 214km CPEC western route Gilgit, Shandur-Chitral-Chakdara-M1. This will further improve the road connectivity between Pakistan and China.

Similarly, two other road infrastructure projects included in the upcoming JCC are 30km Dir-Chakdara Motorway and Mirpur-Muzaffarabad-Mansehra road.

Another important transport infrastructure project is Peshawar-DI Khan Motorway, also known as the Western Route of CPEC. Pak-Austria Fachhochschule Institute at Haripur is also a part of Friday’s JCC meeting.

The KP government has requested the CPEC Authority chairman to include at least nine additional projects.

These projects include.........................

the construction of a 500KV transmission line 225km Chitral to Chakdara with 2 grid stations, Swat Expressway from Chakdara to Fatehpur Phase II,
Chashma Right Bank Canal (CRBC),
Darband Special Economic Zone DI Khan (as a replacement to Mohmand Marble city),
Toren More Kari HPP,
Jameshil Toren More HPP,
Tank Zam Dam, Kumrat Cable Car,
and construction/blacktopping/widening/improvement of Mastuj Broghal Pass road, District Upper Chitral.
Cabinet committee on CPEC reviews progres on various projects

August 13, 2021

During a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on CPEC (CCoCPEC) held under the Chairmanship of Federal Minister for Planning development and special initiatives Asad Umar, the progress on various projects related to Industrial Cooperation, Energy, Infrastructure and Gwadar Port Marketing Plan was reviewed.

The committee approved the summary presented by Power Division for the acceleration of power supply to Gwadar and allowed NTDC to change its executing agency to expedite the work and to ensure that the project gets completed by March 2023. Moreover, the committee also gave go-ahead to Power Division for exploring options for import of additional power supply from Iran. The Chairperson of the Committee directed that dedicated power supply for Gwadar Industrial Zone must be ensured.
CPEC enhancing trade, economic development of Pakistan: Spokesperson Wang Wenbin

September 9, 2021

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) being an important priority project in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has strongly promoted economic and social development in Pakistan and also played an active role in regional connectivity.

This was stated by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin in a press briefing on Tuesday, saying: “The CPEC is an important priority project in BRI. Since inception, it has made progress in many areas including energy.”

He emphasised that the BRI started from China but its opportunities and outcomes benefited the whole world.

“So far, there are 140 partner countries that have signed cooperative documents and BRI has already become the largest international cooperation platform benefiting the largest scale in the world,” he added.

The spokesperson said that China is ready to work with different countries including Pakistan to build high quality BRI to deliver more benefits and share more dividends.

The first CPEC project in the power evacuation and transmission sector, the 660kV High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Matiari-Lahore transmission line, started commercial operations on Wednesday last on its scheduled date.

The flagship HVDC line project achieved its commercial operation date (COD) successfully as per the timeline agreed between the NTDC and Pak Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line Company (PMLTC). Prior to its COD, eight power tests on different voltage levels were performed successfully.

The 878-kilometre 4,000MW project has been completed by PMLTC (Pvt) Limited on Build-Own-Operate-Transfer basis for 25 years.

The project will evacuate power from the new generating units located in the south, including Thar coal projects. —TLTP
Chinese investors to take advantage of investment friendly policies under CPEC

September 12, 2021

NANNING: Pakistan Ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque on Saturday invited the leading Chinese entrepreneurs to come and take advantage of a conducive and investment-friendly environment and a number of incentives offered by the government in Pakistan.

“A number of ongoing and planned projects being completed under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) provide tremendous investment opportunities for the Chinese companies,” he made these remarks while addressing the participants of the China-Pakistan Trade and Business Forum held on the sidelines of China-ASEAN Expo being held in Nanning, China’s Guangxi Region.

Ambassador Haque said that China is the largest source of foreign direct investment and the multi-billion dollar CPEC, a flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative is moving smoothly and transforming the socio-economic landscape of Pakistan. “After the up-gradation of infrastructure, transportation, and energy project during the first phase of the CPEC, our focus is now on the industrialization, science and technology, socio-economic development and poverty alleviation, etc,” he added.

There are vast investment opportunities in the special economic zones being developed under the CPEC, out of which three have already been developed. Ambassador Haque said that the present government has decided to shift its focus to geo-economics making Pakistan a hub of economic activities and regional connectivity.

Sharing certain unique aspects about Pakistan, he said that Pakistan’s geographical location, growth potential, and conducive policies offered by the government make it an attractive destination for the overseas investment, especially for Chinese enterprises. He said that Pakistan shares borders with China and the country is at the crossroads of South Asian, Central Asian and Western nations, and has the potential to act as bridge.

Pakistan has 220 million people, fast-growing middle class and 60% of its young population offers good prospects.
Pakistan is rich in natural resources such as gold, marble, gemstones, copper, chromite, gold, and vast and it has also untapped reservoirs of oil and gas.

Ambassador Haque informed the businessmen that Pakistan has a strong agricultural base and fertile land and is among the top 10 countries particularly in the production of cotton, sugar cane, rice, and wheat.

With investments from China in the agriculture sector, it can become a very important source of food supplier to the Chinese market.

He said that the present government offers very attractive and liberalized policies for foreign investors and also allows them to export their goods to other countries as well. About the business and investment forum, he said that it has been organized as part of the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China. Ambassador Haque also expressed gratitude to the Chinese side for inviting Pakistan as a special partner country to the China-ASEAN Expo for the second time.

He said that Pakistan Pavilion set up in the exhibition area of the expo would lead to further expand trade and business cooperation between Pakistan, China and other ASEAN countries. Regarding Pakistan- China trade, he said that it has register rapid growth. Today, China is Pakistan’s largest trading partner. Last year, with the launch of the second phase of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement, various goods from the two countries have access to each other’s market.

In the first half of this year, Pakistan’s exports to China increased by 88%, while our bilateral trade with Gunagxi region increased by 50% as compared to last year, and exports to Guangxi also increased by 350 percent, he added. Speaking on the occasion, Vice Governor of Guangxi Autonomous Region, Liu Hongwu said that Pakistan and China have long history of relations and friendship.

Both countries helped each other in the time of need. He said that high-quality China Pakistan Economic Corridor is a unique example of economic cooperation between the two countries.

The vice governor offered cooperation in field of agriculture, science and technology, education, and people-to-people exchanges. He expressed the confidence that China-ASEAN Expo would provide more opportunities to Pakistan enterprises to enter into Chinese and ASEAN countries markets. Vice-Minister of Commerce of China, Ren Hongbin said that the friendship between Pakistan and China is time-tested and has been growing with the passage of time.

He mentioned Pakistan’s support to China in different times and said Pakistan recognized the new China in early years and helped China during natural calamities particularly the earthquakes. China is the largest trading partner of Pakisan and has made investment in Pakistan’s different mega projects such as Gwadar Port, Peshawar-Karachi Motorway, Orange Line and Karakuram Highway project etc which have injected a new impetus to relationship between the two countries.

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Nong Rong sent a video message to the forum and hoped that Chinese enterpirse would make a good use of the CAEXPO platform and strengthen coopeation, unleash the potential and promote development of economic and trade cooperation between China and Pakistan in a deep and wide ranging way. Syed Hamid Ali, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce addressed the audience via video link.

Chairman of China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Co Ltd Lv Zexiang and Deputy President of China Road and Bridge Cooperation, Ye Chengyin shared their experiences during implementation of the different development projects under the CPEC framework in Pakistan.

A signing ceremony of MoU on Friendly Cooperation with the CAEXPO Supporting Chamber of Commerce of Special Partner Country and Agreement on Pakistan Pavilion of the China-ASEAN Mercantile Exchange was held via video link. A video on achievements in bilateral cooperation between the two countries over the past seven decades was also screened.
$3.2 Billion Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone (KCCDZ) included under the #China-#Pakistan Economic Corridor framework.


A monumental decision was taken during the 10th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on CPEC, held on 23rd September 2021 at Islamabad and Beijing. The two countries agreed to include Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone (KCCDZ) under the CPEC framework.

KCCDZ, an initiative of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs focuses on providing Karachi with an ultra modern urban infrastructure zone, placing Karachi amongst the top port cities of the world.

In a first of its kind even for CPEC, the planned multibillion dollar mega KCCDZ project will be built on direct Chinese investment in partnership with Karachi Port Trust (KPT). The quantum of expected investment is around USD 3.5 billion.

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