NEWS COVERAGE PERIOD FROM MARCH 23RD TO MARCH 29TH, 2020
PM TERMS CPEC PROJECTS VITAL TO PAK UPLIFT
March 25, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday was informed that out of total 22 projects in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), nine had been already commissioned, who underlined the need for fast-paced implementation of the same.
Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a briefing on status review of CPEC Energy Projects here. The briefing was attended by Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan, SAPM for Petroleum Nadeem Babar, Chairman, CPEC Authority Lt. Gen. (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa, secretaries of Power, Petroleum & Planning divisions, chairperson FBR, Chief Secretary AJ&K and senior officials.
Chief Secretary Punjab was also available through video link.
Speaking on the occasion, the prime minister said that CPEC projects were vital to the development of Pakistan and these projects would provide huge opportunities in terms of employment, communication and economic prosperity.
The prime minister highlighted that Pakistan enjoys extreme good-will with China that has been proven time and again during emergent situations. He maintained that the fast-pace implementation was in the interest of the country. He emphasised that timely decisions were required so that cost-escalation on these projects was avoided.
Earlier, Chairman, CPEC Authority Lt. Gen. (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa briefed the meeting about progress on CPEC projects. During the briefing, he apprised that there were a total of 22 projects in the CPEC’s energy portfolio, among which 9 have already been commissioned.
Detailed briefing was provided on energy sector projects including Kohala Hydropower Project, Azad Patan Hydropower Project, Gwadar Power project, power projects in Thar and Karot Hydropower Project.
NEWS COVERAGE PERIOD FROM MARCH 16 TO MARCH 22nd, 2020
PAKISTAN’S PROGRESS LINKED TO CPEC: QURESHI
By RECORDER REPORT on March 18, 2020
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the leadership of Pakistan and China are committed to materialize the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.
Talking to media in Beijing on Tuesday, he said Pakistan’s development is linked to CPEC, and this mega project will benefit the entire region.
The minister said the two countries have been continuing their cooperation in all fields, including economy, trade, poverty alleviation, infrastructure development, Afghan peace process and regional peace and stability.
He said China’s support to Pakistan’s stance on the situation in occupied Kashmir signify how deep the two countries’ relations are.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan and China have exemplary bilateral relations, and the two countries have to see how they utilize this excellent political relationship for betterment of the region; how Pakistan can enhance per acre yield of its agricultural land; and how Pakistan can promote its industry and infrastructure.
The Foreign Minister said China always stood by Pakistan in all odd times. He said now China has been passing through a difficult time in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak. He said we have arrived in China to express solidarity with China on behalf of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and the people.
He said China has dealt with Coronavirus in the best possible way, and now the country has overcome the challenge. He said today only twenty-one cases have been reported across China, which is a big success.
Copyright News Network International, 2020
IMPACT OF COVID-19: CPEC PROJECTS TO BE COMPLETED IN TIME: FO
By ALI HUSSAIN on March 20, 2020
The Foreign Office on Thursday expressed the confidence that Pakistan would be able to complete the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in time, and would counterbalance “short-term” impact by coronavirus outbreak.
Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui, while responding to media queries sent to her via e-mail for the weekly media briefing due to Covid-19 outbreak, said that the CPEC comprises long-term projects whose completion, in many cases, was spread over years.
“We are quite confident that we will be able to complete the CPEC projects in time, and going forward, the short-term impact by the spread of Covid-19 will be counterbalanced by effective and swift mobilisation of resources for timely completion of the CPEC,” she said.
Referring to the situations in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the reported cases of coronavirus from the occupied valley, Farooqui said that Pakistan condemned the inhuman and brutal repression of the people of the IOJK by India security forces.
“We call upon the Indian government to lift the communication blackout, especially in view of the outbreak of Covid-19 and reported cases of affected people in IOJK. Pakistan urges India to lift the blockade in the region in order to obtain full information on affected people and provision of essential items and medical supplies to the affected people,” she said.
To a question whether China offered any help to deal with coronavirus during the recent visit of President Dr Arif Alvi, she said that Pakistan and China have always stood by each other particularly in challenging times. During the recent visit of President Dr Arif Alvi, she said that letters of exchange were signed between the two countries, which aim at building capacity and address the challenges posed by Covid-19 in Pakistan.
To another query, Farooqui said that as of now, visa services had not been suspended by any Pakistani missions abroad. All missions are providing essential consular services to overseas Pakistanis, she said, adding that our community members have been advised to obtain consular services through online mechanisms and to try and avoid all non-essential travel, and visit the embassies/consulates only in emergency situations after obtaining appointment.
In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, she said that the government and all departments at the federal level and in all the provinces are undertaking a series of measures to prevent and contain its spread. It is a rapidly evolving situation, she said, adding that the government and all stakeholders were monitoring, evaluating and coordinating all mechanisms and systems to ensure safety of the citizens.
She said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had also established a Crisis Management Unit for coordination on Covid-19 under the supervision of Special Secretary (Administration) to liaise with the diplomatic corps in Pakistan as well as with Pakistan’s missions abroad and their respective outreach to our diaspora communities worldwide.
Farooqui said that Pakistan embassies and consulates had established 24/7 hotlines and nominated focal persons to facilitate our overseas communities in their respective countries.
All these contacts details are available on our social media platforms and on the website of the ministry, she added. “We advise our diaspora communities to exercise caution and personal responsibility for their personal health as well as of those in their family and communities in line with the advisories of local authorities wherever they may be,” she said.
The spokesperson also advised Pakistani community members abroad to avoid all non- essential travel as well as avoid public places and points of congregation and practice “social distancing” in a responsible manner for their own safety, and the safety of all around.
To another question, she said that Italy was home to about 150,000 Pakistani nationals, concentrated mostly in the north of Italy (Lombardy region with its capital as Milan). Farooqui said that Pakistan embassy in Rome and the consulate general in Milan were in constant contact with the Pakistani community.
“Our embassy and consulate general are also coordinating with educational institutes where Pakistani students (1,500-2,000) are studying. So far, we know about the unfortunate death of one Pakistani origin person who lived near Milan, Mr Imtiaz Ahmed,” she added. Responding to another query, she said that Pakistan had always supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
“We hope after the peace agreement in Doha on 29 February 2020 all sides will move towards intra-Afghan negotiations to establish long-lasting peace in Afghanistan,” she added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020
PAKISTAN RULES OUT VIRAL OUTBREAK DELAYING CPEC
By Kamran Yousaf Published: March 20, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan does not see the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has had a devastating impact on the global economy, delaying the projects under the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“CPEC comprises long-term projects whose completion, in many cases, is spread over years,” Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said at her weekly briefing on Thursday.
“We are quite confident that we will be able to complete the CPEC projects in time and, going forward, the short-term impact by the spread of COVID-19 will be counterbalanced by effective and swift mobilisation of resources,” she added.
CPEC is a flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that envisages linking the economies of over 65 countries through a network of roads and rail links.
The second phase of CPEC is scheduled to kick off when President Xi will visit Pakistan sometime this year. However, it is not clear if the visit will go ahead as planned because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The number of coronavirus cases around the globe has recorded an exponential growth over the past few days. The cases are also increasing in Pakistan as authorities have started conducting tests of more suspected patients.
The sudden spike in cases in the country has prompted authorities to take a raft of measures to contain the pandemic.
Authorities are urging citizens to limit their movement and avoid social contact.
As part of these measures, the spokesperson held the briefing through a video link and answered questions sent by journalists.
When asked if Pakistan had formally requested China for help in dealing with the coronavirus crisis, Aisha noted that the two countries had always stood by each other, particularly in challenging times.
“During President Dr Arif Alvi’s recent visit [to China], letters of exchange were signed between the two countries aimed at building capacity and addressing the challenges posed by COVID-19 in Pakistan,” she added.
After the coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, thousands were infected there within a span of a few weeks. Beijing had to put in place draconian measures such as locking down the entire city for over a month.
The steps helped Chinese authorities in preventing the virus from spreading to other parts of the country. On Thursday, Beijing said that no locally transmitted case was reported from mainland China, raising hopes that the pandemic could be controlled with effective measures.
The spokesperson said in view of the global outbreak, the federal and provincial governments were taking a series of measures to contain the spread of the disease in the country.
“It is a rapidly evolving situation. The government and all stakeholders are monitoring, evaluating and coordinating all mechanisms and systems to ensure safety of the citizens.”
The spokesperson said the foreign affairs ministry had decided to take precautionary measures against any potential public exposure and therefore suspended all walk-in consular services except for the attestation of power of attorney.
“Attestation of documents can be carried out through courier companies during this period. Walk-in consular services would remain suspended from March 18 till April 3 and be reviewed subsequently,” she elaborated.
“The ministry has also established a crisis management unit for coordination on COVID-19 under the supervision of the special secretary (administration) to liaise with the diplomatic corps in Pakistan as well as with our missions abroad and their respective outreach to our diaspora communities worldwide. Hotline numbers of the crisis management unit have been shared on our website.”
The spokesperson further said Pakistani embassies and consulates had set up 24/7 hotlines.
“We have also nominated focal persons to facilitate the Pakistani overseas communities in their respective countries. All these contact details are available on our social media platforms and on the website of the ministry,” she added.
“We advise our diaspora communities to exercise caution and personal responsibility for their personal health as well as of those in their family and communities in line with the advisories of local authorities wherever they may be.”
The spokesperson also advised Pakistani community members abroad to avoid all non-essential travel as well as avoid public places and points of congregation and practice social distancing in a responsible manner for their own safety and the safety of all around.
“The role of the media in building public awareness on safety and precaution during this difficult time is crucial and deeply valued. This challenge can only be tackled through collective action. Thank you for your support.”
To a question, Aisha said Italy was home to about 150,000 Pakistani nationals, concentrated mostly in the North of Italy (Lombardy region with its capital as Milan).
“Our embassy in Rome and consulate general in Milan are in constant contact with the Pakistani community. The embassy as well as the consulate general had set up 24/7 helplines to provide services and information to the community at the start of the outbreak.”
She said the Pakistani embassy in Rome and consulate general in Milan were also coordinating with educational institutions where Pakistani students (around 1,500-2,000) were studying.
“So far we know about the unfortunate death of one Pakistani origin person who lived near Milan, Mr Imtiaz Ahmed,” she added.
NEWS COVERAGE PERIOD FROM MARCH 09 TO MARCH 15, 2020
REPORT ON ‘CPEC IN AJK’ LAUNCHED AT ISSI
By RECORDER REPORT on March 11, 2020
“CPEC projects will unleash opportunities for socio-economic development for people of Azad Jammu & Kashmir. Government of AJ&K is making all efforts to ensure that CPEC projects in the region are implemented without any delays,” stated Raja Farooq Haider, Prime Minister of Azad Jammu & Kashmir at the report launch event at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).
China-Pakistan Study Centre (CPSC) at ISSI in collaboration with Center for Peace, Development & Reforms (CPDR) organized Launch of a Report titled “CPEC in Azad Jammu & Kashmir: A Gateway to Regional Connectivity & Beyond” on March 10, 2020. Authored by Sabur Ali Sayyed and published by CPDR, the report provides a comprehensive overview of the CPEC projects in AJ&K, including Karot and Kohala hydropower projects, construction of M4 motorway, and a Special economic Zone at Mirpur.
Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General ISSI, in his remarks underlined that economic development of AJK region is a priority for Pakistan despite various challenge. Timely completion of CPEC projects will lead to enhanced connectivity and socio-economic development in AJK.
Sabur Ali Sayyid, author of the report highlighted key takeaways from his research. He provided overview of the on-going CPEC projects in the AJK region. He recommended that now focus should be on advocacy of CPEC, non-politicisation, and addressing concerns of local communities related to the projects.
Prime Minister Haider highlighted key socio-development indicators of the AJK region and the work being undertaken by the government to improve education standard and provision of quality health-care in the region. He noted that CPEC will supplement AJK’s socio-economic development as tremendous human capital of AJK is its biggest asset.
Zulfiqar Abbasi, President CPDr, Dr. Syed Asif Hussain, Additional Chief Secretary Government of AJ&K, and M Hasan Daud Butt, Chief Executive KP Board of Investment & Trade reviewed the report and shared their thoughts. Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman Board of Governors ISSI, also reiterated importance of CPEC for socio-economic development of AJK and Pakistan while delivering vote of thanks.-PR
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020
‘CPEC RAISES ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF BALOCHISTAN’
By Our Correspondent Published: March 11, 2020
QUETTA: Provincial Minister for Public Health Engineering (PHE) and Water and Sanitation Authority (WASA) Noor Mohammad Dummar on Monday said that Balochistan was on development track as the economic importance of the province has been increased after Chinese investment.
He was speaking to an inauguration ceremony of a 132kv grid station and a sports stadium in Ziarat.
Stressing on the schemes throughout the constituency, the minister said, “I have initiated development projects for all parts of the constituency to provide relief to the public.”
He added that the government of Balochistan was working on fostering sports activities along with development schemes throughout the province to assure healthy activities for the youth.
“The new stadium will facilitate youth of Ziarat in enhancing sports skills and give them opportunities to perform at local, national and international level,” said the provincial minister.
Dummar emphasised on importance of Balochistan for economic activities as the province hold major projects of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“Future of Pakistan lies with Balochistan because of multiple economic opportunities surfaced after peace has restored in the province,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2020.
CPEC IS STRATEGIC ALLIANCE BETWEEN NATIONS: AJK PM
APP March 11, 2020
MIRPUR: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider on Tuesday said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a strategic alliance between two nations along with a development initiative.
He was talking to a launching ceremony of a report titled ‘CPEC in Azad Kashmir’ produced by Center for Peace Development where he was invited as a chief guest, according to an official handout issued.
The report was prepared under the Institute of Strategic Studies in the federal capital.
Highlighting the AJK inclusion in CPEC, the prime minister said, “The mega project will bring economic revolution in the state as China has always been a supportive friend of Pakistan.”
The prime minister emphasized on importance of infrastructure and education for sustainable development.
“AJK government has brought reforms in the two basic sectors leading to development across the state as we aim to convert the territory into a tourist centre,” said the prime minister.
The AJK PM assured timely completion of development projects at Neelum, Jehlum and Mangla and apprised that work on Kohalla Power Project would start soon.
Haider stressed on bond between people of Pakistan and Kashmir and termed it responsibility of the AJK government to strengthen relations between the two nations. Between to the Kashmir issue, the prime minister said that Occupied Kashmir was a matter of self determination to the people of Kashmiris and not just a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan.
“Practical steps are required on the longstanding dispute of Indian Occupied Kashmir as relatives of maryred look towards Pakistan for resolution of the issue,” said the AJK prime minister.
He drew attention of the audience towards the development and reform policies of the incumbent government , adding that basic infrastructure of the state has been upgraded.
“The government has maintained an effective financial discipline resulting into surplus administrative budget,” said the prime minister.
Earlier, Development Department Additional Chief Secretary Dr Asif Hussain briefed the participants about the progress on CPEC projects in Azad Kashmir. Ambassador Khalid Mehmood, Aizaz Ahmed, Zulfiqar Abbasi, Talat Shabbir and others also addressed the ceremony.
CORONAVIRUS NOT TO AFFECT CPEC: SHEIKH RASHID
Our Correspondent March 15, 2020
LAHORE: Coronavirus would never affect the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Main Line (ML-1) project would continue according to the schedule, said Minister for Pakistan Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed at the Pakistan Railways Headquarters here on Saturday.
He offered eight railway hospitals and 36 dispensaries to the Health Department for setting up isolation wards for affected patients of coronavirus. Addressing a press conference at the PR headquarters, he said that the railways had taken precautionary measures against coronavirus and all divisions have been directed to ensure cleanliness at all railway stations.
The minister said the nation should not be afraid and panic should not be spread as the religion also does not allow to do so and precautionary measures should be adopted.
Commenting on the political leadership of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the minister said these parties have lost their position in national politics. He said PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz is just demanding ouster from the country.
However, he said no train is being closed and all 134 trains will remain operational to facilitate passengers. He said few cases of coronavirus have been registered in the country and all these cases have history of recent traveling from other countries. He said three trains Lasani Express (running between Lahore and Sialkot via Narowal), Jinnah Express (running between Lahore and Karachi) and Fareed Express (running between Lahore and Karachi) are being outsourced, whereas, seven more passenger trains would be outsourced in phases. “Six freight trains will also be given to private firms,” he said, adding that those trains would be privatized, which are running in deficit.
To a question, he said the Pakistan Railways earned Rs400 to Rs500 million more than that of the previous year.