ISLAMABAD/BEIJING – China has planned to launch a Mass Transit Rail network in Pakistan, connecting all four provinces – Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
On Thursday, Federal Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal informed a meeting of Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Beijing that work on 300-megawatts electricity project in Gwadar will start soon. “The CPEC projects will raise the standard of living in Balochistan,” he added.
Earlier this year, China had agreed to provide $5.5 billion in a concessionary loan for the expansion and renovation of Pakistan’s main rail link that connects north to south as part of its investment under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Of the total cost of roughly $8 billion for the ML-I (Peshawar-Karachi) railway project, China agreed to provide $5.5 billion at an interest rate of less than 2 per cent.
After Beijing’s decision to extend the $5.5-billion loan, the total cost of CPEC projects being funded by China either partially or fully will increase to $50 billion.
Pakistan is a central part of China’s transition from a regional to global power. In its vast network of ports, pipelines, roads and railways, Pakistan and its strategic deep-sea port of Gwadar serve as a staging post for China’s economic rise as a global player. The port will extend China’s reach from the Indian Ocean to a number of regions.