Rashakai to be KP’s first Special Economic Zone under CPEC

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China are on one page to give preference to the construction of Rashakai as priority Special Economic Zone in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province which would be first of its kind economic zone under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in KP and measures are being taken to ensure speedy construction of the special economic zone.

Ministry of Planning, Development & Reform Spokesperson Asim Khan told Pakistan Today that the false propaganda that China prefers Hattar over Rashakai as priority Special Economic Zone is absolutely untrue and the speculations in this regard are out of context and one-sided, in addition, these seem as part of the move to light up a baseless controversy.

“The Rashaki Economic Zone site has been identified by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government as priority location, approved for inclusion in CPEC by 6th Joint Cooperation Committee held on Dec 29, 2016, at Beijing, China. The zone site has been preferred by the KP government due to its location on M1-Peshawar to Karachi Motorway which under CPEC Transport Plan and is part of Western and Eastern, both the corridors,” he said.

Khan added that the impression that Rashakai falls on Western Route is incorrect. When asked, Asim Khan admitted that China wanted to promote Hattar as it falls on Eastern Corridor. “Basically, Hattar falls on the northern alignment of the CPEC, passing through KP northern region,” he said and added that federal government insisted on Rashakai economic zone as it was a priority project identified by the KP government.

“In fact, in 7th JCC held in Islamabad on November 21, 2017, the Pakistan side expressed that Rashakai SEZ is its preference in KP. The Chinese expert group noted that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa pays high attention to the development of Special Economic Zones SEZs and has especially done abundant work in Rashakai SEZ,” he said.

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Khan added that it was suggested to make full use of the positivity of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to promote the construction of Rashakai SEZ at the earliest.

Asim Khan stated that feasibility study of Rashakai SEZ had already been shared with Chinese side for further processing of the joint experts’ groups. In such a situation, raising the question on the priority SEZs list which has been already agreed upon is a baseless discussion.

Asim Khan further clarified that the main project of the Western route; Hakla to Dera Ismail Khan 285 km Motorway is planned to be completed till the end of 2018, much ahead of Eastern Route Multan-Sukkur Motorway project.

“Western Route is already operational and construction of Hakla Dera Ismail Khan Motorway would further decrease its length, linking Dera Ismail Khan directly to the northern alignment of CPEC,” he concluded.

Source: Pakistan Today, 12th Dec 2017.

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