China has proven to be the most trusted friend of Pakistan. In April 2015, the historic visit of Xi Jinping to Pakistan took place and 46 billion worth of contract was signed that brought a new identity and new image to Pakistan. Before 2015, Western Media used to call Pakistan a safe Heaven for terrorists but after Xi Jinping visit to Pakistan the same media used to call Pakistan a safe Heaven for billions of dollars of Chineses investment. The first phase of CPEC was primarily targeted at the Pakistan’s immediate problems. Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing termed the launching of the CPEC long term plan LTP an historic landmark in Pak-China friendship. The CPEC Long Term Plan LTP was approved by the 7th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) . This plan is effective till 2030. This plan has been divided into three phases: The short-term projects will be completed by 2020, medium-term by 2025, and long-term by 2030.
The implementation of CPEC Long Term Plan LTP will take place in three phases, with clear goals. In the first phase, that is by 2020 the major bottlenecks in Pakistan’s socio-economic development will be completely addressed and CPEC shall start to boost the economic growth along it for both countries. The second phase will be done by 2025, all the infrastructure of CPEC will be ready and all industrial projects will have been completed. As a result, CPEC will have a major impact on the livelihoods of people living along the corridor. The goals of Vision 2025 will be achieved and there will be more balanced regional economic development. The third phase of the CPEC long Term Plan LTP will mature by 2030. The endogenous mechanisms for indigenous inclusive and sustainable economic growth will be in place in Pakistan. As per the LTP: “CPEC’s role in stimulating economic growth in Central Asia and South Asia will be brought into holistic play, and South Asia shall grow into an international economic zone with global influence”.
The CPEC long term plan touched upon all important sectors of the economy that included connectivity with road and rail infrastructure, information network, energy, trade, industrial parks, agriculture, poverty alleviation, and tourism with a focus on maritime tourism across the Keti-Bander-Karachi, Sonmiani-Ormara, Jhal Jhao, Gwadar, Gadani, and Jiwani routes. Modernization of industry will be main component of the LTP that would convert Pakistan into industrialised country at par with other developed countries. Some milestones will be attained by 2025. The LTP will modernise agriculture as new agro-based technologies, seeds, and irrigation mechanism will be introduced. The LTP thrust on the economic development across the country, which falls within the “Pakistan’s Vision of 2025” on which this Government has been working hard.
Connectivity is the cornerstone of development. It increases the flow of goods, information and people across regions. That is why an integrated transport system is central to the LTP. It includes the construction and development of Kashgar-Islamabad, Peshawar-Islamabad-Karachi, D I Khan-Hakla, Sukkur-Gwadar Port and Dera Ismail Khan-Quetta-Sohrab-Gwadar road infrastructure to improve inter/intra-connectivity in Pakistan and China. The development of Gwadar Port city, Gwadar airport and Easy Bay expressway are going to transform the city of Gwadar into a maritime trade hub and a new smart port city of the region. It will also lead to the industrialisation of Balochistan.
Information technology is critical for development. In this regard, we have laid a cross-border optical fibre cable between Pakistan and China, and agreed to cooperate in promoting technologies of the fourth industrial revolution in Pakistan.
In the energy sector, both countries will enhance cooperation in the fields of oil and gas, electricity and power grids. The focus is on thermal power, hydropower, coal gasification and renewable power generation and modernising power transmission networks. CPEC has already addressed the major energy bottleneck in Pakistan. Almost over half of the 10,000 MW energy added recently to the national grid comes from CPEC.
To build the industrial base of the country, new industrial parks/ special economic zones (SEZs) will be built all over the country. Both countries will cooperate to improve efficiency in the textile and garment industries, both of which are the backbone of Pakistan’s export sector. Engineering-based industries will also be developed in Pakistan.