Posts

PM to visit China next week to ‘revive’ stalled CPEC projects

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will pay an official visit to China on Oct 7-8 with the main agenda of ‘revival’ of stalled China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.

“Removal of all bottlenecks in CPEC projects and their timely completion is the top priority of the government,” the prime minister reiterated while chairing a meeting on the economic corridor on Wednesday. He said he would soon visit China and meet its leadership to strengthen friendship between the two countries.

It has been learnt that most of CPEC-related projects have stalled due to certain reasons, including prevailing financial crunch confronting the government and ‘non-cooperation’ of the bureaucracy due to ‘fear of the National Accountability Bureau’.

Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar apprised the meeting about CPEC-related projects and the progress so far made on it.

Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed briefed the meeting on Main Line-1 (ML-1) projects being executed to lay a new railway track from Karachi to Peshawar under the umbrella of the CPEC.

Speaking at a prize distribution ceremony for seminary students, Imran says uniform curriculum to be introduced by March next year

Education

Addressing a prize distribution ceremony for madressah students who had performed distinctively in the examinations of contemporary education boards and seminaries, the PM said the government’s plan to introduce uniform curriculum in the country would be implemented by March next year so that all graduates could have equal opportunities to grow in their practical life.

“The graduates of the new education system will have understanding of religion, contemporary knowledge and science and technology.”

He said the government planned to synchronise the entire education system to create social harmony in the country, adding that reforms were being introduced in the education system which would help uplift the lower section of the society with the provision of equal opportunities to progress.

Highlighting the plight of the Kashmiris, the PM said eight million people had been locked in an open jail that Occupied Kashmir had become for two months.

At present, Prime Minister Khan said, three education systems were in vogue in Pakistan, which was leading to injustices and divisions in the society. “The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had decided in its early days that the students of seminaries will be imparted contemporary modern education so that they too can get important positions in different professions,” he added.

Underlining importance of education, the prime minister said Islam laid special emphasis on education and that the “Muslims had ruled the world for 700 years not because of sword but education”. “Muslims are weak today mainly due to lack of education,” he deplored.

Speaking on the occasion, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said a uniform curriculum was being prepared for government-run and private schools as well as madressahs.

He said measures were also being taken to ensure that students of seminaries took examinations of contemporary education boards, and this process would hopefully be completed in three to four years.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2019

,

Largest transportation infrastructure under CPEC completed

ISLAMABAD, July 24 (Xinhua) — The construction of the 392-km Sukkur-Multan Motorway under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been completed after the National Highway Authority (NHA) on Tuesday presented a substantial completion certification to the constructor China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).

The motorway, which is known as M5 in Pakistan, is a part of the country’s Peshawar-Karachi Motorway and was completed two weeks ahead of contract due date. The M5 was designed for speeds of up to 120 km/h with a total investment of around 2.89 billion U.S. dollars.

NHA M5 General Manager Muhammad Naseem Arif said during a ceremony held in Multan that the motorway is very impressive in terms of it’s quality and construction process, adding that the authority closely worked with the CSCEC and overcame a number of difficulties so that they could complete the great project within three years.

Li Ganchun, chief of the M5 project from the CSCEC, appreciated the security provided by the Pakistani side, saying that the M5 will help Pakistan connect it’s north and south, improve the country’s transportation situation and facilitate social-economic development in the region along the motorway.

According to the CSCEC, the M5 project had created some 29,000 jobs for the locals during the construction. The Chinese constructor also built schools, roads, bridges, wells and water channel for the locals to make their lives more convenient.

,

CPEC: Awakening the Giant

Only a drop is needed to make barren fields fertile. One such corroboration is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that, despite all odds, is becoming a reality. Since its dawn, it was unnecessarily criticised for its nature and has been inculpated to have shady dealings. Yet, it has stood firm in its certitude.

Roll back to the days when Pakistan was not only unsafe for investments but also accused to be a safe haven for harvesting and fostering violent activities. From the economy to the social strata, all was desolated and no less than a barren piece of land that lacked any productive capacities. However, fast forward to April 2014, China kept its promises and proved that Pakistan-China friendship could weather all.

When no one was willing to even support Pakistan’s stance, China came up with the investment. Since then, these investments, commonly known by the umbrella term CPEC, are proving to be that much-needed drop, which is fertilising the obscured potential in Pakistan.

Today, no one can deny the fact that although Chinese would bag massive benefits from the CPEC, it still has a lot to provide Pakistan.

he CPEC is unveiling itself as a blessing in disguise. Just as the slow but persistent can lead to triumph, the gradual progress has brought a lot of eyes to Pakistan, which is fast becoming the pivot of attention in the region. Since the very beginning of the CPEC, it has procured a great deal of investment for Pakistan whether it be the Saudis or the comrades in Russia. Everyone seems intrigued by the thriving development on the lands of Pakistan.

The world has always acknowledged the geo-strategic importance of Pakistan. However, with CPEC, it is being highlighted even more. The CPEC is comprehensive and substantive cooperation between China and Pakistan, which has the potential to unfold flairs of development in Pakistan.

The drop of CPEC aided the social and economic segment of Pakistan to bear fruits in the form of various projects. These fruits, upon their ripening, would bring holistic benefits for Pakistan. In other words, these perks would not be restricted to specific parts or provinces of Pakistan but the whole country, including each segment of society, would be benefited.

One key aspect of CPEC is its connectivity and integration. It is not only inter-connective but also intra-connective, which reflects it would connect provinces with each other as well as cities within these provinces with each other. From the gateway to the Arabian Sea, the road network climbs up to the peaks of Karakoram.

The CPEC not only covers a route of 2700 kilometres, its aura shadows all. Moreover, CPEC’s development in the western part of Pakistan, including Gwadar port, would create a favourable environment for doing business, which would ultimately attract the investors from across the globe to the much-deprived province, Balochistan.

From the railway network to road infrastructure, the CPEC covers all basic contours required to uplift the socio-economic fabric of Pakistan. The systematic development and organized. structure makes it a progressive project

Locations for the development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are chosen in a certain fashion, which would benefit not only each province but also parts like Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. In these SEZs, industries would be established to further contribute to the economics of Pakistan.

Pakistan has fought a decade-long skirmish with terrorism, which, most of the time, has forced Pakistan to direct its state potential to security, thus, neglecting other sectors of the society. Pakistan’s economy was getting ravaged by this fact. When Pakistan’s potential and productivity was wizened by the security concerns, China stood with Pakistan and supplied what was required. China trusted Pakistan when no one else was willing to even bat an eye on Pakistan.

For both countries, CPEC has a lot to give. China would get easy and secure access to the market for its products whereas the giant within Pakistan has just awakened. Nonetheless, it still needs true and upright conviction and intellect from the Pakistani side to fully manoeuvre CPEC in its favour and ascend from the ashes. Also, if Pakistan extracts maximum benefits out of CPEC, it would become a centre of global economic attention.

The writer is a research associate at the Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR)

Source: Daily Times
Date: July 7, 2019
Author: Syed Nasir Hassan

CPEC: External violence and internal opposition

Chinese leadership is keen to develop Gwadar as fast as circumstances will allow. For them, the ultimate objective is to reinforce partnership with Pakistan through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), of which Gwadar is the inalienable symbol. We are here for the long-term friendship and not for commercial profits. This is the resounding and reassuring message out of Beijing.

The fact that Pakistan received a $2 billion soft loan even during the eight-week caretaker government testifies to the “unwavering” Chinese commitment to this “special friend,” goes the argument in Beijing.

But, and this is a ‘big’ but; for realising the objectives in a fast changing geo-strategic environment, we expect Pakistan to act fast and coherently. If anti-CPEC bureaucrats and politicians continue to treat CPEC with their obsolete Planning Commission regime, and thereby stall implementation, how can we move forward? This concern, despite the high-profile April visit by Prime Minister Imran Khan, is ringing through circles that are the eyes and ears for President Xi Jinping and his close cohorts.

A case in point is the proposed 300MW power plant for the entire Gwadar town and its free industrial zone. Following foot-dragging either by the provincial government or the powers that be on providing free land for the project, Power China, the company supposed to construct the plant, has finally leased the land apparently at twice the market price.

But NEPRA in Islamabad remains another big hurdle. It has thus far refused to revise the rates it has offered to the power company, which the latter says is ridiculous in view of the small capacity (300MW) and the difficult operational environment.

Strangely, the existing average rate for private power plants hovers around 10 cents per unit. The 1,320MW plant at Port Qasim also sells power to the national grid at nearly 8.5 cents per unit. But NEPRA refuses to go beyond the seven cents it has offered to Power China.

Our president is determined to push for CPEC implementation as much as he can, said a business executive. All of us have been told to forget about profits and focus only the completion of what “we have promised.”

But frustration of the private Chinese companies over tardy bureaucratic responses to situations that require prompt decision-making seems to be fuelling frustration. And this may at some stage dent Xi’s determination, is the fear resonating in Beijing’s business and academic circles.

These executives of some of China’s huge corporations have a definite moot point; with no water and no electricity, how can the Pakistani government hope to sell Gwadar as the most critical link in the CPEC chain?

With no signs of electricity in sight for at least another two years, there is also little hope for the construction of the new airport and the setting up of industries at Gwadar.

The launch of the full scale construction of the new airport is also conditional upon the power plant. If NEPRA and Power China could settle down on the power tariff today, it would still take at least two years to construct and commission the plant only partially, experts say.

Even the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are generating considerable debate among Chinese business managers. In China, the government takes care of land, water, energy and even hiring of staff for the services’ sector at every new SEZ to set the stage for investments.

But in Pakistan, private foreign businesses burn heels to get permissions, often after doling out “incentives” to officials and politicians involved.

We see the SEZs torn among the federal and provincial governments as well as NEPRA, OGRA, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Finance.

Some Chinese academics also quoted the current Sindh chief minister on the issue of land for the new railway track. How can the central government bring investment and the local chief minister turn it into a provincial subject? a business tycoon asked. He should have leapt at the opportunity instead of digging his heels on the land issue, he quipped.

“How can you attract business when they have to deal with so many authorities? In China or even Bangladesh, all you need is to bring in capital and the rest is taken care of by one central authority as a one-window to provide all requisite documentation,” he said. Look at the astronomical cost of the delay in the construction of the Gwadar airport and the proposed power plant. Urgent issues such as Gwadar airport, the power plant and the scarcity of water require deft and non-bureaucratic handling failing which the dream of industrial and social sector development could easily go sour.

Both the prime minister and the GHQ must work jointly to prevent what detractors of CPEC are desperately trying.

 Source: 15th May 2019

Qureshi says CPEC will be completed at all costs

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday that whole nation is in favour of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and it would be completed just like the nuclear programme.

Qureshi, while speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, said that no objections are being raised on CPEC project and the whole nation is united on it.

The foreign minister praised efforts of security forces by taking timely action against terrorists to establish peace across the country.

Qureshi said that the project will increase opportunities for regional connectivity and bring prosperity to the region.

“Enemies cannot see us being a developed and prosper country. However, we will complete the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) just like our nuclear programme.”

He said, “the powers, which are willing to destabilise Pakistan, use facilitators [to carry out terrorist activities. I want to give a clear message to the enemies that the whole nation and parliament is united on CPEC. I want to give a message that we have complete our nuclear programme despite hurdles and Insha-Allah we will not let our enemies become successful [in their conspiracies against Pakistan].”

Qureshi further said, “Overall three bills are presented for South Punjab. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is with its promise to give its due right to South Punjab. I want to invite opposition for bringing a joint bill after making a committee on South Punjab.”

Earlier on Sunday, the foreign minister had said some forces wanted to destabilise Pakistan and harm the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

“Foes of Pakistan cannot see the CPEC making progress, offering greater connectivity and commercial activities to the region,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi said while talking to journalists in Multan.

Referring to the Gwadar terrorist attack, he said Pakistan would not blame any country without proper investigation.

To a question, the federal minister said the Pakistan Air Force would respond befittingly in case of any misadventure by India.

Talking about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement, he said the nation would have to think that why Pakistan had to approach the IMF.

“When the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government came into power, it came to know how much Pakistan’s trade deficit was. We had a total difference of Rs19 billion in imports and exports. There was no investment in the country and circumstances were growing worse,” he said.

FM Qureshi said the PTI government made efforts to control the situation. The trade deficit had increased enormously, he added. He said the government was trying to bring as many people in the tax net as possible.

Date: 14/5/2019

Source: Pakistan Today 

Minister sets timelines to resolve pending issues of CPEC

Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar has said that the incumbent Government was committed to accelerate the implementation of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and set timelines for authorities concerned for resolving all the pending issues related to the projects.

The Minister expressed these views while chairing the progress review meeting on CPEC here on Friday.

Chinese ambassador Yao Jing, PD CPEC Hassan Daud and senior officials from both sides were also present in the meeting.

During the meeting, projects of Orange Line, Eastbay Expressway, 300 MW coal based power plant at Gawadr and Kohala Hydropower were deliberated upon.

Each project was discussed and scrutinized in detail and majority of the issues were resolved instantly.

For remaining pending issues, the Minister directed the authorities concerned to resolve them within strict timelines and progress be reported on monthly basis.

Talking about Eastbay Expressway, the Minister said that the demand of local fishermen at Gwadar has been accepted and all efforts will be made to ensure timely completion of this project of national importance.

The Minister said that the Government was committed to development of Gwadar adding that provision of electricity and clean drinking water to Gwadar was top most priority and all efforts will be made to expedite the start of 300 MW coal based power plant.

Khusro Bakhtyar noted that CPEC was progressing in the right direction and the present government has expanded its scope in consultation with Chinese Government to focus on industrialization, agriculture cooperation and socio-economic development.

The Chinese ambassador appreciated the commitment of Government of Pakistan for resolving all pending issues and fast tracking the CPEC projects.

He also appreciated the new issue based progress review mechanism for effective scrutiny and monitoring of progress on CPEC projects.

Date: May 13, 2019

Source: Dunya News

,

New Pakistani visa regime indicative of an open, confident, and secure Pakistan: Chinese ambassador

Source: China Daily

Date: 31/1/2019

The new visa regime announced by the Government of Pakistan is indicative of an open, confident and secure Pakistan. H.E Mr. Yao Jing, the Ambassador of China to Pakistan said this in a meeting with Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting here today.

“We are happy to see that Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf’s Government is guiding strong bilateral relations between the two countries in a positive direction’’, he said.

The ambassador also appreciated the personal efforts of Information Minister in promoting culture and films to project the positive image of Pakistan.

The ambassador of China said this year China would allow screening of selected Pakistani feature films in Chinese cinemas, which would promote people to people contact between the two countries.

The information minister highly appreciated the endeavor and informed the ambassador that Pakistan is participating in 9th International Beijing Film Festival. The minister said it was high time to broaden the cooperation between the two countries by exchanging information and co-producing feature films.

Ch. Fawad Hussain, also sought China’s assistance in establishing a technical media institute as part of the Media University, the government envisages to establish soon.

The ambassador informed the minister that under the next phase of CPEC both China and Pakistan would focus on joint ventures in special economic zones and social sector projects including health, education, water resources, and poverty alleviation.

While emphasizing the significance of transfer of technology, the minister reiterated that government accords importance to local production of goods with a view to boost indigenous industry particularly in field of media.

,

Pakistan, China agree to make 2019 a year of economic cooperation under CPEC

Source: The News

Date: 15th Jan, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Chinese Ambassador in Islamabad Yao Jing called on Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar on Tuesday.

During the meeting, matters of mutual interest including progress on China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects came under discussion.

Ambassador Yao Jing appreciated that 8th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting held successfully in a cordial atmosphere where all deliverables were achieved and the scope of the cooperation was expanded to new avenues.

Both sides agreed to expedite work by promoting joint ventures and export led growth under CPEC by declaring 2019 as “year of industrial, socioeconomic and agriculture cooperation”.

Minister for Planning, Development & Reform, Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar said that the MoU on Industrial Cooperation, signed during 8th JCC, provides a framework to promote communication on key industries such as textile, petro-chemical and iron & steel, encourages Chinese investors to relocate and explore opportunities of investment in Pakistan.

The minister highlighted that Pakistan can become an ideal destination for investment in different sectors. He said that Ministry of Planning would facilitate Chinese investors looking for opportunities under CPEC and create a pull effect.

He highlighted that government is working on policies that will improve ease of doing business in early time frame. Minister said that the first meeting of the JWG on Socio economic development was a major milestone and the action plan discussed therein will support uplift of less developed area.

Pakistan side has already forwarded invitation letter to China for visit of the expert team.

“Both side to work out for speedy implementation of initiatives in already identified six areas including agriculture, education, medical treatment, poverty alleviation, water supply and vocational training projects” he intimated.

The minister hoped that JWG on Agriculture meeting, scheduled for 15th February this year, would provide an opportunity to broaden CPEC Cooperation.

He emphasized that Chinese investors should explore investment opportunities in agriculture sector of Pakistan for input supplies as well as food production, processing, logistics, marketing and exports in a vertically integrated way on their own or in joint ventures (B2B) with Pakistani companies.

Both sides agreed to ensure that this year Gwadar Projects such as New International Airport, Hospital and Vocational Institutes will hit ground within three months as these projects are beneficial for the local population and will therefore gain the support and trust of the local population.

 Ambassador Yao Jing appreciated the efforts of Government of Pakistan for facilitating Chinese investors and informed that a large number of Chinese investors would visit Pakistan soon that would further strengthen the bonds of economic and bilateral cooperation.

,

Learning from China

Source: Dawn

Date: 11th January 2019

Writer: Zahid Hussain

PRIME Minister Imran Khan is fascinated by China’s miraculous feat of lifting 800 million ­people from poverty — and he seeks to emulate that achievement. Then again, who does not? Every speech of his, whether at home or abroad, is invariably laced with profuse praise of the ­emerging superpower. But it seems that he has ­little understanding of how it happened.

The rise of China is surely an amazing story, and its record in poverty reduction is without parallel in human history. It may not be possible for other countries to emulate the Chinese dream, yet there are lessons to learn from the country’s Great Leap Forward. The transformation of a country with around one fifth of the world’s population could not have come without the Communist Revolution in 1949 that destroyed the regressive social structure, thereby paving the way for a second revolution which led to phenomenal economic growth.

Since the initiation of China’s reform and opening-up in 1978, it has achieved an annual average 9.5 per cent growth rate, increasing almost 35 times in size within the last four decades. There is no precedent in history of such sustained economic growth. This could not have been possible without political stability, a visionary leadership and strong institutions of the state.

Our prime minister must realise that societal transformation requires clear vision.

It was the second stage of the revolution headed by Deng Xiaoping, who was also one the leaders of the 1949 revolution, that led to the building of modern China. The principles enunciated by Deng guided Chinese policy since the 1980s. According to him, there are three criteria to judge whether or not a political system or policy is suitable or correct for a country, namely; is it beneficial for political stability, economic development and living standards? If it is for all three, then it is a good system or policy.

With its phenomenal scale of economic growth, China also focused on improving the lives of ordinary Chinese people. The enormous improvement in living standards is, therefore, the most important achievement China has made since the reform and opening-up. For a country with huge numbers of poor people streaming into its cities, many ­living initially in conditions of abject misery, this has been an extraordinary success.

Other factors that contributed to China’s economic and social development are the massive investments it made on education and population control. For almost four decades, China strictly implemented a one-child policy that had helped the country achieve its anti-poverty drive. This policy has now been made more flexible to meet the demands of an expanding economy.

More importantly, successive Chinese leaders recognised that economic development and political stability were intertwined. While its entire focus had been on economic development, China has kept itself out of outside conflicts and avoided confrontation despite provocations. It has kept a relatively low profile, notwithstanding its position as a superpower.

When Imran Khan says that he wants to learn from China, he should understand that such ­societal transformation can only occur when one has a clear vision and the will to make tough decisions. It is indeed commendable that the PTI ­government places greater emphasis on human development, but the welfare of the people also depends on political stability and economic ­development. Catchy mantras alone will not take this country out of its current predicament.

Sure, Pakistan has a different system of government and there is no revolutionary party at the helm, but it is not difficult to implement some radical reforms to put the economy on the track of sustainable growth. There is also need for change in existing social and economic structures that are the biggest obstacles to the country’s transformation. But, notwithstanding Imran Khan’s grand idea of establishing ‘Naya Pakistan’, the PTI remains a party with no clear strategy for change. Almost five months into power, the government is still unable to set a clear direction.

There appears to be systemic failure in this country. While the PTI government is drifting without vision or purpose, growing political instability has rendered the system dysfunctional. One cannot hope getting the economy off the ground, let alone fighting poverty, in this environment of political confrontation. The country is not expected to move forward while depending on the financial support of friendly countries. It is ­disgraceful the way that bailout packages from Saudi Arabia and the UAE are being portrayed as diplomatic successes. In the absence of any clear agenda for reform, these kinds of temporary relief could become liabilities, further dragging the economy down.

There is as yet no indication that the government is prepared to change its confrontationist policy. More alarming is that it does not have any clear strategy to deal with the challenges it faces. Undoubtedly, corruption is a serious problem, but the government seems to only focus on this one issue. Imran Khan’s claim that it is the main cause of all economic and political ills is exaggerated. The senseless campaign has increased economic and political uncertainty, making it more difficult to carry out any reform. Imran Khan often cites China’s latest campaign against corruption. But what he has failed to understand is that China has been able to effectively counter the menace after it had consolidated its economy.

Instead of learning from China how it emerged as an economic superpower in such a short span of time, Imran Khan has superficially picked some aspects of its history to point to. A major factor that has caused Pakistan’s economic and political slide is the absence of a long-term vision for ­development and social change.

China’s model cannot be emulated, but one can, at least, learn some lessons from its success. Poverty eradication, which Imran Khan appears so fascinated with, did not come without economic development and social reform. The establishment of shelter homes for the homeless is indeed a ­positive step, but it cannot address the basic problem behind rampant poverty, unemployment and social backwardness.

The writer is an author and journalist.
zhussain100@yahoo.com
Twitter: @hidhussain

, ,

China building ‘most advanced’ naval warship for Pakistan

Source: Dunya News

Date: 2nd January 2019

China has recently began to construct the first of four “most advanced” naval warships for its “all-weather ally” Pakistan as part of a major arms deal, according to China State Shipbuilding Corp, a large State-owned defense contractor.

The deal aims to ensure “balance of power” in the strategic Indian Ocean. The ship is one of the Chinese Navy’s most advanced guided missile frigate.

In December, it was reported that the ship was under construction at its Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai, and it would be equipped with modern detection and weapon systems with capabilities of anti-ship, anti-submarine and air-defense operations.

According to the Pakistan Navy, the ship’s class is Type 054AP, which implies that it is based on the Type 054A of the People s Liberation Army Navy.

Besides, it was said that four such ships had been ordered under the deal.

The warship will be one of the largest and technologically advanced platforms of Pakistan s Navy, which will strengthen the state’s capability to respond to threats posed by the neighboring India, and maintain peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region.

It will also support the Pakistani Navy s initiative of securing sea lanes for international shipping by patrolling distant waters, it said in a statement on its twitter account.

Type 054A is the best frigate in service with the PLA Navy. The ship has a fully-loaded displacement of about 4,000 metric tons, and is equipped with advanced radars and missiles.

About 30 Type 054As are in service with the PLA Navy, observers said.

PLA’s Naval Military Studies Research Institute’s researcher Cao Weidong has said that, previously, Pakistan had been using western radars on its ships constructed by Chinese shipbuilders as it believed that Western naval technologies were better than Chinese.

“But it seems that all weapons and radars on the new ship will be Chinese products, which reflects our progress in the industry and the Pakistani Navy s confidence in our technology and capability,” he said.

Cao said there were many nations selling frigates in the market, so Pakistan must have made thorough comparisons in terms of combat capability and costs.

“I believe the reason they chose our type is that ours is one of the few that can carry out all of the air-defense, anti-ship and anti-submarine tasks,” he said, expecting the service of the Chinese frigate to substantially boost Pakistan s defense capability.

An insider in China s shipbuilding sector with knowledge of the Type 054AP program told China Daily on condition of anonymity that the ship is the largest and most powerful combat vessel China has ever exported.

“Based on pictures circulating on the internet, the ship will have vertical launch cells that can fire Chinese HQ-16 air-defense missiles and other kinds of missiles. Vertical launch cells will bring flexibility to the user in terms of weapons portfolio, thus giving it a stronger fighting capability,” he said, adding that the Type 054AP is the best frigate Pakistan can access in the international market.

“The service of Type 054APs will double the combat power of the Pakistani Navy s surface fleet,” he said