Islamabad, Pakistan: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, is his government's "top priority" and has called for "concerted efforts" to ensure timely completion of the USD 46 billion project.
"The prime minister, during a detailed briefing on the CPEC, stressed that the projects in the programme are the top priority of the government and accordingly, concerted efforts should be made to ensure timely progress," a statement issued by Pakistan government said late last night.
Pakistan's Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform was directed to ensure completion of the first batch of projects in energy and infrastructure sectors by 2017-18, it added.
Nawaz Sharif noted "significant progress" was being made on the western route of the CPEC and said the project will ensure equitable benefits to people in various areas of Pakistan.
China is investing over USD 46 billion in the CPEC, which comprises several projects of energy and infrastructure, in Balochistan.
The project aims to link the city of Gwadar to China's Xinjiang region via a vast network of highways and railways, allowing China access to the Arabian Sea.
India has raised serious objections to the project as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Yesterday, the Pakistani Cabinet was informed that considerable part of portfolio under CPEC has been "energised." Nawaz Sharif expressed his firm support for Thar Coal project, and stated that should its potential have been exploited 50 years ago, Pakistan would now have been an energy exporter, according to the statement.
Progress made on the Gwadar port project and allied infrastructure facilities was also reviewed in the meeting.
Mr Sharif directed concerned departments for making progress on initiation of work on Gwadar Airport and Eastbay Expressway at the earliest.
He said work on the technical and vocational training institutes of Gwadar should be done on a fast-track basis, making them operational as soon as possible.