Loans to aid three Pak­istan road projects

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHANG ZHIHAO zhangzhi­hao @chi­nadaily.com.cn chief min­is­ter of Pak­istan’s Sindh prov­ince

China will pro­vide about $1 bil­lion in soft loans for three new road projects along the west­ern route of the China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor, con­nect­ing the “short­est route from Gwadar to China”, a se­nior Pak­istani of­fi­cial said.

Syed Mu­rad Ali Shah, chief min­is­ter of Pak­istan’s south­east­ern Sindh prov­ince, said China will in­vest in new roads and fac­to­ries to help smaller Pak­istani prov­inces in­te­grate into the project.

The eastern and west­ern routes of the China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor “should op­er­ate like two legs of a body”, said Shah. How­ever, more in­vest­ment and op­por­tu­ni­ties have gone into the eastern route, where most of the coun­try’s in­dus­trial and fi­nan­cial sec­tors are lo­cated, he said.

“The eco­nom­i­cally smaller prov­inces feel de­prived and left out of the project,” he said. “CPEC is a na­tional project, af­ter all, and should im­prove the econ­omy through­out the coun­try.”

Shah was in Bei­jing for the sixth China-Pak­istan Joint Co­op­er­a­tion Com­mit­tee meet­ing on Thurs­day in Bei­jing.

It was the first time that the chief min­is­ters from all of Pak­istan’s prov­inces were in­vited to dis­cuss in­dus­trial co­op­er­a­tion, he said.

Tang Meng­sheng, di­rec­tor of the Pak­istan Stud­ies Cen­ter of Pek­ing Univer­sity, also said China and Pak­istan both need a top-level govern­ment body to run the CPEC and “fa­cil­i­tate in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity in pol­icy, in­fra­struc­ture, trade, cur­rency and peo­ple”.

Sun Shi­hai, di­rec­tor of the Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tion for South Asian Stud­ies, said that devel­op­ing the west­ern route not only will help lo­cal economies flour­ish, but also will en­sure a ro­bust and con­ve­nient trade net­work as the bedrock of CPEC’s suc­cess.

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