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Pakistan Television to Air Chinese Cartoon Series under CPEC Cultural Cooperation


May 17: Pakistan Television (PTV) will begin airing Chinese folk opera cartoon series titled “Three Drops of Blood, a step towards expanding horizon of cultural exchanges and media cooperation between Pakistan and China under the framework of CPEC, a flagship project of China's Belt and Road development plan.

The announcement was made at the official launching ceremony jointly organised by the National Council of the Arts (PNCA) and Pakistan Television (PTV) on Friday evening.

 Deputy Chief of Mission, Chinese Embassy, Zhao Lijian graced the ceremony as chief guest while General PNCA, Syed Jamal Shah and Chief Planner Yong Tao, Bai Zhijun were also present.

Speaking at the mesmerizing ceremony, General PNCA Jamal Shah said “Three Drops of Blood”, Chinese Shaanxi folk Opera cartoon, sheds light on the strong ties between Pakistan and China, and lauded the cultural exchanges between the two countries which he said had been of high calibre and value.

Appreciating the continuous support of China, increasing investment and cooperation in art and culture by the Chinese government, he said: “Art and culture engages people in an intimate manner, thereby transpiring several other levels of engagement. Art and culture inform individuals about themselves intimately. Intimate knowledge becomes strength making people informed decision makers.”

He further added by saying the program will be followed by a workshop of animation by inviting emerging animators from schools and media institutions. While a Chinese film festival will also be arranged.

Depicting traditional values of Chinese culture, “Three Drops of Blood” is a classical story with 500 years’ circulation by a theater genius known as Oriental Shakespeare with a long lasting performance of 100 years.

Directed by Bai Zhijun and Produced by Wang Nan, the cartoon series is a joint cultural product of Shaanxi Association of the Promotion of International Cultural Exchange, the Shaanxi Dramatists Association, the Xi’an Qinqiang Theater Co, Ltd, The Xi’an Silk Road Modern Art Center and Shaanxi Zhongshan Cultural Media Co.

The story’s themes revolve around ancient and apocryphal issues, the Emperor’s Court, interpersonal relations and textual research on the classics of the upper class, meanwhile involving folklore, anecdote, medical science, divination and astrology, and the tales of God’s, ghosts and goblins discussed among the lower classes.

According to the producers, the cartoon stories also reflect contemporary social issues, laying bare several of its contradictions besides illustrating the good and evil conduct of various social classes of the day.

The program will be screened on PTV World every Saturday for six weeks.

Since the launch of CPEC, increase in people to people exchanges and collaboration in art and culture sectors have attained significant place on the agenda of policy makers of China Pakistan strategic cooperation partnership.

By: Muhammad Arif

CPEC to help Pakistan improve its connectivity with the regional countries, south, central Asia: Minister


Islamabad, Jan. 23: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will help his country improve its connectivity with the regional countries and beyond to south and central Asia, Pakistani Finance Minister Asad Umar said on Wednesday while addressing a ceremony held in the capital city of Pakistan.

CPEC is the most important component of China’s Belt and Road initiative, Minister said adding further “I believe that CPEC will be the center of gravity of the global trade in the future”.

CPEC is a cluster of infrastructure development projects, worth $62 billion as of 2017, are currently under construction throughout Pakistan.

He said that Pakistan is also working on a plan to bring forward other parties to invest in various projects along the CPEC route to accelerate economic activities and increase jobs for the youth.

Terming CPEC as the best example of Pakistan-China friendship, the finance minister said that the project is equally important for other countries of the region and hoped that someday neighboring countries will look beyond their immediate interests and join Pakistan and China in the CPEC.

Pakistan is also working on a plan to bring forward other parties to invest in various projects along the CPEC route to accelerate economic activities and increase jobs for the youth

To support the Pakistan’s ailing economy,  all-weather friend, China , had pledged to lend $2 billion to shore up dwindling foreign exchange reserves of Pakistan and the federal cabinet has approved a strategy to issue so-called 'Panda bonds' in the Chinese market to raise foreign exchange from global markets.

 Pakistan wanted to lift trade relations with all its neighbours and regional countries including Iran, India, and Turkey, Asad Umar said.

Minister said that Iran is an important neighbour of Pakistan in the West and the world should stop creating impediments in trading between the two countries.

“Whenever the World Bank and other international bodies come to me, they always say that intraregional trade is extremely important for boosting economic growth, and also they advise to resume good trade ties with India, but strangely nobody asks me about another important neighbour in the West which is Iran,” he added.

“Impediments have been created for trading between Pakistan and Iran and I am mixed up that how that criteria fix in the economic theory that trade with the neighbour in East is good whereas trade with neighbours in West is not good.”  He hoped that hypocrisy of the global community will also reduce with the time.

By :Muhammad Arif

Bank of China to Commence Business Operations in Pakistan to Boost Bilateral Investment,Trade under CPEC


Karachi, Aug.19: Bank of China (BOC),one of the 5 biggest state-owned commercial banks in China, is set to commence banking operations in next few months as the bank seeks to expand its presence in the Pakistani market and help meet financing requirements of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related projects, the central bank’s official said on Friday. Pakistan’s central bank issued a banking licence to BOC on May 11, 2017 to carry out banking business in branch mode.

 “After fulfilling all regulatory requirements and achieving operational readiness, the BOC will approach SBP for permission to commence business within a timeframe of six months from the date of issuance of its banking license,” the State Bank of Pakistan chief spokesman Abid Qamar said in response to questions emailed to him by The News.

“It is hoped that BOC will start its operations in Pakistan in September/October 2017,” he added. The Chinese lender is currently in the process of setting up office and hiring a team of bankers for Karachi operation, sources with direct knowledge of the matter informed.  

  They said there are more chances the bank will be launched by the last week of September or in the first week of October. Bank of China is the second Chinese bank to enter Pakistan. The central bank issued licence to Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to start business operations in 2010. 

There are four foreign banks operating in Pakistan: Bank of Tokyo, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. Industry officials said the foray of Chinese banks into the local market could overcome the financial needs of $57 billion worth of various energy and infrastructure projects under CPEC. 

“It would pave the way for the timely completion of early harvest projects under CPEC,” said a banker.     “It’s [BOC] services can include: project and trade financing.” The SBP’s official said that Pakistani banks were also interested in opening branches in China to boost their penetration in the Chinese market.

“In China, six Pakistani banks have their presence as representative offices. These banks include NBP, HBL, UBL, Bank AL-Habib, Askari Bank and Allied Bank Limited,” he said. In March 2017, HBL opened one branch at Urumqi, China. NBP is also interested in opening a branch in Beijing, China and SBP has issued in-principle approval for this purpose in November 2016.

“The presence of Pakistani banks in China will be beneficial for bilateral investment/trade, especially in the context of CPEC,” he added. The BOC is a subsidiary of China Central Huijin, investment arm of the government of China.

The bank is not only operating in the Chinese mainland, but its footprints have reached to 50 countries. Nineteen of those countries are located across the Chinese “One Belt One Road” initiative.

Source: The News

CPEC: Pakistan Offers Lucrative Opportunities for Chinese Investors


SHANGHAI, Aug 19: Pakistan can achieve objective of economic development and become a major industrial zone by attracting Chinese investment and surplus production because of its low labor cost and big consumer market. "China is a huge economic power and looking forward to new markets for its surplus production and Pakistan could become an ideal destination for Chinese investment and goods because of vibrant middle class and hardworking workforce," Pakistan Counsel General, Shanghai, Dr. Naeem Khan said on Friday.

He opined that with huge consumers market and skilled, hardworking and low cost labor, Pakistan can attract the Chinese investors and traders and make Pakistan a major industrial zone.
He said that China is committed to invest more than US$ 60 billion under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative in energy and infrastructure sectors in Pakistan.
"China is helping us in construction of roads, telecommunication network, Gawadar port and airports and all this will play a key role in handling future production capacity," he said in an interview with APP.
Naeem Khan said the China considering Pakistan a strategic partner has been encouraging its investors and traders to go Pakistan take part in investment and trade activities.
"We can achieve our goal of economic prosperity by utilizing this opportunity in an appropriate manner by enhancing our economic base and overcoming challenges," he added.
Terming the CPEC a cornerstone for the economic development of Pakistan, he said, "At present the trade volume between China and Pakistan is around US$ 20 billion and if we want to enhance our trade with China, we will have to enhance our capability by improving the infrastructure, ports, roads and telecommunications to handle this increase."
With enhanced energy production and top of line infrastructure, Pakistan would be able to fulfill demand of industrial production in future.
Terming the skilled workers as one of the best workforce in the world, he said, Pakistani engineers, technicians and laborers would play a pivotal role to make the CPEC a success.
"Our quality workforce was the key force behind development in Middle East while Pakistani doctors are serving in the USA and UK," he added.
On the role the consulate to attract and promote investment in Pakistan, he said, "We have been introducing Pakistani products in the trade fairs besides maintaining a close liaison with political and economic leadership as well as the chambers of commerce for this purpose."
On issues being faced by Pakistani community living in and around the Shanghai, the Counsel General said he is aware of these issues which mostly relates to the local Chinese government.
"We also take up these issues with local officials and take steps for the welfare of Pakistani community," he added.

Source: APP

Opnion:Can CPEC Weather Pakistan's Political Storm?


Islamabad, Aug. 9: In a highly partisan political environment, China reiterated its neutrality towards the internal affairs of the country by stating its resolve to abide by ‘a strategic cooperative partnership with Pakistan’. Despite this stance the momentum of the CPEC initiative seems to have been compromised over the last two months. Senior officials in Islamabad, who coordinate with the Chinese side for the CPEC, informed Dawn that the political crisis did hamper the pace of progress, particularly on projects in the pipeline. “Yes, the divide blurs the line between civil and military leaders as Generals vow to secure and support CPEC related project as much, if not more, than civil political leaders.

“This unity of opinion is not enough. For CPEC to stay on course a conducive investment environment is absolutely necessary”, commented a business leader who wished anonymity.

A statement on the subject mailed to Dawn by the Chinese Embassy reads, “It hopes that all parties and sections in Pakistan can prioritise state and national interests, properly deal with their domestic affairs, maintain unity and stability and keep focusing on economic and social development.

“The all-weather friendship between China and Pakistan has withstood the test of time. We believe that the China-Pakistan strategic cooperative partnership will not be affected by the change in the situation inside Pakistan.

“China stands ready to work with Pakistan to continue jointly building the Belt and the Road and build a community of a shared future, which serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples and promotes peace and development in the region and beyond”.

Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi, in his very first speech on the floor of the house after his election, mentioned his intent to fasten the pace of progress on CPEC related projects.

Dr Nadeem Javed, Chief Economist, Planning Commission, admitted the comparative slow down but insisted that the fortnightly coordination committee on the CPEC meets regularly. The said body is attended by related departments and ministries. It tracks and monitors progress and provides a forum to unwind bureaucratic knots.

“How can anyone deny that happenings of the past two months distracted the government’s attention from the economy and compromised its effectiveness? Yes we could have covered more ground had we been able to handle the situation better.

“There were exchanges and two-way travelling by relevant ministers and officials over the past two months but the private sector, particularly in Pakistan, withdrew into its shell, citing uncertainty” he said.

He saw harmony and enthusiasm in state level interaction but was not happy with the level of interest in the private sector.

“The reluctance of local investors is hard to digest. Their attitude might change as plans of nine special economic zones start materialising”, he said.

“The CPEC is a large package of Chinese investment projects with the potential to transform Pakistan’s economy by relieving supply-side constraints to growth through investment in power generation and transport infrastructure.

“If implemented as planned, the CPEC would lift Pakistan’s potential GDP growth significantly and catalyse higher private-sector investments and exports.

“However, security-related issues and Pakistan’s weak track record of public project implementation suggests that the pace of execution will be relatively slow.

“Moving forward, continued support for the CPEC project across all branches of government will be critical to its success and full implementation,” said Moody’s in a current report on the country.

Some business leaders contacted blamed the tilt in policies that suit Chinese investors better. “The policy framework is unfair towards locals. In their enthusiasm policymakers go the extra mile and roll out the red carpets for foreign investors. However, if we ask for what is our due they play deaf”, a business leader retorted.

“PM Abbasi may claim what he wants but hollow words will not in-still confidence in the private sector. “The government will need to move decisively towards confidence building measures to motivate local investors”, he added.

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, August 7th, 2017

CPEC:$35 billion Pure Chinese Investment, $11billion China's Soft Loan under CPEC: Ahsan


ISLAMABAD, Aug 7 : Out of total $46 billion, $35 billion was purely investment from China under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for energy sector, and the rest was given to Pakistan as soft loan for infrastructure development.

Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal, who led CPEC from 2013-2017 as a Minister for Planning Development & Reform, informed the National Assembly of Pakistan on Aug. 7 during the question-hour session.

Ahsan said anti-CPEC lobbies were making the game-changer project controversial.

The loan, he said, had been given at very low rates. “We are thankful to China for making such a huge investment in Pakistan.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Communications Alam Dad Laleka said the CPEC link road with total length of 106 km would connect Khuzdar with Baasima. The PC-1 of the project amounting to Rs 19.88.435 million had been approved by ECNEC in its meeting held on April 12.

The application for obtaining loan from Exim Bank China for the project, he said, was under preparation in the National Highway Authority (NHA) and would be submitted to the Ministry of Communications and Economic Affairs Division shortly.

Alam Dad said the construction work on the project would commence soon after signing of a loan agreement with Exim Bank China and completion of the procurement process.

He said since the Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway (M-1) was an access controlled facility, the NHA had installed fence along it.

However, he said, at certain locations people from adjacent villages cut fence for passing through the Motorway. In some cases, theft had also been reported on which the NHA along with National

Highways & Motorways Police had got lodged first information reports at local police stations and legal actions were taken against the culprits, he added.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a long-term development project worth $62 billion comprising of power plants and energy pipelines, 46 Special Economic Zones (SEZs), fiber optic network, and network of highways and railways linking western China’s Kashgar to a deep-water Gwadar port on Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast.



Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to continue to work as Pakistan PM till 2018: Ex-PM Nawaz Sharif


Islamabad, Aug. 8: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will continue to work as Pakistan PM till 2018, announced Ex-PM Nawaz Sharif and leader of the ruling party- PML-N.


Shehbaz Sharif will remain CM Punjab, according to announcement reported by local media.


Earlier, Pakistan's new Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi vowed to implement China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and personally supervise the speedy completion of all the projects under the CPEC. 


"Beyond CPEC, our economic cooperation will further enhance," Abbasi said at a meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong on Aug.3, 2017. 


Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, took oath on Tuesday as interim PM of Pakistan.


He previously served as the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources in the third Sharif ministry from 2013 to 2017.


As a minister he has met Chinese leaders on various occasions.

CPEC is major project of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2013. BRI refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of Silk Road.


Opinion: Political Change in Pakistan Won’t Affect CPEC


Beijing, Aug 3: On Tuesday, Pakistan's lower house of parliament elected Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as the country's new prime minister. The Supreme Court last week disqualified Nawaz Sharif from office over corruption charges. The political change Pakistan is undergoing has raised concerns that the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) may be adversely affected. In Pakistan, opinion has been divided on either the eastern or western route of the CPEC should be given priority in development. Due to this split, the project has advanced slowly. The eastern route moves along the populous and relatively prosperous area of the country including Punjab Province and connects Islamabad with other major Pakistani cities, while the western route cuts through backward areas like Balochistan Province.
A consensus was eventually reached to pursue the simultaneous development of the two routes, but there are concerns among some analysts that Pakistan's new leader may give priority to the eastern route and thus harm the interests of people in the western region and revive the controversy.
Abbasi is a loyalist of Nawaz, who initially preferred the eastern route. Most observers think that Abbasi will be an "interim" prime minister until Nawaz's younger brother Shahbaz Sharif wins a by-election to fill his brother's seat. Shahbaz is the chief minister of Punjab, a province that could benefit from the development of the eastern route.
The CPEC project may be affected if Shahbaz replaces his brother as the prime minister in the coming months, but the impact will be very limited. 
Shahbaz seems to be a seasoned politician, and it is quite possible that Abbasi and then Shahbaz will continue Nawaz's policies and strategies to ensure a smooth power transition.
Nawaz initially preferred the eastern route of the CPEC, a stance that prompted protests from people supporting the western route. The situation that led to Nawaz's downfall is unlikely to be repeated under the tenures of Abbasi and Shahbaz, however.
Some observers have suggested that the removal of Nawaz might lead to political chaos in the country and cause economic upheaval, adversely affecting the CPEC. However, the current political situation in Pakistan is more stable than expected.
There are, however, some scenarios where political unrest is possible. For one thing, information from many sources suggests Abbasi and Shahbaz have the support of Pakistan's ruling party and the military, which has laid a solid foundation for the new administration.
For another, military support reportedly promised by Pakistan to Qatar, as well as Islamabad's involvement in Afghanistan-related issues, may spark unhappiness in the US, at a time when the bigger role being played by Pakistan and other emerging countries in regional affairs has dented the US presence in the region. This situation has led some to speculate that the US may have been a factor in Nawaz's removal.
In reality, Nawaz was disqualified due to corruption charges that arose last year, and his removal was not a result of recent geopolitical events. It can be expected that the US is unlikely to openly oppose Abbasi and Shahbaz.
China always respects Pakistan's choices and attitudes toward the CPEC, under the principle of non-interference in Pakistan's internal affairs. The Chinese side initially preferred the eastern route of the CPEC because that route goes through heavily populated areas where infrastructure including railways, roads and power plants are in great demand.
After all the CPEC is not an aid package. Compared with the western route, projects along the eastern one will be more likely to recover the costs of construction. But after thorough research into the projects along the western route, the Chinese side found that the costs can be recouped if the eastern and western routes are developed together.
The CPEC is a flagship project of Sino-Pakistan cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. There is no possibility that China will take advantage of Abbasi's replacement and Shahbaz's status as the chief minister of Punjab Province to preferentially develop the eastern route. 
However, we cannot rule out the possibility that Abbasi's replacement and Shahbaz's potential succession may bring some uncertainties to the development of the CPEC. Shahbaz's status as the chief minister of Punjab Province may become a target of attack from opposition parties. Regarding the possible impact, China should keep a close watch on Pakistan's domestic situation and spare no effort to ensure stable development of the CPEC project.
The author is director of the Institute for the Southern and Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Municipal Center for International Studies. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
By Wang Dehua Source:Global Times

Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman Congratulates Chinese People's Liberation Army 


Islamabad, Aug. 1:  Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman has congratulated Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on its 90th Foundation Day anniversary. According to the spokesman of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Air Chief said that the people and forces of both the countries had historic relations. He said joint air exercises (Shaheen) between PAF and People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) were reflection of the close ties between the forces of the two countries.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is among the world’s largest standing armies, and it’s taking on a greater role in international diplomacy while handling tensions on its land borders and sea disputes.
The PLA's 90th anniversary falls on Aug. 1.
Pakistan military brass also congratulated China on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) at Zhurihe training base in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on Sunday.
On Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping reviewed the armed forces as part of the commemorations. More than 12,000 service personnel from the army, navy, air force, armed police as well as the newly formed rocket force and strategic support troops, took part in the parade at Zhurihe military training base.
Pakistan and China have long history of collaboration and cooperative partnership in defence sector that includes joint manufacturing of JF-17, collaboration in Freegate-22, Joint military training exercises and counter-terrorism projects.
In October 2016, Pakistani and Chinese troops participated in two-week long joint exercise, “YOUYI-VI 2016” at the National Counter Terrorism Training Centre (NCTC) in Pabbi, near Lahore, Pakistan. On March 23, 2017, a contingent of the guard of honor of the three services of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) took part in a grand military parade held in Islamabad to mark the Pakistan's Republic Day.
By Muhammad Arif

Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister of State for IB&NH in a group photo with Balochistan based Journalists


Islamabad, July 27: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) project is not only important for Pakistan, but for the entire region, said Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb while speaking at a dinner hosted for journalists from Balochistan on Wednesday.  Marriyum Aurangzeb further said development of Balochistan is the top priority of the PML (N) government as it believes that development of the province is inextricably linked to development of the entire country.  
Pakistan Government has announced plans to create special economic zones in the province with aims to give a big boost to pace of economic development as this part of Pakistan has immense potentials for industrial development, say officials.  
Gwadar Port located in Balochistan is vital link of the CPEC,a long-term development project worth $62 billion comprising of power plants and energy pipelines, 46 Special Economic Zones (SEZs), fiber optic network, and network of highways and railways linking western China’s Kashgar to a deep-water Gwadar port on Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast.   
Experts say CPEC project will not only benefit Balochistan, Pakistan and China and but will have positive impact on Iran, Afghanistan, India, Central Asian Republics, and the region.
By Muhammad Arif, Source: Agencies

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan Becoming a Hub of Investment and Economic Cctivities under CPEC


Peshawar, July 26: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan is becoming a hub of investment and economic activities under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as more Chinese and foreign companies show interest to invest in natural and mineral resources of the province.
Pervez Khattak, Chief Minister KP said on Monday while presiding over a meeting in Peshawar.
Since the launch of CPEC, several Chinese companies have signed cooperation agreements with KP for power production,mining,transport and establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) alongside the route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
CM said the provincial government is committed to make this mega project a success.
Pervez Khattak said small industrial estates are being established across the province to get maximum benefits from CPEC. He directed for replacement of old machinery in small industrial estates to enhance production.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a long-term development project worth $62 billion comprising of power plants and energy pipelines, 46 Special Economic Zones (SEZs), fiber optic network, and network of highways and railways linking western China’s Kashgar to a deep-water Gwadar port on Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast.
Experts say CPEC project will not only benefit China and Pakistan but will have positive impact on Iran, Afghanistan, India, Central Asian Republics, and the region.
By Muhammad Arif, Source: Web Desk

CPEC: Pakistan to Procure 830 High-Capacity Bogie Freight Wagons,250 Passenger Coaches For Railways Up-gradation


Islamabad, July 24: The federal government of Pakistan has recommended a Rs36.9-billion project for procurement of 830 high-capacity bogie freight wagons and 250 passenger coaches for final approval of the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec). The announcement came during a meeting of the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) chaired by Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal here in Islamabad on Monday.

Officials said these passenger coaches fitted with modern bogies will be able to run at a speed of 160 kilometres per hour. 

Pakistan Railways is going to upgrade its network in the country at a cost of 870 billion rupees, Muhammad Ashfaq Khattak, Railways’ senior officer said while talking to media in Lahore when a 45-member China delegation, visited the city to review the development and progress of projects initiated with Chinese investment in Punjab province.

Railway Officials said the upgradation work of important Railway lines from Lahore to Multan, Nawab Shah to Rohri and Peshawar to Rawalpindi will be started soon.

Pakistan authorities say railways transportation is a critical element of connectivity between Pakistan and China under the CPEC as implementation of railways projects would have a tremendous impact on socio-economic development of the region.

In May 2017 in Beijing, Pakistan signed an agreement with China to upgrade Karachi-Peshawar railway track.

Karachi-Peshawar Line (ML1) will bring revolution in the development of Pakistan Railways, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal said in Islamabad in 2016.

By Muhammad arif

Under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a key part of China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative, China will help Pakistan upgrade its railway system, starting with the Karachi-Peshawar Railway Line, or Main Line 1 (ML1), according to officials of Pakistan Federal Minister for Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform.

Some 1,700-kilometer-long ML1 will cost the $8 billion for upgradation, which is expected to be completed in five years.

The railway system is considered the backbone of Pakistan's economy therefore upgradation will boost rail connectivity and create opportunities in transporting goods between Pakistan and China.