ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China have decided to expedite cooperation in the field of agriculture under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and an important meeting in this regard is expected to be held next month, an official in Ministry of Planning, Development, and Reform said.
The official said that the cooperation was being extended with a special focus on boosting cooperation in the areas of climate change, desertification control, desalination, water management, afforestation and ecological restoration, wetland protection and restoration, wildlife protection, forestry industry development, disaster management and risk reduction and other areas of mutual interest.
"A sub group of CPEC agriculture sector has been elevated to a full-fledged joint working group and its meeting is planned to be held next month," he added.
Meanwhile he said that a team of Chinese Socio-Economic Development experts was visiting Pakistan in the last week of current month to finalize the projects and their sites in already agreed six different areas under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) including health, education, water supply, vocational training, poverty alleviation and agriculture.
To a question he said work on all the CPEC projects was going on in a smooth way none of the CPEC projects is facing delay; rather Pakistan and China are agreed on the future trajectory of the CPEC and timely completion of its on-going projects.
For future, he said joint efforts are underway, focusing on socio-economic development and accelerating cooperation in industrial development as well as agriculture.
The MoU on the formation of JWG on Socio-economic development and MoU on Poverty Reduction has been signed during the Prime Minister's visit to China in November this year, the official added.
Recognizing the significance of Gwadar as an important node in cross-regional connectivity and the central pillar of CPEC, he said Pakistan and China have agreed to speed up the progress on the port and its auxiliary projects.
The groundbreaking of New Gwadar Airport, vocational institute and hospital are planned in the 1st quarter of this year.
Gwadar Master Plan is being prepared and it is in the final stages of formulation.
Huge investment is expected in the petrochemical sector at Gwadar, he said.
Besides, he said Pakistan and China have expedited the work on industrial cooperation under CPEC and the government has expedited development of economic zones by prioritizing Rashakai, Dhabajhi Faisalabad and ICT SEZs with a vision to make 2019 as a year of industrial development under CPEC.
He said ML-1 designs and scope are being firmed up jointly and government of Pakistan had prioritized implementation of Western Route project with a focus to expedite development of D I Khan-Zhob and Zhob-Quetta sections in order to ensure uplift of less developed areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
The completion of two early projects of CPEC; Peshawar-Karachi Motorway (Multan-Sukkur) and KKH Phase II (Thakot -Havelian) are planned in August 2019 and March 2020 respectively but both the projects are expected to be completed ahead of given schedule, he expressed.