ISLAMABAD: The much-awaited meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be held on Friday, July 16, with the aim of further expanding the scope of cooperation between the two countries and expediting its projects.
The JCC meeting, which is being held after a gap of over one-and-a-half years, will be attended by ministers and officials of Pakistan and China through video link.
“The much-awaited JCC meeting will open new vistas for the CPEC and expedite work on the under-construction projects,” said CPEC chairman retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa on Saturday.
Says Railway Main Line-1 project likely to be put on fast track after the huddle
He said the meeting would help enhance cooperation between the two countries in the fields of science and technology, agriculture, industries and the Gwadar Port. “More infrastructure-related projects will also be pledged in the JCC meeting,” he said.
The construction of Railway Main Line-1 (ML-1) project would likely be put on fast track after the meeting as Pakistani officials would underline the need to expedite work on the project during the meeting, said Mr Bajwa.
The construction of ML-1 project in three phases was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council in its meeting held in August last year. Initially the cost of the project was $9 billion, including equity amount from the government of Pakistan. But later on the cost was reduced to $6.8bn.
Parliamentary Secretary for Planning, Development and Reform Kanwal Shauzab informed the National Assembly a few months ago that the total cost of the CPEC projects, including ML-1, was approximately $50bn.
Mr Bajwa expressed the hope that the meeting would be positive and decisions on many pending road projects would likely be taken in it.
He said decisions were taken in principle at the meetings of the JCC while the details were decided at the meetings of Joint Working Groups. “The JCC is the highest decision-making forum in the CPEC which reviews progress made on the mega project. The forum also decides on future projects,” he said.
The last JCC meeting was held in November of 2019 when Khusro Bakhtiar was the minister for planning.
When the JCC was formed in 2015, its meetings were held after every six months.
Mr Bajwa said the 10th meeting of the JCC would be held via video link and it would be co-chaired by Planning Minister Asad Umar and Vice Chairman of China’s National Development and Reforms Commission Ning Jizhe.
In response to a question, he agreed that normally the JCC meet at least once a year but its 10th meeting was being held after considerable delay because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2021