[DETAILS] CPEC to initiate ML-1 Railway project while US continues to criticize

Sources state that the railway project, known as Mainline-1 (ML-1), will be built on a cost-sharing basis between Islamabad and Beijing.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) came into existence seven years ago. According to Pakistan’s state news agency, the Chinese Foreign Ministry recently commented on CPEC’s progress saying:

CPEC has seen Beijing pledge over $60 billion for infrastructure projects in Pakistan, central to China’s broader Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to develop land and sea trade routes in Asia and beyond.

Reports state that Beijing had already brought $25 billion in direct investment to Pakistan.

On Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin held his regular briefing. In the briefing, he stated:

Many projects have already been launched and completed under CPEC, including the recent Orange Line Train project in Lahore. It was made operational last month, marking the beginning of the subway era for Pakistan.

The spokesperson further added:

These projects enhance the country’s infrastructure and electricity supply. They have created more than 70,000 direct positions and contributed one to two percentage points to GDP growth. CPEC projects have also enhanced regional connectivity; Pakistan’s neighbor Afghanistan is now importing food and other essential items through Pakistan’s Chinese-funded deepwater port of Gwadar.

Wenbin expressed future plans about Gwadar, the crown jewel of CPEC. He stated that the goal is to turn the port city into a trans-shipment hub and mega port.

His idea is to build the hub and port alongside special economic zones from which export-focused industries will ship goods worldwide. When the project is constructed, a web of energy pipelines, roads, and rail links will connect Gwadar to China’s western regions.

Regarding the Gwadar plan, the spokesperson said:

Gwadar port, since the first half of this year, started shipping cargo, weighing about 20,000 tons that carried wheat, sugar, and fertilizers to Afghanistan. This project created about 1,000 jobs.

Concluding the briefing, Wenbin said:

China’s commitment to CPEC would continue as the two countries collaborated to implement our leaders’ consensus.

It should be noted that in August, Pakistan’s top economic body approved its costliest project to date as part of the multibillion-dollar CPEC agreement, giving the go-ahead for a $6.8 billion project to upgrade its railway lines.

Sources state that the railway project, known as Mainline-1 (ML-1), will be built on a cost-sharing basis between Islamabad and Beijing.

When the project’s idea turns into reality, Pakistan’s existing 2,655km railway tracks will be upgraded, allowing trains to move up to 165km per hour – twice as fast as they currently do. Alongside this, the line capacity will increase from 34 to over 150 trains each way per day.

While CPEC is continually excelling, many other western countries continue to criticize its existence. The United States believes:

The projects under the CPEC are not sufficiently transparent and will saddle Pakistan with the burden of expensive Chinese loans.

It is pertinent to mention that both China and Pakistan have continuously downplayed such concerns over the years.

What are your thoughts on this? Please share with us in the comment section below.

  • CPEC is flagship project for the future of Pakistan’s Economic development. It has no financial burden in days to come on Pakistan. It will help to retire Pakistan’s old debt.

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