Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong calls on Asif Zardari, Bilawal

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KARACHI: The Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong called on the former President Asif Ali Zardari and Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at Bilawal House on Tuesday. The delegation also met Sindh CM and Sindh government official to discuss different projects.

The Ambassador was accompanied by Defence Attache Major General Chen Wen Rong, Consul General Karachi Li Bijian and other diplomats who exchanged views with the PPP leadership on areas of mutual cooperation and long standing brotherly relations between the two neighbouring nations and the two political parties, the PPP and CPC.

Asif Ali Zardari and Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari thanked the Chinese government for all its bilateral cooperation in setting up the monumental CPEC project after Gwadar port was granted to China by President Zardari, and the assistance by the Chinese government to the people of Pakistan in the provision of essential vaccine aid to prevent COVID-19.

Both sides agreed to build on this strong relationship and undying bond nurtured over three generations of the PPP and the CPC.

Delegation meets with Sindh CM

The Chinese delegation led by Ambassador Mr Nong Rong also held a meeting with with Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.

KCR: The chief minister told the delegation that on the request of his government Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) was included in CPEC on December 3, 2016. The project was approved and included in 6th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC). He added that the project was approved by ECNEC at a cost of $1.97 billion in October 2017.

Mr Shah said that KCR had been part of all JCC and in all the meetings it was stated a feasible and viable project but there were major obstacles that needed to be removed.

He added that the obstacles include sharing of framework agreement by PD&SI with NDRC, sovereign Guarantee by finance Division, concessional finance request to Chinese government by federal government, right of way for KCR at common corridor between ML-1 and KCR.

Murad Ali Shah said that he has been requesting the federal government to resolve the issues, but the issues were remained unaddressed. “In the 9th JCC meeting the KCR was again discussed and it was resolved that the Pakistan side will submit the financing request to the Chinese side,” he said and added but it has not been submitted yet.

Talking about the current status of the KCR, Mr Shah said that the federal government included two projects in PSDP-2020-21. They were Rs1.85 billion organization of train on existing KCR alignment and Revival of KCR Phase-II for Rs8.7 billion. He added that he has included three projects in provincial ADP 2020-21. They included revival of KCR (CPEC framework) for Rs207.5 billion, construction of boundary fencing along the KCR alignment for Rs2.3 million and construction of underpasses/flyovers on railway crossing along KCR route for RS5 billion and FWO has been engaged for construction.

The visiting delegation assured the chief minister that they would take up the KCR projects in the CPEC related meeting.

Keti Bandar: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that Keti Bandar was located about 107 km from Thatta city and 150 km from Karachi via Gharo which is very promising in terms of future prospects.

He added that the Keti Bandar project was an important part of the Sindh government strategy towards developing the energy sector.

Mr Shah said that 4000 acres of land has been identified for the project and feasibility study has been completed for installation of 1320 MW power plant along with a railway line, coal jetty and allied infrastructures.

He added that financial viability assessment and bid management report has also been completed and the transaction advice report was being awaited.

The CM said that the project was a part of CPEC framework since 2017.

The other projects which came under discussion included Thar coal energy, infrastructure, special Economic Zone, Dhabeji, KCR, socio-economic development projects.