The dedication and untiring efforts of the incumbent government and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) diplomatic, technical staff of both countries have shifted the focus of cooperation from geo-politics to geo-economics by bringing it to fruition, experts said on Sunday. They said that CPEC was playing a key role in transforming the development landscape of Pakistan with the launch of several multi-billion-dollar projects. If one goes through analysis of one decade, the start of CPEC was a concerted move by the then prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 to shift the focus of cooperation from geo-politics to geo-economics. Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Kashf Anwar told APP that today, the premiership of Shehbaz Sharif and leadership of Planning Minister Prof. Ahsan Iqbal – deserve the highest praise for having brought CPEC to its fruition. As of now, more than 150 countries, with 75 per cent of the world’s population and half of the world’s GDP, have signed up to the BRI. CPEC, a principal component of BRI, aims to connect Pakistan’s Gwadar port city to China’s Xinjiang region through a network of roads, railways, and pipelines, he said. To a query Anwar said that CPEC has the potential to significantly impact the entire region. Under CPEC, both governments have decided to overcome the then energy crisis in Pakistan, he said, adding that to guarantee energy security, multiple projects of 17,045MW, worth $33 billion, have been envisaged. As of now, 13 power generation projects with a total installed capacity of 8,020MW have been achieved, including 5,000MW which is based on indigenous fuels (Thar coal, hydel, solar and wind) and fall in the higher merit of dispatch order. These have substantially improved the energy-mix in Pakistan, WAPDA house, official sources told APP . A first-ever 660-kV HVDC transmission line with evacuation capacity of 4,000-MW is also operational. Furthermore, 884-MW Suki-Kinari Hydropower Project is expected to be ready in July 2024. Besides, 700.7-MW Azad Pattan and 1,124-MW Kohala Hydropower, and a 300-MW Gwadar Coal Power project, are all in the pipeline, they confirmed. Recently, a high-level delegation from China reached Pakistan to commemorate the completion of a decade of CPEC, which has reached its climax, reflecting on the journey from vision to reality. According to the London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research, the BRI can expand the world’s GDP by $7.1 trillion per annum by 2040. Over the past 10 years, CPEC has made significant progress amidst challenges and vague controversies such as debt trap, sovereignty and environmental concerns. A senior official of CPEC secretariat, while seeking anonymity told APP that the project has improved connectivity from north to south while laying a foundation for a resilient infrastructure through building motorways, port, airport, and mass transit system. In the early harvest projects, six mega projects of total 510km were completed including the Havelian-Thakot section of KKH, Multan-Sukkur (M-5) Motorway, Hakla-D.I.Khan Motorway, Eastbay Expressway and Orange Line Metro Train, he added. Simiarly, work on various sections of the western alignment of CPEC was underway and expected to finish in July 2024, he informed adding, an optical fiber cable covering 820km has also been laid from Khunjerab to Rawalpindi for digital connectivity. This web of high-quality expressways connecting villages with towns and cities via extended networks of feeder roads caters almost 65 per cent of our population, he informed. Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Prof Ahsan Iqbal, in his recent statement, has highlighted milestone achievements made under CPEC during the last one decade, while deepening relations between the two “Iron Brothers” with each passing day. In industrial cooperation, only four Special Economic Zones (SEZs) out of nine are advancing, Ahsan Iqbal said adding that Rashakai, with 270 acres, was inaugurated in July 2023 with 23 industrial plots already allotted. Likewise, the minister stated that development work at the Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC) is progressing, as 126 plots of the city have been allotted so far. The groundbreaking of Dhabeji was held in July 2023 and civil works are underway. Bostan SEZ, Phase 1 with 200 acres is being developed; 19 industrial plots have been allotted, he added. “Many Chinese businesses are relocating to low-cost destinations but we could not attract them here,” he remarked. This is so because most of these SEZs were to be operational by June 2020 but Covid-19 and grave slackness on the part of the previous regime delayed the fruits of this initiative, he said. In science & technology, capacity building of teachers, regarding STEM education, accreditation, and mutual recognition of engineering education, Joint Research Centre on Earth Sciences, Technology Transfer Centre (TTC), Institute of Smart Semiconductor Technology and Huawei Technical Support Centres are the key initiatives. In agricultural cooperation, the incumbent government has signed various agreements and protocols to exchange high-quality germplasm resources and encourage G2G and B2B cooperation where research organizations and enterprises have joined hands in the fields of animal husbandry, crop cultivation and product processing to enhance export and employment opportunities. CPEC is an effort to facilitate intra-and inter-country connectivity as most of these roads pass through the more remote areas of Pakistan, he expressed, hoping to lead to better mobility, social justice, and national social cohesion.