Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday said it was his personal interest and commitment to build economic zones in Pakistan, particularly in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He was speaking during a visit to the Rashakai Special Economic Zone. Rashakai SEZ is a flagship project under the industrial cooperation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework. The 1,000 acres SEZ is developed by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) in a joint venture with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Economic Zones Development and Management Company (KPEZDMC). Shehbaz said that Pakistan can send its delegates from Rashakai to China and can have road shows there to attract Chinese investors to these places. “We would like to engage Chinese companies to provide expertise and experience to manage other new economic zones in Pakistan,” he said. Earlier, the PM said both countries were moving toward the second phase of CPEC, which comprised regional cooperation and industrialization through establishing industrial zones. In an interview with Chinese media, he said Pakistan’s skilled and semi-skilled labour was comparatively cheaper and the joint venture of Chinese technology and Pakistan’s labour and investment would help the two countries make production at competitive rates and export their products to other countries. He said the first phase of CPEC featured road and energy projects to meet Pakistan’s power needs which transformed friendly relations into unique ones where people-to-people contacts had seen a new phase. He said Pakistan and China enjoyed time-tested friendship which had attained more heights under the leadership of President Xi Jinping. He said in form of CPEC, Pakistan had been the first beneficiary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). To a question, the prime minister said the CPEC projects had faced some hiccups during last three to four years, however, the incumbent government was resolved to take it to “Pakistan Speed” to fill the gap. He directed the authorities concerned to ensure strict compliance of timelines of the projects. The prime minister, who also took a round of the Zone, said industrial development and revenue increase required joint efforts for Pakistan’s progress and prosperity. The prime minister, inviting the Chinese companies to invest in Pakistan, said the companies from both the countries could benefit from each other’s expertise. The development of SEZs in smaller provinces was government’s priority, he added. The Sui Northern Gas Pipeline has ensured gas supply to the Zone while National Transmission and Dispatch Company is installing a grid station for power transmission to the area. Meanwhile, Shehbaz Sharif directed the ministry concerned for an early resolution of administrative, financial and development issues faced by Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. The prime minister, in a meeting with Advisor on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira, said the issues should be resolved at the earliest in coordination with the Planning Commission and the finance ministry. He also called for utilizing all-out resources for the purpose. During the meeting, the prime minister was briefed on the administrative, financial and development matters pertaining to the Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. Minister for Economic Affairs Sardar Ayaz Sadiq also attended the meeting. They also discussed the overall political and economic situation of the country.