Islamabad, 26 July 2022 (TDI): The Pre Joint Coordination Committee meeting was held in Islamabad. Federal Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives of Pakistan, Ahsan Iqbal, presided over the meeting.

The agenda was to review the progress made in preparation for the 11th JCC session expected to be convened next month.

Sohail Mahmood, the Foreign Secretary, provided a thorough update on the third JWG meeting for international cooperation and coordination that was held virtually on July 22, 2022.

China, as per the Foreign Secretary, welcomed Pakistan’s efforts to establish a secure and convenient business environment as well as Pakistan’s dedication to complete CPEC at “Pakistan Speed.” Also considered were third-party involvement & expansion of CPEC to Afghanistan.

Sohail Mahmood, the Foreign Secretary, provided a thorough update on the third JWG meeting

It was also mentioned that in order to further strengthen the strategic economic cooperation under CPEC, cooperation between thematic think tanks on both sides should be encouraged.

The Minister was also made aware of the plans for raising awareness of CPEC on a national and international scale. The agenda for the upcoming 9th JEWG meeting, which is planned to take place in the first week of August, was highlighted by Power Division.

It was disclosed that the 1320 MW Thar Coal Power Plant Project as well as the 1124 MW Kohala and 700.7 MW Azad Pattan HPPs will be discussed with the Chinese side at the next planned JEWG conference.

The agenda also includes a joint study for the development of Thar Coal in the future. The Minister emphasized that steps have been taken to ensure that Gwadar city has enough power and the necessity for future renewable energy projects for Gwadar city development.

The meeting was also briefed by the Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunications (IC&T) on the agenda of the upcoming 2nd JWG on IT, with a focus on the development of ICT infrastructure, policy & regulations, human resource development, and cyber security.

As China has emerged as the world leader in artificial intelligence, cooperation with China in this area has great promise for Pakistan. Along these lines, the Minister for Planning highlighted the importance of cooperation with China in the IT sector.

Projects in the socioeconomic and agricultural sectors were also considered for the next 11th JCC meeting. In the agriculture sector, it was underscored that Pakistani exports have a major potential due to China’s developing agricultural market.

In the framework of CPEC, Pakistan’s agriculture should be modernized and mechanized, along with other initiatives to support agricultural growth and access to the Chinese market for the mutual benefit of the two nations.

A representative from M/o National Food Security specifically highlighted FMD and quarantine concerns as significant barriers to meat export to China and assured the chair that they are being addressed first with Chinese cooperation.

The Minister stressed the value of the China-Pakistan people-to-people exchange programme and how it would help the nation’s economy in his concluding remarks.

He gave the Secretary of Planning instructions to design a strategy to increase interactions under CPEC so that next leaders in all fields can observe Chinese progress and internalize it for Pakistani development.

The meeting was virtually attended by the P&D departments of the provinces and special areas as well as other pertinent stakeholders from throughout the nation.