CPEC enters next phase of development

In this file photo, Chinese worker stands near trucks carrying goods during the opening of a trade project in Gwadar port, some 700 km west of the Pakistani city of Karachi on Nov. 13, 2016. (AFP)
Updated 17 November 2018
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CPEC enters next phase of development

  • The best of CPEC is yet to come, says Sen. Mushahid Hussain
  • The two sides agree to focus on new Gwadar airport, socioeconomic development

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad and Beijing on Thursday decided to prioritize the conclusion of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that are associated with Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar, ahead of a Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) session scheduled tentatively for the first week of December in Beijing.
The JCC is CPEC’s lead policymaker. Seven ministerial sessions of the committee have been held since the project’s inception.
The two sides agreed to focus on the new Gwadar international airport, socioeconomic development, a hospital, and professional and technical institutes.      
Pakistan has emphasized improvement of its railways, special economic zones and third-country participation, which will be discussed at the eighth JCC meeting.
Sen. Mushahid Hussain, chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute, told Arab News: “The best of CPEC is yet to come. Total outlay as of now is $61 billion, which is the single biggest bilateral project between two countries since World War II.”
He said: “The next phase of CPEC includes agriculture, culture, tourism, information technology, education and youth exchanges.”
Li Xiguang, director of China’s Tsinghua University, told Arab News that if both governments negotiate a mutually beneficial deal on Pakistani agricultural exports, especially cotton and sticky rice, “that would sell very well in China and fetch a high price.”      
Li praised soil quality across the four provinces of Pakistan, whose agriculture sector makes up to 20 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) and has attracted Chinese entrepreneurs seeking land for farming since CPEC’s inception.
Hussain said: “You’re looking at job creation, manufacturing, and a better tomorrow for our people.”


Bulgaria seizes 288 kilos of heroin in truck from Iran

Updated 55 min 16 sec ago
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Bulgaria seizes 288 kilos of heroin in truck from Iran

  • Two men — the Iranian truck driver and a Turkish man, who was allegedly to receive the drugs in Bulgaria — were detained and indicted for drug trafficking

SOFIA: Bulgarian customs officials confiscated more than 288 kilo (635 pounds) of heroin hidden on a truck from Iran, prosecutors announced Thursday.

The haul is the biggest amount of heroin seized at Bulgaria’s borders this year, the customs agency said.

Two men — the Iranian truck driver and a Turkish man, who was allegedly to receive the drugs in Bulgaria — were detained and indicted for drug trafficking, the Haskovo regional prosecution said in a statement. They risk jail terms from 15 to 20 years, it added.

The drugs were placed in 144 packages hidden inside the floor and ceiling of a spray painting machine transported inside the truck.

It was found when the vehicle was X-rayed upon entering Bulgaria from Turkey at the southeastern Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint on Sunday, but the seizure was only announced on Thursday.

Bulgaria, which lies on the so-called Balkan drugs route from the Middle East to Western Europe, has seen a several-fold increase in heroin seizures over the past three years.

In 2018, the customs agency confiscated a total of 994 kilos of heroin at the country’s borders, a rise of 13 percent from 2017.