The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s (CPEC) projects have played a key role in taking Pakistan’s economy to the next level of growth and this has become possible under the strong leadership of Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa who has recently stepped down as the CPEC Authority chairman.

He blew a new life into CPEC projects including making Gwadar port functional, adding the required power production capacity of more than 5,000 megawatts to the national grid, which was a must to move the wheels of industrial output forward, accelerating work on new Gwadar airport and expanding roads network all the way (3,000km) from Gwadar-Pakistan to Kashgar-China.

Bajwa was appointed as chief of the CPEC Authority for a period of four years in November 2019. During his voluntary services at the authority, he made untiring efforts to not only implement CPEC projects in a speedy way, but he also played a key role in further strengthening friendly ties between the all seasons friends Beijing and Islamabad. He introduced one-window operation to put speedy wheel to CPEC projects and attracted new investment worth billions of dollars into Pakistan from China. The credit for expansion of the scope of CPEC goes to him. He worked for socio-economic development of Pakistan round-the-clock.

He made CPEC a success story world over without utilising state resources during his services at chief of the authority. He made the Matiari transmission line operational. Three more joint working groups were introduced during his time. While welcoming the new SAPM on CPEC affairs, the Chinese envoy lauded the contribution of Bajwa to the mega project.

“Congratulations to Mr Khalid Mansoor & looking forward to jointly promoting #CPEC with high quality development. Pay special tribute to Mr @AsimSBajwa for your contribution in advancing CPEC. Our cooperation will be valued, friendship cherished, and efforts recognised,” Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong said on his official Twitter handle.

“Thank you Excellency, was an honour working with you for high quality development of #CPEC to our mutual benefit. I always believe CPEC is our life line and will become a reality, given our commitment. We made immense progress together and I will always cherish our friendship,” Bajwa said in reply to Ambassador Rong’s tweet.

Earlier last month, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, “CPEC has entered a new phase of development and reviewed progress including New Gwadar Airport, 300MW power plant, desalination plant & Gwadar Free Zone,” Qureshi on his official Twitter handle last month.

“I bow my head before Allah Almighty for giving me an opportunity to raise and steer the important institution of CPEC Authority as one-window for all CPEC projects, charting the future direction,” Bajwa stated. It would not have been possible without full confidence and support of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government, he added. “The course is set for future progression of CPEC, this journey will go on.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2021.

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