ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China have agreed to sign a power purchase agreement next month for a 300-megawatts coal power plant to be set up at an estimated cost of $360 million in Balochistan, Pakistani media has reported.
Gwadar, in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, is the crown jewel of China’s $60 billion investment in Belt and Road Initiative projects in Pakistan.
The plan is to turn Gwadar into a trans-shipment hub and megaport to be built alongside special economic zones from which export-focused industries will ship goods worldwide. A web of energy pipelines, roads and rail links will connect Gwadar to China’s western regions.
Last year the Pentagon singled out Gwadar as a possible location for a future Chinese military base, though China has said that is pure speculation.
Officials told The News, a Pakistani daily, on Monday that the signing of the power purchase agreement for a coal plant at Gwadar would take place at the upcoming joint cooperation committee meeting expected to be held in December virtually.
The decision to sign the pact was taken during a meeting of the joint working group on Gwadar.
“The meeting was co-chaired by Planning Ministry Secretary Mathar Niaz Rana from the Pakistan side and National Development and Reform Commission Director General Ying Xiong from the Chinese side,” The News reported.
“Both sides expressed satisfaction over the progress made in port development and Chinese side appreciated the support provided by Pakistan in the port operationalization, particularly enabling Afghan transit trade through Gwadar.”
“With the joint efforts of China and Pakistan, Gwadar Port is fully operating,” Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong said in a tweet last month.
Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, who heads the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor authority, said: “Continuous, coordinated efforts underway to expand Port operations.”
Continuous, coordinated efforts underway to expand Port operations https://t.co/tPZhn1ytW0
— Asim Saleem Bajwa (@AsimSBajwa) November 23, 2020
Other projects discussed included the New Gwadar International Airport and M-8 motorway to connect Gwadar with the rest of the country and beyond, as well as a Pak-China friendship hospital and vocational and technical institute in Gwadar.