Prime Minister Imran Khan witnessed the signing ceremony.
Addressing the ceremony, the prime minister said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project will prove to be a milestone in the country’s development and prosperity.
“The CPEC is the future of Pakistan.”
The premier further said time would prove the long term benefits of the CPEC project, which was based upon economic cooperation between Pakistan and China.
He said Pakistan could learn a lot from China in realms of economic progress and prosperity as the country was fast emerging as world economic power.
He expressed the optimism that in the future, they would learn from the Chinese experiences. The CPEC had different phases with various bright aspects for prosperity and progress, he added.
Referring to the signing of the agreement, PM Imran said it was part of the investment to complete a power project based upon the clean energy.
Unlike past, the project would not burden the people, he said and mentioned the previous governments’ costly projects which were made functional with imported fuel, thus increasing the cost of energy manifold and stressing the local currency.
The prime minister said due to those policies, the power industry ran into losses impacting the consumers.
He regretted that the country could not compete with its neighbouring countries in terms of generating the low-cost energy.
He said the hydro-power generation was considered as a big source of clean energy which was also in line with his government’s policy of ‘Clean and Green Pakistan’ and regarded as environment friendly.
Meanwhile, Lt Gen (retd) Bajwa said 3000 jobs would be created through the mega project and it would provide an annual income of Rs1.38 billion to Punjab and Azad Kashmir from water use.
He added, “With an investment of $1.5 billion, no fuel import, we are moving towards cheaper and greener power.”
Last year in November, Pakistan and China agreed to include 700 megawatts Azad Pattan hydropower project under the CPEC. which is to be financed through Chinese currency.
Azad Pattan hydropower project is a run-of-the-river scheme on the River Jhelum, in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir, with a capability of four hours of daily peaking.
The project would be located near the Azad Pattan bridge upstream of 720 MW Karot hydropower project and downstream of 640 MW Mahal hydropower project and would be part of the River Jhelum hydel cascade.
The project would deliver approximately 3.3 billion units of clean, renewable energy in the grid after its completion in 2026.
Being developed under the 2002 power policy, the project would be transferred free of cost to the government after the term.