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Pakistan Government Seeks Chinese Support for Hydropower Projects

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is actively engaging with Chinese leadership to revive over 1800 megawatts of hydropower projects (HPPs) and attract fresh investment from Chinese companies into the country’s transmission and distribution network as part of the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Efforts are underway to convene a meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of the cabinet on May 22-23 to ensure the success of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s upcoming visit to Beijing early next month.

A high-level delegation, led by Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, is presently in China to engage with existing investors and financial institutions, as well as to encourage new firms to invest in the transmission and distribution network under CPEC’s second phase.

In addition to seeking fresh investments in transmission projects, Pakistan aims to attract Chinese firms to participate in the distribution sector, aligning with the government’s push for private sector involvement through privatization or long-term concession agreements.

The delegation, which includes Prime Minister’s Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi and Ambassador to China Khalil Hashmi, held meetings with leaderships of three top companies and the National Energy Administration of China in Beijing on Thursday.

During the meetings, the Chinese companies specializing in power transmission showcased their expertise and discussed practical applications in other countries. Both sides agreed that Chinese experts would meet with Pakistani power sector officials visiting Beijing the following week.

Furthermore, Chinese companies will share a list of questions to gather detailed data on Pakistan’s power sector, enabling them to provide informed advice. Chinese experts will also meet with federal ministers for energy and petroleum during their visits to Beijing in the coming week.

After analyzing the necessary data and meetings with Pakistani officials, Chinese companies will conduct further studies and engage with relevant stakeholders in Pakistan. This groundwork aims to facilitate high-level talks between China and Pakistan early next month.

Additionally, the delegation met with Zhang Jianghua, chairman of the National Energy Administration of China, emphasizing the importance of the Green Corridor announced by Vice Premier He Lifeng during his recent visit to Pakistan.

The Pakistani delegation outlined the government’s commitment to reviving the original momentum of the CPEC project and its dedication to high-quality development. Discussions also included initiatives to enhance energy management systems and improve safety and security measures for Chinese nationals working on projects in Pakistan.

Both sides reiterated their commitment to diversifying the energy mix, with a focus on clean and renewable energy sources. Minister Iqbal sought continued Chinese cooperation for the timely implementation of the Azad Pattan and Kohala hydropower projects, with plans to hold the next round of the Joint Working Group meeting on Energy (JEWG) soon.

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