China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: A timeline

China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor 2

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China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects pick up pace

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1 October 2016 update: Iran and Saudi Arabia – both on the opposite side of the worldview and everything that comes with it including Middle East conflicts and proxy wars – are eager to join CPEC. Now, this calls for some celebration.

30 Sept: Chinese government and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have agreed to to lend Pakistan $8 billion to upgrade the main railway line (ML-1) from Karachi to Peshawar. With this loan, CPEC is now worth $51.5 billion. China’s concessional loan amounts to $5.5 billion, while ADB financing of $2.5 billion is for the Lahore-Peshawar railway track.

29 Sept: China and Pakistan have agreed to hold 6th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting in the last week of November to discuss and approve a future roadmap of Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Check this: Wali on The Pakistan 2050 Opportunity

29 August: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the CPEC Summit and Expo at Islamabad’s Pakistan-China Friendship Centre. It is attended by Chinese and Pakistani investors. Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong also spoke.

18 August: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed formulation of a mechanism for continuously reviewing the progress and speedy implementation of all the projects under CPEC. Addressing the federal cabinet meeting in Islamabad he expressed satisfaction over the pace of ongoing energy and infrastructure projects under the CPEC and directed that the timelines of all the projects must be met.

20 July: Amid rumours of discontent on part of the Chinese government about CPEC, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong quashed all such rumours, saying that China was “satisfied with the smooth implementation on the corridor”. “China is satisfied with the pace of implementation of the CPEC project. CPEC is under smooth implementation, and will deliver mutual benefits to both countries and peoples of the whole region,” said the ambassador.

24 May: Gwadar has been made tax free for 40 years for local and foreign investors.

6 May: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the construction of Sukkur-Multan Motorway. The six-lane, 393km motorway is part of the eastern route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and will complete in three years at a cost of Rs294 billion. The motorway will begin at Multan and terminate at Sukkur after passing through Jalalpur Pirwala, Ahmedpur East, Ubauro and Pano Aqil.

3 February: PASNI/HOSHAB: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurates 193km-long Gwadar-Turbat-Hoshab Motorway (M-8) in Balochistan. The portion of motorway, mostly constructed by Frontier Works Organization (FWO) to serve all Gwadar-bound traffic, is a vital part of western, central and eastern routes of CPEC. Later, PM Sharif and the Army Chief drove in a car together to inspect the project.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor map

29 June 2016 update: Rs 49 billion have been set aside for western route of CPEC under PSDP. Also, how CPEC connects all four neighbours – China, India, Iran and Afghanistan

22 January: Main railway line from Karachi to Peshawar is being upgraded under CPEC. On the completion of this CPEC project by year 2020 with the help of Chinese government, speed on main line will be increased from 105km per hour to 160km per hour.

15 January: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a meeting of the heads of all the parliamentary parties to redress their reservations over the CPEC. This is the second All Parties Conference (APC) on CPEC. The first APC was held on 28 May 2015.

official map of CPEC - Highway Construction Program

12 January: On his Facebook page, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal uploads this official map of CPEC Highway Construction Program as included in Transportation Plan showing western route.

one corridor, multiple passages

1 January 2016: ‘One corridor, multiple passages’ is the consensus, says the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad.

30 December 2015: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif laid the foundation stone of the western route (N-50 and N-70 sections of Zhob-Mughalkot Carriageway) of CPEC in Zhob. He was accompanied by ministers Abdul Qadir Baloch, Jam Kamal and NSA Nasir Janjua, and political leaders Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Mehmood Khan Achakzai.

21 December: A major installation and upgradation of railway tracks under the CPEC is announced. New railway tracks will be laid from Gwadar to Quetta and Jacobabad via Besima, Radio Pakistan said.

Some 560km of railway track will be laid from Bostan to Kotla Jam on main line-II via Zhob and Dera Ismail Khan, while 682km of track will be laid from Havelian to Khunjrab.

Upgradation of 1,872km of railway track from Karachi to Peshawar via Kotri, Multan, Lahore and Rawalpindi (including Taxila-Havelian) – along with dualisation of track from Shahdara to Peshawar – will also be carried out.

Some 1,254km of railway track from Kotri to Attock City via Dadu, Larkana, Jacobabad, DG Khan, Bhakkar, Kundian will be upgraded.

The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved the CPEC’s 118km-long Havelian-Thakot and 392km Sukkur-Multan sections of roads.

CPEC is one of 6 planned corridors of: China’s world-reshaping $225B One Belt, One Road (OBOR)

10 December: China Railway Construction Corporation said its unit, China Railway 20th Bureau Group Co, and Zahir Khan and Brothers Engineers and Constructors have secured a $1.46 billion contract to build the 1,152km section of Karachi-Lahore motorway. – The Economic Times.

27 July: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the Peshawar-Karachi motorway should be completed by 2017, energy projects under CPEC to be fast-tracked and Gwadar International Airport to be completed in the shortest possible time.

10 July: Pakistan becomes full-time member of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

28 May: Western alignment of CPEC from Khunjrab to Gwadar to be completed first on priority basis. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gains support of all political parties on CPEC. The route is via Hasan Abdal, Mianwali, D.I. Khan, Zhob and all the way to Gwadar.

22 April: Chinese President Xi Jinping concluded his Pakistan visit and signed agreements worth an unprecedented US$46 billion.


17 April: A Special Security Division (SSD) is being set up for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, consisting of nine battalions of the army and six battalions of the civilian forces. $250 million sanctioned for army force to guard Chinese personnel working on CPEC – $60 million annual budget.

11 March: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the first phase of the Karachi-Lahore (M-9) Motorway, which will cost Rs 36 billion. M-9 will facilitate people commuting between Karachi and major cities including Sukkur, Badin, Ghotki, Rohri, Dadu, Pannu Aqil, Ubaro, Sadiqabad, Rahim Yar Khan, Zahir Pir, Jalalpur Peerwala, Abdul Hakim, Mamu Kanjan and Nankana Sahib.


Industrial parks and special economic zones are part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) MoU recently agreed between the leaders of the two countries.

The key pre-requisite for the establishment of these zones are resolution of the energy crisis and building of a competitive infrastructure in Pakistan.

See also: 

Ground breaking of $7.6B TAPI gas pipeline in Turkmenistan

Is trade with post-sanctions Iran another Godsend after China?

how cpec will benefit china China-Pakistan Economic Corridor map

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a 15-year plan and will be completed in four phases:

2018: Early Harvest

2020: Short Term

2025: Medium Term

2030: Long Term

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor CPEC

How CPEC will benefit China: The above two maps tell why CPEC is more critical for China – perhaps more than Pakistan. And why this is likely to go ahead at all costs.

Pakistan: The brighter side:

Harvard predicts Pakistan GDP to grow by 5% over next 10 years

Pakistan to upgrade to emerging-market status

Forbes calls Pakistan the next Colombia success story, asks US to see beyond security lens

Bloomberg on Pakistan’s economic revival, construction boom

Naya Pakistan: Travel from Pindi to Islamabad in 20¢ in wifi-ed AC bus

Rs 154B Orange Line Metro Train for Lahore

Green Line train from Islamabad to Karachi with free wifi

Groundbreaking of Karachi’s Green Line Bus project

Pakistan is enjoying a rare period of optimism: The Economist

Pakistan is less corrupt than last year. This is good news. What’s the bad news?

Pakistan world’s least expensive country: World Bank

Pakistan petrol prices 18th lowest in the world

Energy and infrastructure

The first phase of the economic corridor is focused on $45.6 billion worth of energy and infrastructure projects. China’s state-owned banks will finance Chinese companies to fund, build and operate $45.6 billion worth of energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan over the next six years, according to Reuters.

Major Chinese companies investing in Pakistan’s energy sector will include China’s Three Gorges Corp which built the world’s biggest hydro power project, and China Power International Development Ltd.

Under the agreement signed by Chinese and Pakistani leaders at a Beijing summit recently, $15.5 billion worth of coal, wind, solar and hydro energy projects will come online by 2017 and add 10,400 megawatts of energy to the national grid. An additional 6,120 megawatts will be added to the national grid at a cost of $18.2 billion by 2021.

The transport and communication infrastructure – roads, railways, cable and oil and gas pipelines – will stretch 2,700 kilometers from Gwadar on the Arabian Sea to the Khunjerab Pass at the China-Pakistan border in the Karakorams.

Starting this year, the Chinese companies will invest an average of over $7 billion a year until 2021, a figure exceeding the previous record of $5.5 billion foreign direct investment in 2007 in Pakistan.


See also, some other indices on Pakistan:

Pakistani passport ranked second worst for international travel

Everything about Pakistan’s competitiveness – in 10 photos

Pakistan 15th most powerful military in the world

Pakistani nationality ranks second least valuable in the world

In World Bank’s 2016 Doing Business Report, Pakistan ranks 138

Pakistan is now world’s 40th largest economy

Pakistan at rock bottom in Human Capital Index 2015

Pakistan ranks 5th in terrorism-affected countries list

Pakistan world’s 14th most fragile country

As S Asia ups economic game, Pakistan risks falling behind: WSJ. The question is why?

Pakistan, Afghanistan only two remaining polio endemic countries

Pakistan #106 in Good Country Index

91% Pakistanis have access to drinking water: Unicef/WHO

Pakistan 65th most vulnerable country to face climate change

Which country has the worst air pollution? | Hint: Pakistan

Special economic zones

Beyond the initial phase, there are plans to establish special economic zones in the Corridor where Chinese companies will locate factories.

Extensive manufacturing collaboration between the two neighbours will include a wide range of products from cheap toys and textiles to consumer electronics and supersonic fighter planes.

The basic idea of an industrial corridor is to develop a sound industrial base, served by competitive infrastructure as a prerequisite for attracting investments into export oriented industries and manufacturing.

Such industries have helped a succession of countries like Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, China and now even Vietnam rise from low-cost manufacturing base to more advanced, high-end exports.

As a country’s labour gets too expensive to be used to produce low-value products, some poorer country takes over and starts the climb to prosperity.

Once completed, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor with a sound industrial base and competitive infrastructure combined with low labour costs is expected to draw growing FDI from manufacturers in many other countries looking for a low-cost location to build products for exports to rich OECD nations.

13 May 2015: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was aimed at economic progress of the entire region. He was addressing parliamentary leaders gathered at the Prime Minister House for the All Parties Conference for a briefing on the CPEC.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

The projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and three routes explained.

More on China’s economic & military rise & Xi Jinping:

How China overtakes the US economy

With a parade, China announces itself as the next superpower: TIME

Xi Jinping: most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong

The World Bank, meet your challenger: China-led AIIB

What the world will be like in year 2100

In a few years, people may live up to 100 years

The world’s most spoken languages

Key challenges

While the commitment is there on both sides to make the corridor a reality, there are many challenges that need to be overcome. The key ones are maintaining security and political stability, ensuring transparency, good governance and quality of execution.

These challenges are not unsurmountable but overcoming these does require serious effort on the part of both sides, particularly on the Pakistani side.


China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is an ambitious effort by the two countries that will lead to greater investment and rapid industrialisation of Pakistan.

Successful implementation of it will be a game-changer for the people of Pakistan in terms of new economic opportunities leading to higher income and significant improvement in the living standards for ordinary Pakistanis.

Source:, agencies, news reports

Check out also:

When Chinese Leadership style meets Pakistani: Wali’s Talk PPt for China Mobile/Zong strategy team

Do not miss our Understanding Pakistan Series

Wali on The Pakistan 2050 Opportunity

Wali on Pakistan of future

A miracle: Pakistan score in Long Term Orientation goes from Zero to 50

Pakistani culture through 6-D Model

Native languages in Pakistan

How future oriented are we?

How we messed up Pakistan: A series by Wali

Pakistan’s two value crimes no one talks about

Project Ignorance is launched


  1. The people involved in construction are facing aggregate shortage, soon there will be cement shortage, skilled labor shortage… but this is inertia… once the ball sets rolling, there are going to be MAJOR changes… permanent increase labor in cost… might improve their living standard.

    1. Pakistani politician are really taking CPEC seriously because this project is all about the survival of Pakistan in the current global world.

  2. Glad to view above detailed CPEC road map,mission & vision, now it is the time to built a new strong & rich Pakistan for our new generation & for this we all the nation have to work for it. And if politicians want to change their negative image in front of the nation it is GOLDEN chance for them using their day and night efforts for accomplishment of CPEC.

  3. Dear Wali

    Thanks for a very comprehensive & yet concise write-up on CPEC. After many years there is an opportunity for our country to be really on the way to real progress, the gaps which had emerged can be plugged in collaboration with China.

    The projects & opportunities are real, GOP focus after struggling on this opportunity for last 2 years is becoming focused and execution oriented, let us see if it can sustain, once the ball gets rolling, it will open up Balochistan to mainstream and for me this is the biggest opportunity and win strategy.

    I hope our political elite can develop this with inclusive development & mainstreaming the benefits to the regional people. It would be interesting to see how things pan out in the future.

    Just a comment on Power target is coal both imported and local, hydro, wind & solar, as part of CPEC now there is transmission network projects two of them for evacuating power from South to North which will take power to the load centres. Let’s hope this becomes reality.

  4. Simpy wow, truly magnificent plan. If this is materialized then entire world will view Pakistan differently.

    As an Indian, I have always pitched for politically stable and economically sound Pakistan.

    Success of CPEC will no doubt transform Pakistan and usher it in new era of prosperity but will also prove key to India’s security & stability.

    Best wishes to People of Pakistan.
    Vikas Lohia
    Catch me on Twitter

    1. Thank you dear Vikas Lohia; feels good to read your comments. Most certainly a sane voice and reflects the spirit we have been looking for vis-a-vis normal ties and relations between our two countries. You are right; fair and successful execution of the project CPEC is ought to be a game and perspective changer. Of course the world view of the region is destined to change.

      Love and respect from Pakistan as well,

      Adnan Ahmed Varaich

      1. It is the plan of handing over Pakistan to China…China will mostly be benefited as it directly says it will reduce the time travelling via current sea route to Gulf.

        China will build everything here with their own companies and workers. Will install new manufacturing sectors of its requirement and take out resource from Pakistan. Pakistan’s local manufacturers need to stop their business and peg at China.

        Pakistan won’t have any special goods to be exported via this corridor either to China or Gulf. It can only see Chinese going to and fro.

        Most importantly Pakistan need to identify the ways of giving the Loan of $46b to China with Interest.

  5. just curious . isn’t it insane that all the three routes of CPEC will conNect kashgar to rawalpindi through only one single road (KKH) that too just two lane road. how is that road going to handle all that traffic esp considering the fact that khujeraav pass rises to an altute of 16ooo ft in hunza Gojal area of Gilgit-Baltistan. If they can construct three highways in pakistan cant they construct atlest two roads linking Pakistna to china

    1. They will manufacture most of the products in pakistan then transport through gawadar. Most important is the fact is that yuan will go down to 1:1 ratio against dollar. Pak rupee is much devaluated. So chinese exports now from pakistan will be cheaper.
      I was wandering who designed CPEC. Can’t believe it but a good source told me it was zardari’s brain. Still cant believe it.

  6. its really Happening i have spent some time in Gwader doing survey on real estate market and i felt its really happening i found the safest place of pakistan people are very cooperative helpfull even the gov employees are very cooperative the development in gwader city is very fast all roads network is almost completed and u actually feel and see alot of investment in gwader itself good luck and lets stand up for the future of our country every comment counts as i did we all can

  7. We are all pakistani,s thankfull to who funded $46B for Pak China coredor .
    I advise u plz link the roads from Gawadar to to Ratodero via N-55 Shikarpur, kashmore include @ motorway at kashmore or muridki because very huge traffic is going on through indus highway N-55 from shikarpur to kashmore via DG KHAN. So kindly dont ignore this side thoudands of vehicls are travelling througout the country on daily basis.

  8. Dear sir
    Your maps show unbalanced distribution of the energy power infrastructure…esstren route is overburdened with various power projects and eastren belt is left empty.Don’t you feel its going to benefits one side of Pakistan and the other side will be thrown to stone age till 2030.pashtun belt is totally negated

    1. i think all the future develpments are proportioned according to the population living in concerning area, so similarly the need of development near eastern rouet is more.i think it is balanced development mapping.

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