In yet another deal with China, Imran Khan-led Pakistan on Monday signed $1.5 billion agreement for a hydropower project with a Chinese company, in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) under Xi Jinping regime’s ambitious CPEC project.
The agreement with China Gezhouba for “Azad Pattan Hydropower Project” was signed on Monday with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan present at the location. The project is located in Sadhanoti district of PoK on Jhelum river and is expected to be completed in 2026.
Addressing the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Khan expressed pleasure over the progress of the project, adding that it would provide green and cheap energy and would help the country save the environment.
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“I am happy because this project is under CPEC and it is not a loan but an investment which will benefit Pakistan from all sides,” said the prime minister during the ceremony telecasted live at local TVs, adding that CPEC is a great project which would take Pakistan to progress.
According to China Gezhouba Group, the project on a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis will be built at the Jhelum River. With a total investment of 1.54 billion US dollars, the construction period of the project is expected to be 69 months and the hydropower plant will be generating some 3.265 billion units of clean energy per year and provide relief to the water shortage in the local areas once commissioned.
A large number of jobs will also be created during the construction period of the project, and the development of local transportation industry, building materials industry and other hydropower related industries will be promoted, said the Chinese company.
India has protested to China over the CPEC as it is being laid through PoK. The Ministry of External Affairs early this year said that Pakistan was told that entire Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including areas of Gilgit and Baltistan, are an integral part of India and that Islamabad should immediately vacate the areas under its illegal occupation.
Pakistan has illegally occupied PoK after the incursion in 1947. In a thunderous declaration, while moving a resolution last year for revoking Article 370 that stripped J&K of its special rights and divided the state into two Union Territories, Home Minister Amit Shah asserted that Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Aksai Chin are part of India and said: “we are ready to give our lives for it”. Subsequently, foreign minister S Jaishankar said that India will soon have jurisdiction over the territory. Moreover, Army chief General MM Naravane said that Indian Army is ready to reclaim PoK if Centre orders.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, just a day after PM Modi visited Leh. Moreover, Imran Khan called for an emergency meeting with top security personnel and reviewed “internal and external security situation & expressed the resolve that sovereignty of the country would be protected at all costs.”
Alleging that India is imperiling peace in the region, Qureshi, during his telephonic conversation with Wang, underscored that the regional security situation was deteriorating. “In the face of Indian provocations, Pakistan was exercising restraint,” he said. He also accused India of committing ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC). Moreover, blatantly interfering with India’s internal matter, Quereshi also raised J&K’s new domicile laws in his discussion with Wang Yi.