PESHAWAR: After inking memorandum of understandings worth $24 billion with neighbouring China, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has approached Beijingtoopen diplomatic mission in Peshawar.
Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said that during his meetings with senior officers of the Chinese foreign office in Beijing, he discussed with them establishment of a consulate level office in Peshawar.
To a question, he said that he also proposed Chinese government to start Air China flights from Peshawar. `Chinese officials showed willingness to consider the proposal and KP government will send formal request in this regard,` said Mr Khattak, who along with a delegation visited China on April 15.
The chief minister`s trip was part of the road show, which was organised in Beijing. The delegation comprised 60 ofñcials and 100 investors from the province. The two-day event was aimed at persuading state-ownedChinese companies and private sectors to bring investment to the province.
Terming the tour very successful, Mr Khattak said that total 86 projects were put on display in the road show in Beijing and more than 80 MoUs were signed with the stateowned companies.
He said that those MoUs would bring around $24 billion investment to the province. He said that total 900 companies participated in the road show.
In addition, he said, private sector also signed MoUs worth $1 billion with their counterparts during the show.
`One of the main objectives of the tour was to promote business to business interaction between the two countries,` he said.
The chief minister said that he would go to China with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif next month for follow-up meetings with the Chinese authorities. Chinese government is hosting summit next month and leaders from 28 countries are likely to attend the event.
Mr Khattak said that economic landscape of KP had totally changed after China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the province was emerging as the most feasible central point in the region. He said that KP was not feasible for investment before CPEC.`Few years back, distance from seaport and shortage of skilled manpower were considered major disadvantages for KP. Foreign and local investors did not come to our province, but situation has totally changed after CPEC,` said Mr Khattak.
He said that proposed GilgitChitral route would linl( KP with Central Asian Republics via Wakhan Corridor.
He said that during his previous visit to China in December, the KP government had signed four agreements to build Peshawar Circular Railway, Gilgit-Chitral Road, and industrial park and 2,000 megawatts hydel power generation plants.
`Major challenge for the provincial government is now to make these MoUs feasible and start work on these projects in next three months, hesaid,addingthatthe proposedprojects would be run on `build, operate and transfer` (POD) basis. He said that the government would not borrow loans for those projects.
The media report regarding donkeys` trade with China was inappropriate. `Some politicians, especially those belonging to PML-N, brought the province to disrepute by making fun of the trade,` he said.
Mr Khattak said that the programme was in hands of the private sector but some were out to defame the province in the eyes of the people.