Karachi: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday inaugurated construction work on a China-backed $10 billion (Dh36 billion) nuclear power plant in Karachi.

The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant II (Kanupp II), with the capacity to produce 1,100MW electricity, is being built with the assistance of China, which has become the biggest investor in energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan.

“This project is an example of the healthy friendship between Pakistan and China. We are thankful for the continued support of Pakistan by the Chinese government,” Sharif said.

He also congratulated the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission on the timely start of the project after its foundation was laid in November 2013.

The project was in the spotlight due to opposition by civil society activists who alleged that it was being built in violation of environmental laws.

The start of work on Kanupp II will pave the way for the construction of Kanupp III, also with a planned capacity to produce 1,100MW, to be built with Chinese help.

The groundbreaking of Kanupp III was also performed in 2013 along with Kanupp II.

Terming the occasion an “important day in Pakistan’s history”, the prime minister thanked the Chinese government, CNNC, and other Chinese organisations for their cooperation in the construction of nuclear power plants.

After the inauguration ceremony, Sharif chaired a high-level meeting of the apex committee to review the city’s law and order situation in the country.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and other high level officials attended, Dawn reported.

During the meeting, the prime minister was briefed the progress of ongoing Karachi operation, which was launched in September 2013 to free the city of criminals and people associated with terrorist outfits.

The inspector general of police also updated the prime minister about the investigation on the recent attack on Muttahida Quami Movement leader Rashid Godil.