Imran Khan Pakistan Azad Pattan Project
PM Imran Khan witnessing the signing of agreement for Azad Pattan Hydel Power Project on July 6. Image Credit: PID

Islamabad: Pakistan and China have signed an agreement for the construction of $1.5 billion Azad Pattan Hydel Power Project that would generate 700 megawatt (MW) of electricity.

This is the second biggest agreement Pakistan has inked with its closest ally after 1124MW Kohala Hydropower Project worth $2.4 billion.

Prime Minister Imran Khan witnessed the signing ceremony along with Chairman of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Asim Saleem Bajwa, Ambassador of China, Yao Jing and Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan on Monday.

CPEC linked to Pakistan’s economic development

Addressing the ceremony after the signing of the agreement with China Gezhouba, PM Imran Khan said the CPEC project would prove to be a milestone in the country’s development with the completion of various energy and infrastructure projects. Pakistan, he said, could learn a lot from China in realms of economic progress and prosperity.

The hydropower project “is part of the investment in clean energy” in line with the government’s ‘Clean and Green Pakistan’ project and environment-friendly policies. This project “will not burden the people” said the premier, adding that previous power projects based on imported fuel cost the country dearly.

Greener, cleaner and cheaper investment

The hydropower project – a part of CPEC – “with an investment of US$ 1.5 billion, 700.7 MW Azad Pattan will involve no fuel import, thus enabling the country to move towards cheaper and greener power while generating local job opportunities”, says the official statement.

Chairman CPEC Authority Lt Gen (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa said that Pakistan’s focus is now on cheaper and greener power. “With an investment of $1.5 billion, no fuel import, we are moving towards cheaper and greener power” he said. The mega project will create nearly “3000 jobs” and would provide an annual income of Rs1.38 billion to Punjab and AJK from water use, he added.

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said the government was dedicated to completing the projects under CPEC. “The signing of 1.5 billion dollars 700 MW Azad Pattan hydropower project, days after signing of 2.4 billion dollars 1100MW Kohala hydropower project is a manifestation of the Government’s commitment to both CPEC and development of indigenous clean energy,” he tweeted.

Pakistan and China boost collaboration in hydropower project

The latest deal comes days after signing of $2.4 billion deal between Pakistan and China for a massive 1124MW Kohala Hydropower Project which is the largest investment in a single independent power producer in Pakistan.

Earlier in May, an agreement worth Rs442 billion was signed with a joint venture of Power China and Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) for the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam.