by Jiang Chao, Zhu Junqing
Pakistani surgeon Ali Haider did not worry about unstable power supply any more in his operation room in a Karachi hospital, though early summer temperature often soared to 40 degrees Celcius, driving high the demand for electricity.
"The electricity shortage that Pakistan had been experiencing for some years has a toll on the economy, as well as it has affected the life of each and every individual living in the country ... Hospital work is actually affected and impacted drastically," he recalled.
Thanks to the ample electricity supply brought about by the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), all medical equipment worked well, Haider said after performing a surgery in the Civil Karachi Hospital.
"The operation has gone smoothly and successfully," he said proudly.
CPEC, a corridor linking the Gwadar port in southwestern Pakistan with Kashgar in west China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, highlights energy, transport and industrial cooperation.
The corridor is a major pilot project under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Only years ago, power outages often resulted in factory or production shutdown, even leading to scorching heat claiming people's lives, Haidar said.
"We were regularly hearing news about the shortage of the electricity supply to the factories, and you know how badly it would have affected the economy of Pakistan," he added.
Since CPEC was launched five years ago, seven power projects have been completed and put into operation, which has met the needs of 8.6 million households and given a boost to Pakistan's economic development.
In 2018, apart from others, the Port Qasim power plant and Sahiwal power plant generated 16 billion kwh of cumulative electricity, accounting for a quarter of the power generation in the country.
"Karachi now is a city of lights," Haider said, adding that the days when all local shops had to close before 10 p.m. due to power shortage have gone.
Zohaib Arshad, a mechanical engineer in the Port Qasim power plant, is from a underdeveloped small village in Punjab. In grey and white uniform, the 26-year-old young man has deeper feeling about electricity and CPEC.
"Now in our village, we have proper electricity and due to my good salary, my younger brothers are in good institutions in my hometown and I also installed AC ... and I am helping my elder brother who helped me get education, now he got married and I am helping him to a build a new house for himself," he said.
In the past five years since the inception of CPEC, 11 of the 22 early harvest projects have been operational with the rest under development. CPEC has created 70,000 jobs for local Pakistanis so far and the average local per capita income has jumped 23 percent. I
The energy sector has been the fastest developed under the CPEC cooperation, breaking a bottleneck of Pakistan's Economic development.
"Now Pakistan has developed in energy and power sector and it is moving to other sectors like health and education. And due to infrastructure people are getting access to big cities and people are getting more opportunities to get good jobs in big companies," Arshad said.
"Many Chinese companies are working here and people in villages and other sectors are working with them to improve their life ... It is automatically helping children to get good education, good opportunities and good health, for the future."