• The agreements range from joint infrastructure deals to e-commerce projects between the two countries.

The agreements range from joint infrastructure deals to e-commerce projects between the two countries. (Photo : Getty Images)

The provincial government of northwest Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) region on Monday signed 11 memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with several Chinese firms to build various projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) program.

Describing China as their "iron brothers," KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said that Chinese support will put the province on the path of development and economic growth.

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"We have set the stage to begin the journey of industrialization in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa," he said during his address at the signing ceremony.

The signing ceremony, which includes agreements on information technology systems, special economic zones, e-commerce and infrastructure projects, was attended by representatives from around 400 Chinese companies and delegates from KP's public and private sectors.

Citing Chinese President Xi Jinping's "One Belt, One Road" initiative, Khattak said that the CPEC is a flagship component of the initiative and encouraged Chinese businessmen to take advantage of the current investment-friendly relations between the two countries.

Khattak also assured potential investors that a security force "comprising 4,500 personnel" has been established to protect foreign workers deployed to projects in the region.

"This project will not only benefit both China and Pakistan but also all the countries and economies along the [Belt and Road] initiative," Sha Zhukang, president of the China-Pakistan Friendship Association (CPFA), said during the ceremony.

"Chinese companies are already working in KP and providing job opportunities to a large number of locals," he said, adding that the corridor is slated to stretch from the westernmost Chinese city of Kashgar to the port city of Gwadar in southwest Pakistan.

The agreements were signed during the opening session of the joint road show between the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Embassy of Pakistan.

"This road show will go a long way in showcasing the economic potential of the province in multiple sectors," said Masood Khalid, the Pakistani ambassador to China, adding that the presence of Chief Minister Khattak in the signing demonstrates the unity and consensus of all of Pakistan's provinces on the CPEC.