Friendship Made During Adversity: RoundupRecently, due to US military attacks against the armed Taliban faction of Afghanistan, large groups of foreign companies, worried about the current political situation, have withdrawn from Pakistan, this action has led to the suspension of many large projects and has adversely affected Pakistan's economic construction.
Under such circumstance, however, the offices of the China Oriental Electric Group in Pakistani Lahore and Karachi are still holding fast to their posts, more than 100 engineering and technical personnel of the Group continue, as always, to work hard shoulder to shoulder with over 2,000 Pakistani workers at the construction site of the Ghazi Barotha Hydroelectric Project, setting one best record after another in the process of construction. The Pakistan side praised the workers of the Oriental Electric Group as "True Friends in Times of Adversity".
According to Li Hong, director of the Lahore Office of the Oriental Electric Group, the designed power generating capacity of the project is 1.49 million kw, the largest such project in Pakistan. This project, to be built with loans from the World Bank and involving a total investment of US$2 billion, enjoys the good reputation of "the Three-Gorges Project of Pakistan". The Oriental Electric Group, as an ultra-large Chinese enterprise group, is currently undertaking the task of the construction worth US$300 million of the Ghazi Barotha Project, including US$270 million worth of civil engineering project of main factory buildings and US$43 million worth of transformers and other equipment. Because this is the largest engineering project currently undertaken by a Chinese company in Pakistan by the international bidding method, so it has all along received the high attention of the governments of the two countries.
After the occurrence of the "September 11" incident, when other foreign companies participating in the construction of the Ghazi Barotha Project were leaving on account of safety, plus the fact that airplanes have stopped flying in many air routes leading to Pakistan and so it is impossible for some needed materials and equipment to be purchased from abroad and to be put in place in good time, the Oriental Electric Group is also faced with unprecedentedly severe challenges in the project it undertaken. Nevertheless, the Group leaders, judging the hour and sizing up the situation, thought that if the Group withdrew from the Ghazi Barotha Project at this time, it would not only cause itself to suffer a certain economic loss, but also, in the long run, would be unfavorable to a further exploration of the Pakistan market and to creating more economic benefits for the country. Meanwhile, if construction of the project was suddenly suspended, it would cause the Pakistan side to suffer an economic loss of around US$1 million a day, that would mean further worsening Pakistan's economy. Considering this, leaders of the Oriental Electric Group has made the decision that all its engineers and technicians should stick fast to their posts and called on all of them to set store by the national interests and China-Pakistan friendship and strive to create best achievements. In order to stabilize workers' morale, the Group leaders flew to the construction site to express their regards and encouragement to the personnel working on the frontline, and they have taken related measures to dispel the worries and misgivings of some comrades.
Thanks to the joint efforts of the engineering and technical personnel of the two countries, in September, 32,000 cubic meters of concrete were poured for the civil engineering project of main factory buildings of the Ghazi Barotha Project, and a new record of 35,000 cubic meters were created in October. The remarkable work done by the Oriental Electric Group has won the trust and praise of the Pakistani government and people. Not long ago, Abdul Sattar, foreign minister of Pakistan and the chairman of a hydroelectric power station, respectively met with the representatives of the Oriental Electric Group, expressing their heartfelt thanks to the Group personnel for their continued standing fast to their posts at the most crucial moment, and said that such support embodied the profound friendship between Pakistan and China and was a true portrayal of the "friendship made during adversity".
This dispatch by People's Daily correspondents Qian Feng and Ding Zi from Lahore on October 27, is carried on Page 3 of the newspaper on October 29.
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