GWADAR: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the future of Pakistan belonged to Gwadar emerging as the ‘focal point of development’ and ensuring prosperity for the entire country.
Addressing at the launch of development projects and the signing ceremony of Memoranda of Understanding here in the port city, the prime minister said Gwadar would open up new avenues of opportunities for regional trade.
The prime minister who arrived in Gwadar on a day-long visit inaugurated the first phase of Gwadar Free Zone besides performing the groundbreaking of the its second phase spread at 2,200 acres and opening of three factories.
The prime minister said his vision of an emerging Pakistan was a steadfast nation which was committed to the prosperity of the country.
He said the government was focused on ensuring provision of basic amenities in Gwadar and Balochistan, particularly clean water and electricity to encourage industrialization.
He said the recently announced Rs 730 billion development budget for Balochistan by the federal government was historic, that aimed at uplift of the province and also to mitigate the longstanding deprivation of its people.
“No country can progress unless it mainstreams all its areas and ensure development across the board,” he said, adding that connectivity was one of the major component of the Balochistan package.
Imran Khan said the government was prioritizing development in far-flung areas of Balochistan, northern areas and rural Punjab.
The prime minister mentioned that Gwadar International Airport would encourage regional trade and boost economic activity.
He said one-window operation was in progress to facilitate the investors and urged upon the provincial governments to ensure proper servicing of investors since the subject moved to them after the passage of 18the Amendment.
Imran Khan thanked the government of China for launch of water and solar projects in Balochsitan, particularly in Gwadar.
“Pakistan can benefit from its strategic location and also from the expertise of its friend China, which is the becoming an economic power in the region,” he said.
He also mentioned the technical education provided by China to the youth of Gwadar, which he said, would prove greatly helpful as the foreign investment grew in future.
The prime minister mentioned several initiatives for the uplift of Gwadar including the university, employment under Kamyab Jawan Programme, and the upgradation of the equipment of local fishermen to ensure value addition of their catch.
He said the Prime Minister Office would regularly monitor the progress on the development plans initiated in Gwadar on a monthly basis.
The prime minister said regional countries had expressed interest in reaping the benefits offered by the Gwadar port.
In this scenario, he expressed concern over the deteriorating law and situation in Afghanistan, stressing peace and stability as extremely important for the continuity of development.
Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan said the provincial government had been collaborating with the CPEC Authority to resolve the issues of customs. He drew attention to the problem regarding the relocation of locals along the Eastbay and mentioned that efforts were on for an amicable solution.
He said the Public Sector Development Programme for the current fiscal year covered the entire Balochistan and mentioned that the extension of Gwadar Hospital up to 200 beds, construction of the first university in Gwadar, border markets and uplift of villages were on the cards.
Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong said the cooperation between the governments of Pakistan and China had led several projects to see the light of the day. He said over the past eight years, the two countries accelerated their pace on several projects related to civic amenities, particularly clean water and solar plants.
He said Gwadar was a showcase of the “Chinese solution” for Pakistan’s development.
By taking a comprehensive way of development, he said, Gwadar Port would turn into a business hub. He said China would continue to extend support for a shared future with Pakistan.
Chairman CPEC Authority Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa said the Gwadar Free Zone spread at 60 acres had been completed where 46 enterprises had become operational.
He said now, the groundbreaking of the second phase at the vast 2200 acres starting today , would usher in a new era of prosperity in Gwadar and in Balochsitan.
He mentioned that the personal interest of Prime Minister Imran Khan resulted in materialization of trans-shipment policy, Afghan transit policy, the framework signing and execution of border trade with Iran and start of work at Eastbay Expressway.
He said several significant development projects were in progress including the Gwadar International Airport and a Vocational Institute to develop skills of the locals.
Bajwa said conspiracies were on the rise against CPEC, however the commitment of the government greatly helped thwart such challenges.
Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Planning Minister Asad Umer, Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal and Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi were present.
Earlier, the prime minister before landing at the Gwadar Airport took an aerial view of the infrastructure built at the seaport including the Expressway.
On his arrival at the China Business Centre Hall, he was given a detailed briefing of the South Balochistan Development Package. He also held an interaction with the CPEC Workforce.–APP