QUETTA: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday voiced confidence that Gwadar would soon emerge as one of the country’s most prosperous cities if development works pursued by the government continued at the current pace.
Explaining that Gwadar drew much of its importance from its geographical location, the premier said the port city is one of the central points in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that has an impact not only on Balochistan, but on the rest of the country. His remarks came at the inauguration of a string of development projects in Gwadar.
The development projects include a free trade zone, business complex of Gwadar Port Authority, Pakistan-China Government Primary School Faqir Colony, Sawar and Shadikor dams and Gwadar University. According to Nawaz, the projects will be completed in the next two to three years.
The prime minister also witnessed inking of several agreements between Pakistani and Chinese companies. Nawaz was accompanied by Balochistan Governor Mohammad Khan Achakzai, Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, General (retd) Qadir Baloch, National Security Adviser Lt-Gen (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua along with China’s ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong.
Nawaz pointed out that a 300MW coal-fired power plant is being built which will provide electricity to Gwadar and other parts of Balochistan while a desalination plant will provide clean drinking water to the city and adjoining areas.
He said domestic and international flights will be operated from Gwadar international airport linking it to the world.
The prime minister said he is grateful to China for helping in the pioneering development of Gwadar and other parts of Pakistan.
“We will have electricity of about 10,000 MW by the end of next year. We hope to eliminate load-shedding by 2018 in the country,” Nawaz said. Some 50,000 jobs are to be created in Gwadar, according to the premier. But the first priority will be given to local residents.
Nawaz said the several multibillion dollar projects in Gwadar were a proof that investors have confidence in security as well as the law and order situation in the area.
The prime minister said the projects would bring in a world-class seaport to the region. He said Gwadar was the central point of focus in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. He said it would not only have a positive impact on the province, but also on the entire country.
He said Gwadar will be connected to the motorway and road network through various projects worth $100 billion. In addition, it would have a vocational training centre and a university.
Nawaz appreciated the role of armed services, law-enforcement agencies, police and all others who through their “sacrifices” and “hard work” bring in “peace and stability” to the province.
The prime minister said terrorists were on the run and were making last-ditch efforts by striking soft targets. He made it clear that the terrorists would fail miserably in their nefarious designs.
Declaring Gwadar a tax-free zone, Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri said the move would attract investment in the area and hasten the pace of development. For the safety and protection of foreign investors, Zehri announced plans to set up a security division.
China’s Ambassador Sun Weidong announced $6 million for the uplift of local schools in Gwadar, five government scholarships for students of Gwadar, as well as a prized scholarship.
The Chinese envoy said local people and those along the path of the economic corridor would benefit the most and “lead to economic development of Pakistan and the entire region”.
PM Nawaz inaugurated the 174-kilometre road connecting Sibi with Kohlu which is the shortest road link between Balochistan and Punjab. Once it is ready, the distance between Sibi and Kohlu will be cut short from 600 to just 174 kilometres. “The prosperity of Balochistan is our destination,” he said addressing a gathering after inaugurating a road.
(With additional input by the Associated Press of Pakistan)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2016.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ