ISLAMABAD: The development of Gwadar Port will directly benefit Balochistan and the whole Pakistan under the bilateral China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) Chairman Dostain Khan Jamaldini told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"Gwadar is a city of some 110,000 people and such massive industrialisation under CPEC will have a great impact not only on the city but also on the whole Balochistan," said the GPA chief, adding that the Gwadar Free Zone would have the capacity to generate at least 38,000 direct jobs in the remote city.
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Geographically, the small city is located in southwestern Balochistan, far from Pakistan's economic centres. Road, railway and air connectivity were a great issue for its development.
"Since the launch of CPEC, a drastic change has happened and it brought a second life to the port city," said Jamaldini.
"Before CPEC, even law and order situation was very weak. After the comprehensive project, it has been greatly controlled. Now people come freely to Gwadar not only for investment opportunities, but also for tourism purpose, and people in the area have a greater hope about the future of Gwadar.
"The engine of economic development of Gwadar emanates from the Gwadar Port. With the operationalisation of the Gwadar Port, the city now has its own university and its own vocational training institutes.
"Along with our Chinese counterparts we have made a comprehensive plan about the future of Gwadar.
"Gwadar is not only the port and free zone. We have discussed and started implementing all other factors which can greatly facilitate the port and free zone development such as internet connectivity, water provision, city development, power plants, Gwadar International Airport."
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He said that initiating mega projects in Pakistan were not so much in practice before CPEC, but the corridor brought many mega projects in the country.
"There are many energy projects and industrialisation projects coming here. Gradually the institutions in Pakistan will be familiar with the big projects. In earlier phase of CPEC, it was very difficult for us to conceive, plan, process and get approval for big projects, but now things are moving smoothly."
Jamaldini said that the Gwadar port was very significant for Balochistan and the entire Pakistan, as it had the great potential to become the second big port city after Karachi and rise as one of the country's commercial, financial and economic centres.
He said that they had a long-term master plan for Gwadar, under which they would scientifically plan the city to make it one of the best tourist sites in the country.
The chairman emphasised that although Balochistan was remote, its fate had been changed due to Gwadar. "The city is attracting investors not only from all over Pakistan, but also from neighbouring countries.
"Gwadar is opening up trade in Pakistan ever since it became part of CPEC. The port's development and its cargo handling facilities have enhanced its potential to become one of the largest ports in the region, enabling it to attract not only the transshipment, but also the transit trade."