A Chinese company has come forward with a proposal to set up an economic zone in the proposed Zulfiqarbad city and has offered to sign a deal before the upcoming visit of the Chinese vice president to Pakistan.
The economic zone, as proposed by the Chinese investor, will house leading investors and industrialists from China to undertake mega developmental projects in the new city.
A briefing on the project was held at the Presidency and was chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari. Spokesperson to the president, Farhatullah Babar, said later that the development programme would be spread over 15 years and split into three five-year programmes. Initially, industrialists and investors from China would be brought in to start the development work which would subsequently be followed by investors from other countries.
Babar said that a significant feature is that the Chinese would invest and reinvest for 15 years before extracting profits.
The president has directed that the Chinese proposal for the economic zone be thoroughly studied and recommendations forwarded to the government, as soon as possible. He said that the entire idea of setting up a new city was to meet the challenges of the future and to develop safe, modern and an environment friendly coastal city with world class amenities with economic opportunities not only for the habitants of the city but also for the people of neighbouring areas.
He reiterated his call to developers to work with the most modern and latest concepts of city planning. The president said that the study of recent concepts of town planning would be helpful in designing the city and equipping it with state-of-the-art facilities. Putra Jaya of Malaysia and the Islamabad model could also be replicated to ensure harmony and symmetry, he said.
Lt. Gen. (retired) Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah, the managing director of the Zulfiqarabad Development Authority, told the officials that the new city includes a Zulfiqarabad Expressway and a bridge over the Indus at Dhandhari. Brig. Jehangir Akhter of the Frontier Works Organisation said that they had completed a survey for the expressway and bridge for which plans and the cost estimates have been sent to the ZDA.
In a bid to speed up work, the authority was close to hiring a consultant to prepare a master plan. The aim is to get it done by December. A site office has been set up at Baghan taluka, Keti Bander.
Wednesday’s meeting was attended by Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Sheikh, Secretary General M. Salman Faruqui, Dr Nadeem-ul Haq, the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, the secretaries of Communication, Economic Affairs and Planning, the chairman of the National Highway Authority. From Sindh, the meeting was attended by Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah, Shavaiz Shamon, a senior member of the board of revenue.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2011.