Pakistan set to sign 40-year lease for Gwadar port with Chinese company: officials

Work on the Gwadar International Airport would start in the next couple of months


Afp September 09, 2015
Abdul Razzaq Durrani, the director general of GPA, confirmed the deal. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: Pakistan is set to sign a 40-year-lease with a Chinese company to develop a massive special economic zone in the deep sea port of Gwadar, officials said Wednesday.

The scheme is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an ambitious $46 billion investment plan linking western China to the Arabian Sea with infrastructure, energy and transport projects.

The contract assigning the 923 hectare (2300 acre) swathe of tax-exempt land to China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) is likely to be signed this month or October, Dostain Khan Jamaldini, chief of the Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) told AFP.

As part of the wider plans, "work on the Gwadar International Airport would start in the next couple of months and we are quite hopeful of completion of the national highway connecting Gwadar with the north within the next month", he added.

Pakistan is also raising a special security force of between 10,000 and 25,000 men to protect the port, which lies in the restive southwestern province of Balochistan which since 2004 has been roiled by a separatist insurgency.

Abdul Razzaq Durrani, the director general of GPA, confirmed the deal.

Gwadar port was built in 2007 with technical help from Beijing as well as Chinese financial assistance of some $248 million.

But acquiring the land from private owners to build the economic zone took several years and cost the Baloch government around $62 million, Durrani said.

“I think the biggest benefit for Pakistan is economic interconnection,” says Masood Khan, a former Pakistan ambassador to China.

The Gwadar deal follows similar deals in other parts of the world, including Africa, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, says geo-political analyst Simbal Khan.

"Pakistan is looking at the CPEC project as a game changer, kick starting an era of infrastructure growth and investment. The land deal is just part of the Gwadar port infrastructure that needs to develop to realise the expectations of Pakistan and China from this mega project," she said.

COMMENTS (17)

Naresh | 6 years ago | Reply @Indialover: I wish the Chinese all success in their newly purchased land. This is what it is. Pakistani Govt. selling away land to China . The Port of Gwadar Land etc. is owned by the Pakistani Government. Only the Port Precinct is LEASED TO THE CHINESE "PORT OPERATING" in this case China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) for a Period of 40 Years. In India Mundra, JNPT, Kochi, Chennai and Ennore Container Berths-Docks are given to Non-Indian Operators. Adani ownerdMundra will have Four Container Terminal - 1. DPW 2. Adanis themselves, 3. Adanis JV with MSC 4. Adanis JV with CMA CGM Group. . So be assured Gwadar "Port Operations" will be returned to the Pakistani Government in 2055. Cgeers
karachiite | 6 years ago | Reply Personally, anything to keep our stratei assets away from Bhuttos, Sharifs, Mengals and Bugtis. And kindly "dina" writing a Muslim name does not transform you from Indian to Pakistani, only Indian think that Pakistan is being run by Punjabis, we are all one nation and anyone who says otherwise is probably a paid journalist, many of which are abound Tribune, too, it is an open blog after all.
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