Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the future belonged to Gwadar as it is 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 including clean water and electricity to encourage industrialization.
He said the recently announced Rs7.3 billion development budget by the federal government for Balochistan was historic, that aimed at uplifting the province and mitigating the longstanding deprivation of its people.
“No country can progress unless it gives priority to 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 prioritising 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 18th amendment.
Imran Khan thanked the government of China for launch of water and solar projects in Balochsitan, particularly 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 locals 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 to 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 law and order situation in Afghanistan, which he said, was extremely important for the continuity of development.
Balochistan Chief Minister 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 (PSDP) 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 also on the cards.
Chinese Ambassador Non Rong said the cooperation between the governments of Pakistan and China had led the 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, Gwadar Port would turn into a business hub, he said, adding that China would continue to extend support for a shared future with Pakistan.
CPEC Authority Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa said the Gwadar Free Zone spread at 60 acres had been completed where 46 enterprises were 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 materialisation of transshipment policy, Afghan transit policy, the framework signing and execution of border trade with Iran and starting work at Eastbay Expressway.
He said several significant development projects were in progress including the Gwadar International Airport and 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.
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal, 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 held an interaction with the CPEC Workforce.
Moreover, seven regional countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Kenya and Qatar on Monday expressed their commitment for cooperation on the development of Gwadar.
With their respective ambassadors present at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the regional countries showed their support for the development of Pakistan’s port city.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on the occasion also witnessed the signing of two Memoranda of Understanding with the government of China for carrying out development projects in Gwadar.
The accords included the implementation agreement on setting up of 1.2 MGD desalination plant to resolve the shortage of drinking water for the residents of Gwadar.
Other agreements included China’s grant for solar generators for South Balochistan, and the groundbreaking of North Gwadar Free Zone and Enterprises.
Also on the occasion, the Chinese investors through video-link from Shanghai showed the ‘Expression of Commitment for Investment’. Those who pledged to invest in Balochistan’s different sectors included Huang Weiguo (textile), Huang Daoyuan (prefabricated technology), Fang Hongyan (agriculture), Shen Jian (wool spinning), David Dia and Chen Yi (dairy processing) and Bao Dequan (textile).
The factories inaugurated on the occasion included chemical fertilizer factory, Gwadar Animal Vaccination factory and lubricant factory, besides the opening of Gwadar Tissue Plant Laboratory.