Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday launched several development projects in Gwadar – Pakistan’s port city and rising investment destination in Balochistan.
The premier performed the groundbreaking of phase two of the Gwadar Free Zone (GFZ) 2,200 acres as well as Gwadar expo centre, Henan agriculture industrial park and three factories.
During his one-day visit to Gwadar, Khan also inaugurated phase one of the Gwadar Free Zone, reviewed the progress on various projects, and witnessed the signing of a number of memorandums of understanding (MoUs). The accords included the implementation agreement of 1.2 million gallons per day desalination plant and a solar project as the provision of basic facilities including electricity, water and health are the prime focus for the government.
Addressing at the launch ceremony, Khan said the new projects would open up new avenues of opportunities for regional trade with Gwadar as its hub. The Gwadar International Airport would encourage regional trade and boost economic activity. “Gwadar will connect with Central Asia”, offering a range of opportunities for the socio-economic development under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for Pakistan and the whole region, he said.
The future of Pakistan prosperity is linked to development in Balochistan, he said. The Rs730 billion development budget for Balochistan by the federal government is aimed at improving the quality of life in the province with a focus on health, education and job and ensuring uniform development across Balochistan.
Speaking at the event, Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong said the development in Gwadar was the result of cooperation between the governments of Pakistan and China, adding that Beijing would offer full support to Islamabad for economic development. Chinese companies are keen to collaborate with Pakistan in the fields of machinery manufacturing, household appliances, food processing, leather and textiles to develop a manufacturing centre.
The high-profile event was attended by Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.
Several Gulf countries, Egypt and Kenya have expressed their commitment for cooperation and investment in Gwadar city, according to Pakistani officials. Chairman Gwadar Port Authority Naseer Khan Kashani briefed the ambassadors of different countries on the facilities offered to investors particularly at Gwadar Free Zone.
Development continuing at a swift pace
Chairman CPEC Authority Lt. Gen (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa says the CPEC has put Balochistan on the path of progress and prosperity. Compared to the first phase of the Gwadar Free Zone, which comprised 60 acres of land, the second phase would be an enormous project spread over 2,200 acres. Around 46 enterprises were engaged in phase-I of the free zone, while 12 new factories were being set up of which three had been completed. The traffic at Gwadar port was increasing every day and last year the trade volume increased up to 60,000 metric tonnes of cargo and the cargo volume is expected to increase at a higher pace in the coming days.