Shahid Khaqan inaugurated Gwadar Free Zone
30 January, 2018
GWADAR: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi inaugurated the Gwadar Free Zone and the Expo 2018 and reiterated that the ongoing policies of economic development would continue no matter which party forms the next government as these were aimed at development and prosperity of the nation. He reiterated that the country would hold its next general election in July this year after the completion of the five-year term of the PML-N government.
The prime minister termed CPEC a ‘game changer’ and said the potential of Gwadar has been fully realized owing to the vision of President Xi Jinping and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. He said due to the dedication and hard work of Pakistani and Chinese teams, both CPEC and Gwadar were heading towards a bright future. Addressing the challenges of Balochistan, the prime minister said the future of the province was in the hands of its political leadership. He said the provincial government needs to develop the entire coastline. He said there was an urgent need to transform Gwadar into an international city, which was fully functional and can serve the future demands of its people. He said the provincial government has to confront the challenges ahead.
He said the federal government would equally share in the equalization package for Gwadar so as to provide quality services in health, education and other social sectors for the people of Balochistan. In this regard he said funding for each district of Balochistan would start this year.
Abbasi mentioned the ongoing modernization of the railway system from Karachi to Peshawar and Khunjerab to Gwadar, upgrading of road network, building of necessary infrastructure, building of power projects and setting up of special economic zones to bring prosperity to the people of Pakistan through generation of economic activity, increase in exports and creation of jobs.
He said the new motorway networks would bring prosperity not only to Central Asian States, Western China and Afghanistan but also Pakistan and strengthen President Xi’s vision of Belt and Road Initiative. He said Gwadar was the most visible section of this vision and termed it the most important contribution of the Chinese president for the future generations. He said the CPEC projects were based on financial viability and environmental sustainability.
The prime minister recalled his recent visit to Davos where at one of the forum on ‘Shared future in a fractured world’ he recalled pointing that President Xi Jinping was building on linkages of the past for a future of tomorrow.
The prime minister later formally inaugurated the first phase of Gwadar Free Zone. He along with the chief minister, CJSCS, president AJK and others jointly pressed a large button to unfurl a huge red and green banner, covering the front gate of economic free zone, amidst a huge applause of Pakistani and Chinese nationals gathered at the historic event. The prime minister also opened the Gwadar Expo 2018 – the two-day conference and exhibition aimed at providing a platform for Pakistani and Chinese businessmen already working on CPEC-related projects. The prime minister visited different sections of the free zone, business centre and the exhibition hall showcasing over 100 stalls by the companies. Spread over 60 acres, Gwadar Free Zone will be operated by China Overseas Port Holding Company, which has also set up a business centre for handling of operations.
The business centre will provide a one-window operation for matters including immigration, customs, visa operations and port clearance facilities.
The south area of the free zone (Phase I) will develop a commercial logistics zone with the leading functions of commodity exhibition, transit and distribution, relying on the existing port as well as fishery processing.
Processing and manufacturing areas will be developed in the north area and divided into three construction phases. Daily necessities and small household appliances, fishery, stone processing, machinery manufacturing and metal processing are the main introduced industries.