Hurdles in Gwadar Port development removed: minister

Source: Published in Current Affairs on Tuesday, May 17, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said on Monday that all hurdles in way of development of Gwadar Port had been removed with the cooperation of the Chinese government.

Briefing a parliamentary committee on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the minister said all pending issues pertaining to the Gwadar Port had been resolved during his visit to Beijing last month. These include construction of an international airport and an expressway in the town.

It was an in camera briefing held at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services and no media person was allowed to attend it.

According to an official handout, Mr Iqbal said Gwadar would be given top priority because it was an entry point for the CPEC where the Maritime Silk Road and Silk Road Economic Belt converged. He informed the committee that other projects in Gwadar, including a hospital, a desalination plant and a technical training institute would be built on a fast track basis and rights and livelihood of local fishermen would be protected.

He welcomed the committee’s upcoming visit to China from May 20 to 27 and said this would help its members understand the CPEC project and learn about the Chinese pattern of economic development.

He claimed that during a meeting of the committee with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister, the speaker and parliamentary leaders of parties of the provincial assembly held at the Planning Commission on May 10, issues pertaining to the CPEC had been amicably resolved and the KP government as well as political leadership of the province had expressed satisfaction over the progress of CPEC as their reservations had been addressed by the federal government.

The parliamentary committee praised Mr Iqbal for achieving the consensus through consultation as well as MNA Asad Umar, a member of the committee, for facilitating the dialogue between the KP government and the centre.

The committee’s chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said China had given a vote of confidence in the future of Pakistan and its people by investing extensively in different sectors to promote socio-economic development of Pakistan.

He said the CPEC would be vital for uniting the federation and the provinces and bring prosperity and development to the provinces.

The committee was also briefed on relations between Pakistan and China.

According to Mr Syed, the committee members will visit three cities ­— Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou — and an industrial park between China and Singapore. The visit coincides with the 65th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China.

In order to address the opposition’s reservations, the committee suggested regular meetings of the CPEC steering committee headed by the prime minister and comprising the chief ministers.

Opposition parties demanded that a six-lane corridor should be built on the CPEC’s western route instead of the planned four-lane road and that industrial zones and other infrastructure promised by the government along the route be ensured.

Talking to Dawn, Mushaid Hussain said it had been decided that a big runway would be constructed at Gwadar Port to facilitate big planes. The issue of statutory regulatory orders (SROs) regarding taxes to be levied at the port had been resolved and all taxes defined and framed through a hectic exercise, he added.

He said an old master plan of Gwadar, which was dumped a decade ago, would be revised and it had been decided that the revised master plan would be implemented in letter and spirit.

“Under the plan, the people of Gwadar will be considered as main stakeholder and fishermen of the area will also be accommodated,” he said. 

People Mentioned
  • Ahsan Iqbal Federal Minister for Planning and Development