Lahore:President Pakistan Muslim League-N Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has that development and progress of Gawadar is one of the most significant aspect of Pakistan Muslim League’s manifesto. He pointed out that this project was conceived during PML-N’s last government and would be completed within the tenure of its next government. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said that the first and foremost right on Gawadar is that of the people of Balochistan, therefore, its maximum benefit should reach that province as well. He said that, like Sindh, he will also pay special attention to the welfare of people of Balochistan and would visit there frequently.
Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was addressing Gawadar Conference held at PML-N Secretariat, Lahore with the cooperation of Gawardar Promotion Alliance, here today. The conference was also addressed by Member National Assembly Lt. Gen.(R) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Brig.(R) Nadir Mir, Col. (R) Maqbool Afridi, PML-N leader from Gawadar Ashraf Hussain, Syed Irshad Ahmad Arif, Ijaz Ahmad Sheikh, Abrar Niazi and Ijaz Ahmad Butt. The meeting was attended by Sartaj Aziz, Member National Assembly Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Ahsan Iqbal and Raja Ashfaq Sarwar. In his presidential address, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif pointed out the extraordinary importance of Gawadar in geographical terms, as well as for the economic prosperity of Balochistan and Pakistan, and said that the first government of PML-N had chalked out project of construction of Gawadar port in 1992 for the development of the area, and building of coastal highway, linking Gawadar to Karachi, was an integral part of that project. Muhammad Nawaz Shairf said that project of linking Gawardar to other areas of Balochistan was also under implementation during his previous era. He said that roads and highways play a fundamental role in the development and prosperity of a country, and spreading a network of motorways, throughout the country, was reflective of that vision. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said that the motorway, constructed in his era, at a cost of Rs.21 billion, is now an asset worth Rs.220 billion, upon which the government is now thinking of issuing bond. However, he stressed, instead of utilizing the amount to meet the budget deficit, this money should be spent on constructing new motorways. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif expressed his concern that, during the era of present government, precious assets like motorway are being damaged, whose carpeting had to be done after ten years. But, unfortunately, the National Highway Authority has no other task left, except to loot and plunder, and give due share to the higher echelon. He said that corroding national assets has, sadly, become our national culture. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said that he wanted to grant Gawadar a Hong Kong like status, with similar laws and system to enable it to play an efficient role in the development of, not only Balochistan, but the whole country. He said that Gawadar has tremendous potential, and Pakistan has its own industrial base, its unique skill and technology to effectively benefit from it. Gawadar provides expeditious and easy access to the world, upto the Central Asia. He said that the area of Balochistan is brimming with oil, gas and other natural resources. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif vowed that we will transform Gawadar into a splendid specimen of progress and prosperity, which will become an example to the rest of the country, so that there are Gawadars everywhere.
Talking about his previous government, President PML-N Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said that, during his era, economy of Pakistan was progressing rapidly, and Pakistan’s currency was one of the strongest in South Asia. However, unfortunately, some people derail and the whole system. In Pakistan’s chequered history governments and assemblies have been dissolved, but during the previous era of dictatorship, even judiciary was not spared, and the government of the day went to the extent of arresting judges of higher courts.
Talking on the occasion, Gen. (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch said that had the government of Nawaz Sharif not been dismissed in 1999 the glorious Gawadar projects would have been completed by now. However, now hundred percent greater effort is required to do so, as 90 percent infrastructural work is still to be done there. He said that Pakistan requires a national leadership, upon which the Baloch people can have trust, and such leadership can only be provided by Nawaz Sharif. Brig. (R) Nadir Mir said that foreign interference has an important role in the Gawadar issue. He suggested that Baloch leadership, and the people, should be taken into confidence for the development of Gawadar. He stressed the need for setting up in Lahore a special think-thank on Gawadar. Col.(R) Maqbool Afridi opined that projects initiated by Nawaz Shairf with regard to Gawadar, are lying incomplete, and the leadership of Nawaz Sharif is essential for their completion as the construction of Gawadar, and progress and prosperity of Pakistan, are interdependent.