Lahore : Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif kicked off the shipment of trade goods from Gwadar Port to international markets on Sunday marking the historic launch of trade activity through China Pakistan Economic Corridor.The trade caravan reached Gwadar from China under the strict security cover of Pakistan Army and other security agencies that would now be shipped to its next export destinations.
The prime minister also addressed a ceremony of launching the first mega pilot trade cargo. COAS General Rahil Sharif, Chinese Envoy, Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif, Ahsan Iqbal, JUI-F Chief Molana Fazal ur Rehman, CM Balochistan Sanaullah Zehri and others attended the ceremony.
PM Nawaz Sharif said that “this is the onset of the progress that has been awaited for years. But now this journey will continue till the times to come”. Gwadar was a Nature’s gift to Pakistan and Chinese friendship and cooperation had made it more valuable. “We are crossing new milestone into a new era of international relations,”he added.
The Prime Minister said that Gwadar Port is rich of new possibilities not only for Pakistan and China but also for the whole world with a scope of import and export activity from Central Asia to the Middle East. The shipment of first trade cargo from Gwadar to the international market heralds a changed Pakistan. Starting its journey from Kashghar, the trade cargo reached Gwadar safely from Gilgit-Baltistan after travelling throughout the country that also manifested the image of a peaceful Pakistan.
Nawaz Sharif said that every region and the province of Pakistan will benefit from the CPEC that is a comprehensive project of peace and economic progress. Besides Pakistan and China, even Iran, Afghanistan and central Asian States will also take advantage of the project that will also make an impact on the eastern region within few years. Besides enhancing communication network, supply, trade and cultural links, the Corridor will also help promote peace,resources and harmony in the region,the prime minister maintained.
PM Nawaz Said that the government has already allocated land for Gwadar Free Trade Zone and the government has also announced concessions for Gwadar Port and Free Trade Zone in Balochistan. Moreover, the projects of Exclusive Industrial Park Processing Zone and Mineral Economic Zone are also being executed on priority basis.
The development in Balochistan is not due to the CPEC only rather the present government has always kept the development of the province, including Gwadar on its priority. A project worth Rs 25 billion is being executed for the development of Gwadar city keeping in view its importance.
The federal government gave a free hand to the provincial government in that regard that designed the project considering Gwadar’s basic needs. The provincial government is implementing the project and the resources are being provided by the federal government, he added.
He said that the federal government provided all resources for the installation of a plant to make the sea water drinkable, besides launching an additional Rs 11.5 billion project for clean drinking water to Gwadar during 2015-16.
The quality of underground water is also being improved and the existing 50-bed hospital is being upgraded to 300-bed facility. A university, and a technical and vocational training institute are also being set up in Gwadar to produce required manpower. The locals will be preferred for enrollment in these institutes.
Nawaz Sharif said that under CPEC, the government has prioritized energy and road infrastructure. To meet the electricity needs, a 300-megawatt power plant is being installed in Gwadar that will also be linked to national grid. Special Security Force has been raised to provide a security cover to the Chinese investors. Gwadar is also being made a safe city that will boost the investors’ confidence.
The construction of a new international airport is also underway in Gwadar to facilitate the movement of investors. Gwadar city is also being connected with rest of the country through road and rail networks. The federal government has given special attention to the construction of roads as travel to and from Gwadar is being squeezed.
The shipment of first trade cargo from Gwadar will herald new possibilities and time is not far when trade caravans will move to and from Gwadar throughout the day, the PM said.