“China a testimonial of Pakistan’s development,” says Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal

By Yasir Habib Khan | Gwadar Pro May 18, 2022

GWADAR,May.18(Gwadar Pro) - "Chinese are not only our good friends but also a testimonial of Pakistan's development," said Pakistan's Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, during his action-packed one-day visit to Gwadar on Tuesday.

Accompanied by Secretary Planning and Balochistan Chief Secretary, he reaffirmed his commitment and his government's earnest desire to transform Gwadar into a modern smart city.

He assured the local community of the old city rehabilitation program for which Rs 3.3 billion will be disbursed, to accelerate commercial activities.

Addressing the participants during his trip, Mr. Iqbal resonated with the interests of Central Asian Republics for making Gwadar a depository of their reserved goods. He called on government departments to send a team to these countries to resuscitate the proposal.

The minister also announced funds for up-gradation and the establishment of state-of-the-art buildings for the Chamber of Commerce and Gwadar Press Club.

During his one-day trip, the minister visited the University of Gwadar and delivered a lecture to the students, and interacted with them. Later on, he proceeded to China Business Center in Gwadar Free Zone, wherein a meeting with notables and political leaders of Gwadar was held.

Afterward, a meeting with the Gwadar Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Traders Association was held. The meeting was also attended by Chairman China Overseas Ports Holding Company Mr. Zhang Baozhong, Chairman GPA Mr. Naseer Kashani, and Member of National Assembly from Gwadar Mr. Aslam Bhootani. The business community put forth their issues and proposals for their resolution to help build a win-win business environment. Representing the Chamber, Mr. Ghulam Haider Dashti requested the federal government to grant the local businesses incentives and to declare Gwadar a tax-free district.

Moreover, the energy issue, which is prominent in impeding the development of Gwadar, remained high on agenda. Various solutions were discussed. The minister highlighted the significance of Gwadar from the perspective of the incumbent government. Prospects of tourism and industrialization in Gwadar were also explored in length.

Additionally, the need for enhancing maritime traffic was emphasized, which was seconded by all parties. Chairman GPA, Mr. Kashani underscored the addition of two additional trades in Gwadar port last year- Afghan transit trade and urea imports for Afghanistan.

Afterward, the visiting dignitaries were briefed on the ongoing and planned projects in Gwadar. A progressive review of East Bay Expressway, China-Pakistan Friendship Hospital, China Pakistan Vocational and Technical Training Institute, 1.2 MGD desalination plant, distribution of solar panels, and New Gwadar International Airport was presented.

Lastly, the minister visited the Port. Talking to the media about the development of Gwadar port, Chairman COPHC, Zhang Baozhong dispelled the misinformation regarding Gwadar Port and Free Zone. He validated the determination of Chinese investors to invest in Gwadar. He briefed the media that a $5 million oil refinery will be set up. Moreover, "a delegation of Chinese investors will visit Gwadar in the ongoing week to assess investment potentials in agriculture, lubricants and relevant sectors," he added.

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