Experts call for developing Gwadar as smart port city

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad

In order to develop Gwadar as a thriving economic and port city, there is dire need to improve administrative and governance framework coupled with developing City-based economic development strategy. Experts said this during a seminar titled “The Institutional and Urban Design of Gwadar City”, organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
They called for sharing the dividend of prosperity with the local population, and branding Gwadar as an economic city with a rich culture. SDPI’s weekly seminar was held at a time when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has taken over as 22nnd Prime Minister of Pakistan and the world has affixed its eyes on Khan and his time how they turn Gwadar city into a global brand of Pakistan and pace up the governance and uplift work there.
Public Policy Advisor and Former Governance Specialist, Ministry of Finance, Naveed Iftikhar said the relationship between a port and a city reinforces each other’s growth and development. Gwadar port provides a great deal of economic dividends for the country such as employment, increased business and investment opportunities etc. While presenting the preliminary findings of his study on the institutional and urban design of Gwadar city Iftikhar highlighted ineffective governance in the port city is leading to lack of water, electricity and other basic municipal services.
He said that insufficient resources for the development of the city, gross mismanagement of urban land-use and fear among the local fisherman and population about their future are the major challenges of the port city. Naveed proposed in his study that there is a need to improve local governance infrastructure, ensuring city’s revenue sustainability and international partnership for commercial dispute resolution. We need to preserve and promote the local identity, culture and heritage of Gwadar, he added.
Joint Executive Director SDPI Dr Vaqar Ahmed was of the view that CPEC was the fastest progressing programme under the overall Belt and Road Initiative, where several projects focused on better trade and investment integration through the Arabian Sea. He said that an expected increase in transit trade through Gwadar port was envisaged and Central Asian countries including Tajikistan have expressed the desire to utilize the potential of Gwadar for their food supplies.

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