Pak, China make master plan for Gwadar smart port city


Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad—Experts of both Pakistan and China are working out a Master Plan to make Gwadar Smart Port City.
The broad objectives of the study are to clearly identify Gwadars competitive advantages vis-à-vis regional ports and developing a business case for the port, its contribution to export led growth, market creation, industrialization, tourism and revenue generation. According to official documents, the study envisages transforming Gwadar into a port of international standards and a smart and sustainable city that can drive local, national and regional growth in the coming years.
The Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) met at the Parliament House in a marathon session on Thursday where Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal briefed the committee about his recent visit to China. He said issues pertaining to the construction of Gwadar airport and the East Bay Expressway have now been resolved through mutual consultation with the Chinese side and construction on both these projects will begin within next three months.
He added that a new Smart Port City Master Plan for Gwadar was also under preparation, in cooperation with Chinese experts. Ahsan Iqbal also announced that 2 universities on the CPEC Western corridor would start functioning by September 2016, one in Gwadar and the other in Zhob, both in Balochistan. He said that Eco-friendly development projects for Gilgit Baltistan have also been approved under the CPEC.
Mr Zhao, Acting Chinese Ambassador extended an invitation to the parliamentary committee on CPEC to visit China. This trip will be undertaken during May 20-27 with visits to Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou industrial park.
Senator Mushahid Hussain announced that the date of this visit coincides with the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China.
The Chief Minister Balochistan, Nawab Sanaullah Zehri who was especially invited to present the perspective of Balochistan before the Committee, provided a detailed overview of CPEC related projects of Balochistan with particular reference to his recent visit to China. The Chief Minister Balochistan underlined that the people of Balochistan fully support CPEC and they view it as a game changer not just for the province of Balochistan but for Pakistan as a whole. He reiterated that Balochistan government would extend its wholehearted cooperation for the CPEC, more so since Gwadar is the gateway to CPEC.
The Parliamentary Committee unanimously recommended that the Steering Committee on CPEC, constituted under the leadership of the Prime Minister, which includes all the Chief Ministers of provinces, should meet at the earliest so that all issues are resolved through consultation and by consensus. He said he had given the proposal of the Steering Committee as it meant an institutional framework for CPEC, so that decisions are with consultation and consensus.

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