GAWADAR: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said the current government plans to develop Gwadar as a ‘free port’ on the lines of Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong ports. The Planning Commission has been tasked with an exercise to hire international consultants for this purpose.
The Prime Minister said the government had a broad-based plan for the development of Gwadar under which the port city would have a state-of-the-art airport and a fully developed seaport.
He said a new security force would also be raised for the security and protection of foreign nationals, particularly the Chinese citizens, working on various projects in the area.
The Prime Minister said that the matters relating to development of Balochistan, peace and security and Pak-China Economic Corridor were discussed in the meeting with Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik. The ways and means to connect Kashgar (China) and Gwadar through road and rail links were deliberated in detail, he added. Nawaz expressed his government’s resolve to lay a network of roads in Balochistan during the current PML-N government’s tenure.
Earlier, during the briefing, the PM was apprised that in relation to Pak-China Economic Corridor, Rs 162 billion had been allocated for Balochistan only. He was informed that the provision of clean drinking, a 300-bed hospital, a technical training centre, a 19-km expressway and the expansion of airport and port had also been planned for Gwadar. He directed the Finance Minister to release Rs 1.6 billion for the dredging of port. The PM said Gwadar should be developed as a free port along the lines of Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong ports, adding that interests of local people should be protected while developing Gwadar.
The PM said the development of Gwadar would prove to be a game changer not only for Balochistan but for the region. The PM and the Chief Minister appreciated the services of DG FWO for ensuring quality, transparency in development and construction work through a fast-track process.