ISLAMABAD: Member Senate Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping Sardar Yaqoob Nasir has said the government was actively pursuing a comprehensive strategy for the development of ports and coasts of the country but unfortunately lack of financial resources was hurdling progress in this regard.
Member Senate Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping Sardar Yaqoob Nasir made the observations during an exclusive interview with Customs Today.
The PML-N lawmaker from Balochistan revealed that recent visit of the Senate Committee members aimed at observing the development work going on at the Gwadar port first-hand and weighing up the severe financial issues to work out their solution.
“China is working on the project with Pakistani government and has constantly been demanding for a tangible development process but our government has been grappling with multifarious problems,” Sardar Yaqoob pointed out.
Lack of financial resources and widespread corruption were the two main issues that had been hampering the development process, he said and added, the government was working hard to eliminate corruption and would emerge victorious very soon.
The Senate standing committee member emphasized that the prevailing challenges and future demands warranted hard work to develop not only Gwader but also other ports. “This project could not be carried out due to the stubbornness of the provincial government which has been trying hard to get administrative control of the port at all costs,” Sardar Yaqoob claimed.
He asserted that the Sindh government was responsible for security of the port but it had failed to discharge its responsibility. “The provincial government of Sindh, through delaying tactics, has been trying to portray that the federal government is not taking interest and has failed to perform its duty to pave the way for taking over the control,” he claimed.
Born in Quetta on January 10, 1947, Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Nasar graduated from the University of Punjab in 1969 and obtained a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Balochistan in 1983. The PML-N Senator envisaged that if Gwader Port was fully made functional, it would not only benefit overall exports enormously but would also revolutionize local areas.
“Exports from Khunjerab to Gwadar will get flourished and people living all along the way will get more and more opportunities, ushering in new era of development and industrial boom,” he elaborated.
The Senate committee member argued that another issue which had been impeding the development of Gwadar Port was Pakistan Navy’s land measuring more than 500 kanals.
“The committee, in principle, has decided to take this land back from Pakistan Navy and allocate land of equal value and measure to PN elsewhere,” he revealed, adding that the committee made the decision in its last meeting and a summary had been sent to the prime minister in this regard.
“No doubt it is a major issue and a big decision for the Senate Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping but we took it,” Sardar Yaqoob informed, adding that now the summary was lying with the Prime Minister and he would have to decide “what is better for the country and nation.”
The PML-N Senator from Balochistan opined that a long term approach must be adopted for the development of Gwader Port as it would bring about a revolution in Balochistan besides linking Central Asian countries with the entire world, turning Pakistan into a regional hub of trade and commerce.
“The benefits of Gwadar Port are enormous not only for Pakistan but for the entire region and the government has been striving hard to complete this project of great national importance,” the Pakhtun leader from Balochistan described. Sardar Yaqoob hoped that Gwadar would go a long way in eradication of sense of deprivation from Balochistan.
Replying to a question, he declared that it was a good step on the part of the Federal Board of Revenue to issue national tax numbers (NTN) to non-registered parliamentarians and bring them into tax net.
He said that everybody should pay tax and the parliamentarians should set an example in this regard. “Honestly speaking we are glad that FBR has set up a helping desk at the Parliament House to facilitate the lawmakers and if the Board keeps continuous working on these lines it will turn out to be a great success in the future,” he concluded.