GAWADAR – Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi performed the ground breaking of Rs17 billion East Bay Expressway on Wednesday, and directed that the series of development projects for Gwadar be completed on time to ensure that the port emerges on the world map as a major trade hub.
Addressing a ceremony in the emerging shipping hub in Balochistan, the prime minister said the economic-free zone would be completed this year while work on the Port project, Pakistan China Friendship Hospital, Power Plant, Gwadar Airport and others, under the Rs170 billion plan for uplift of Gwadar, would also complete on time.
PM Abbasi said these infrastructure projects would go a long way in generating economic activity in the country and ensure its progress. He said the 19.5 km, six-lane expressway would ease cargo handling through road and increase connectivity with rest of the country. The project would link Gwadar Port with the Makran Coastal Highway and improve logistic transportation of import and export.
Abbasi said a number of power projects under the CPEC have been inaugurated and were playing a significant role in the nation building activities. He hoped the completion of the East Bay Expressway would cut short travel time between major cities.
He termed the East Bay Expressway a symbol of Pakistan-China friendship and said the CPEC would further strengthen and deepen their strategic partnership.
According to the PM, these projects would transform the small fishing town to a global shipping port. “Gwadar will soon be on world map, owing to the CPEC project.”
Referring to the two main issues raised by Minister for Maritime Affairs Hasil Bajinjo, PM Abbasi said work was going on to provide electricity and clean drinking water for the local residents and said it was the responsibility of the government of Pakistan to address these issues. In few weeks, he added, the people would feel the difference.
Regarding the issues related to border access with Iran, he directed Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal to take cognizance of the matter and take action to facilitate the people.
Abbasi said the local people of Gwadar need to be accommodated at all levels, and be provided training, capacity building, education so that they are seamlessly integrated into the new jobs being offered. He said he was appreciative of the local boat building industry and said it was part of the local heritage and needs to be encouraged.
The PM said work on road to Khuzdar was being completed and would transform the entire landscape. “Today Gwadar was at a distance of hours and not days anymore.”
Highlighting the China Pakistan Economic Corridor was not limited to any particular province, the PM said there is no opposition to the CPEC and difference of opinion was part of democracy. However, he said, today all parties stand united for the completion of the project.–APP