Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressed Gwadar Free Zone Ground Breaking Ceremony and inaugurated a string of development projects in Gwadar on September 1st. He was accompanied by Governor Balochistan Mohammad Khan Achakzai, Chief Minister of Balochistan Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Bizenjo and Ambassador of China to Pakistan Sun Weidong.
The Prime Minister unveiled plaques of projects including Gwadar Free Zone that would be exempt from taxes for 23 years and covers an area of 2300 acres. He also witnessed the handing over land of 1467 acres in Gwadar Free Zone to China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) and conferred business licenses to three initial companies in the Free Zone.
Prime Minister said ‘Gwadar is one of central points in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)’ and ‘has the potential to become a world class seaport’. He is ‘very happy to see that Gwadar is transforming into an international city’. The Prime Minister pointed out that 300MW coal-fired power plant is being built which will provide electricity to Gwadar and other parts of Balochistan. More upcoming projects including the desalination plant, the expressway and the Gwadar international airport will be completed with highest quality. He mentioned the significance of Gwadar by terming ‘Gwadar is Pakistan and Pakistan is Gwadar’.
Ambassador of China to Pakistan Sun Weidong said ‘the ground breaking of Gwadar Free Zone indicates a new era of development of the area’ and as a partner of Gwadar development, China will aim at the development of the Free Zone, making the port more efficient to ensure regional connectivity as well as enhancing livelihood for the local people.
Gwadar Port is at the joint of One Belt One Road (OBOR) and also a flagship project of CPEC. COPHC has already invested millions of dollars to renovate port facilities since 2013 and now the port has improved to its full capacity. Infrastructures and public facilities including International airport, East Bay expressway, power plant and desalination plant will be completed in the very near future. It would be a milestone of Gwadar Free Zone after 92% of land has been handed over to COPHC.（By Wang Dandan)