Islamabad, 30 December 2021 (TDI): China and Pakistan conducted meetings of the two Joint Working Groups on Gwadar and Socio-Economic Development. The meetings were held virtually.

The 6th Session of the Joint Working Group on Gwadar was co-chaired by Abdul Aziz Uqaili, Secretary of Planning Development & Special Initiatives, and Ying Xiong, Director General of the National Development & Reforms Commission of China.

In addition, Secretary Economic Affairs and Maritime Affairs, representatives of Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Aviation, PPIB, GPA, Government of Balochistan, CPEC Authority, GDA as well as representatives of their counterparts in China attended the meeting.

The meetings were held virtually

The implementation status of the CPEC projects in Gwadar was reviewed in the meeting. Furthermore, the future course of action with regard to the development of Gwadar city, port, and the free zone was also deliberated upon.

The two sides expressed satisfaction on regular progress made on assorted projects including finalization of the Smart Port City Master Plan; full operationalization of Gwadar Port and its inclusion in the Afghan Transit Trade route; commencement of work on New Gwadar International Airport and the Pak-China Friendship Hospital; completion of the Pak-China Technical & Vocational Institute and substantial progress on Eastbay Expressway.

During the meeting, it was mentioned that Gwadar Free Zone Phase-1 had been successfully finished. Likewise, work on the much larger Phase–2 covering an area of 2221 acres has begun. The meeting underscored the need for the finalization of the Marketing and Investment Plan for Free Zone and its execution strategy.

It was informed in the meeting that the Plan would soon be presented for review to the Cabinet Committee on CPEC. Chinese enterprises, including China Communication Construction Company, Zhejiang Seaport and Huazhang Technology, Zhejiang DRC, presented their planned investments in Low Carbon Recycling Park, within the Gwadar Free Zone, during the meeting.

Pakistani side on its part assured the investors of full support and collaboration for their ventures. Moreover, it was reported that in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing travel restrictions the projects in Gwadar were executed at a steady pace.

The meeting also took notice of varied operational problems faced by the projects during the year. It was highlighted that several problems were settled through the intervention of pertinent authorities. Both sides decided to handle any remaining issues on preference.

The meeting was also informed about the active implementation of various projects by the Government of Pakistan in close collaboration with the Provincial Government to assure the provision of all the essential facilities in the city.

The projects include the provision of water to Gwadar city from nearby dams; linking Gwadar to the national electricity grid; the Gwadar Safe City project and the establishment of the University of Gwadar and certain other projects in the socio-economic realm.

The two sides resolved to increase the efforts to tap the full potential of Gwadar port and free zone. Additionally, it will be ensured that the local population as well as surrounding areas, completely benefit from these schemes by utilizing the immense prospects being generated in numerous fields.