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Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the Ambassadors, Investors and Chinese workers in Gwadar

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Gwadar: 5 July 2021 (TDI)-  The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Imran Khan addressed the ceremony of Phase-II projects in Gwadar on Monday. Present at the event were the Chief Minister of Balochistan, Mr. Jam Kamal Khan, Chairman Senate, Mr. Sadiq Sanjrani, Chairman CPEC authority, Mr. Asim Saleem Bajwa, the federal ministers, ambassadors, investors, and Chinese workers.

The Prime Minister stated that the purpose of his visit to Gwadar was to inaugurate the Gwadar North-free zone that would be much larger than the 65-acre southern zone and to highlight the significance of the development in Balochistan where several areas are underdeveloped. He said Pakistan is heading towards becoming a great nation.

Mr. Khan highlighted Pakistan in the 60s was on its speedy path to development and in entire Asia, it was one of the four countries that were considered a role model for development. He said the country did make mistakes that caused the downfall in development but now he sees it back on development and Gwadar is becoming a focal point for Pakistan that would benefit the country in general and Balochistan in particular. The developmental projects in Gwadar had been planned for a long time but the lack of basic resources like energy, water, and gas made it difficult for the projects to be carried out sooner.

He thanked the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Mr. Nong Rong for his speech and for the water and energy projects in Gwadar now. The creation of the new airport, he said, would be good for the connections in Gwadar. Referring to the investors from China, he said the government is preparing to be able to service the investors. He said, he only realized after assuming the office that there are challenges faced by these investors who are investing and providing facilities in different parts of the world. He said we are now going to opt for a one-window operation to facilitate export. One of the biggest problems in Pakistan is that the exports aren’t growing or being paid attention to. It is high time we increase our exports and let the money come in so the import rate doesn’t exceed it and the economic pressure doesn’t grow because that takes the country to the IMF. The reason why Pakistan is stuck in this cycle where it has to rely on the IMF is that it hasn’t paid attention to exports. So to deal with this problem, he said, Pakistan will now focus on inviting investors in the economic zones. This would also fix the macroeconomic imbalance. The government would provide adequate service to the investors both foreign and within Pakistan. He also urged the Chief Minister of Balochistan to maintain the good coordination between the federal and the provincial government to ensure that the process isn’t interrupted by any political disturbances and Pakistan is able to attract more investments in Pakistan.

The Prime minister mentioned that Pakistan’s friendship with China is very beneficial. This friendship along with the location and the facilities being provided there by the investors there, like technical education/training for instance would help Gwadar to take off. He said the government would also be monitoring these projects and their implementation.

Talking about development in Gwadar and Balochistan and the package, he said successful development is not possible unless there is inclusivity and all regions are contributing and benefiting equally. The biggest package planned for Balochistan by the Federal government for the next four to five years is 730 Billion. This is the biggest package being provided in the history of Balochistan. The purpose of providing this package is to enhance connectivity in Balochistan so the area can develop. He said this development is necessary for socioeconomic growth so that people in their economic grievances do not incline towards extremism. This package is exclusive of the package/es by the provincial government to improve connectivity, human development, and education and academic institutions.

He said through the Kamyab Pakistan programme, the government aims to provide loans to the families along with technical training to one member of each family, healthcare. The Naya Pakistan housing scheme accelerated at a slow speed because banks were not accustomed to providing loans to the lower class. To improve this, he said, the government is working on microfinancing. Through microfinancing companies, loans will be provided to the lower class to build their own houses.

For the fishermen, the Kamyab Jawan programme has collaborated with the ministry of maritime affairs to create a programme to upgrade their boats and fishing tools.

He said right now, there is one major challenge.  While Gwadar would benefit all of Pakistan, it would also connect with Central Asia. He said Pakistan has contracts with Central Asian countries like Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and because of this, the Central Asian countries are now interested in using Gwadar for trade and passage of goods but there is a consequent threat that unless there is political stability in Afghanistan, the instability there would affect neighboring countries connected through this trading link too. The ministry of foreign affairs is in talks with neighboring countries and hopes to negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan too to make way for a political settlement in Afghanistan instead of prolonging the civil war.

Lastly, the prime minister thanked the CPEC authority and the ministry of planning, development, and reform for coordinating with the provincial government and creating the package. He said that the Prime Minister’s office will hopefully be monitoring all the development of Gwadar as the most important area of CPEC. The Prime Minister’s office will stay coordinated with the CM Secretariat and the implementation of these plans would be month-by-month progress.

 

The full speech that was delivered in Urdu can be accessed from Prime Minister Imran Khan Addressing Ambassadors, Investors and Chinese Workers at CBC, Gwadar  

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