Gwadar (January 29, 2018): Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday inaugurated free trade zone and Gwadar expo in Gwadar and said that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the most important initiative of our generation.
Addressing the ceremony, the Prime Minister said the inauguration of two projects is realization of the vision given by Chinese President Xi Jinping and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for developing linkages.
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He said that CPEC will prove to be a game changer not only for Pakistan but the whole region that will bring prosperity in the lives of the peoples.
“This is perhaps the most important initiative of our generation and the most visible part of the Belt and Road Initiative,” he said while addressing the inauguration ceremony of the first-ever International Gwadar Expo.
Highlighting the projects being executed under the CPEC, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said these included road infrastructure and development of Gwadar port which will connect the port with Khunjerab but also other countries including Central Asian States.
He said the project also envisages modernization of Pakistan Railways and the establishment of power plants.
Talking about the province of Balochistan, Abbasi said the future of the province is in the hands of its elected leaders.
“Political leaders of the province have to resolve their issues themselves, otherwise they will never be solved,” the premier implored.
The prime minister also reflected on the World Economic Forum, which was held in Davos last week. “..theme there [WEF] was ‘Shared Future in Fractured World’, the reality is that in today’s world the largest initiative that is mending the fractures is [Chinese] President Xi’s vision of taking the historical linkages of yesterday, transposing them onto the fractures of today and creating linkages for tomorrow”.“CPEC, today, for Pakistan is this reality; the Gwadar port, the Gwadar Free Zone, the Eastway expressway and other projects in Gwadar. It is the motorways and the highways that are linking Gwadar to Khunjerab, that are linking Peshawar to Karachi. It is the modernisation of our railway system. It is the establishment of the power projects…and it is the special economic zones that will generate employment, that will create export for Pakistan and that will give prosperity to people of Pakistan,” he remarked.
Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Yao Jing said that his country will continue to support Pakistan for further progress and prosperity.
He said the Chinese companies are being encouraged to invest in Pakistan and with the cooperation of both the countries, projects in Gwadar will contribute in the prosperity of the region.
The Gwadar Expo, which has been jointly organised by Gwadar Development Authority and China Overseas Ports Holding Company, is being attended by foreign dignitaries, ambassadors and people from the business community across the world.
The expo seeks to provide a platform for interaction between local and foreign business entrepreneurs, financiers, investors and government officials to utilise the benefits of this mega project for enhanced investment, business and employment opportunities.
A business centre has also been set up by the China Overseas Ports Holding Company, which will provide a one-window operation for matters including immigration, customs, visa operations and port clearance facilities.
Chairman China Overseas Port Holding Company Zhang Baozhong has said with the construction of Free Zone, the port city of Gwadar would become a big commercial hub in the region.
In an interview, the Chairman COPHC said development of Gwadar would help to improve the overall economic conditions of the country and also of the local people.
Zhang said for construction of Gwadar Free Zone, China had employed around two thousand local people keeping in view their involvement in the mega project.
He said Expo which would attract delegations from countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates would help proper marketing of local products including fishing, embroidery and dairy products.