Reservations about CPEC removed in three years: PM
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday claimed that they believed in action not words as all reservations about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had been removed in three years.
He performed the ground breaking of the Rs17 billion East Bay Expressway and directed that the series of development projects for Gwadar be completed on time to ensure the emergence of the port on the world map as a major trade hub.
Addressing a ceremony here, the prime minister said that the economic-free zone would be completed this year while work on the port project, Pakistan China Friendship Hospital, power plant, Gwadar Airport, etc, under the Rs170 billion plan for uplift of Gwadar would also be completed on time. The prime minister said that these infrastructure projects would go a long way in generating economic activity in the country and ensure its progress. He said the 19.5km, six-lane expressway would ease cargo handling through roads and increase connectivity with the rest of the country.
The project would link the Gwadar Port with the Makran Coastal Highway and improve the logistic transportation of import and export.
Prime Minister Abbasi said a number of power projects under the CPEC had 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 the travel time among major cities.
The prime minister said the East Bay Expressway was symbolic of the lofty Pakistan-China friendship and said CPEC would further strengthen and deepen their strategic partnership. Abbasi said these projects would transform the small fishing town to a global shipping port. He said Gwadar would soon be on the world map, owing to the CPEC project.
Referring to the two main issues raised by Hasil Bajinjo, he 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. He said in a few weeks, 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. He said the local people of Gwadar needed to be accommodated at all levels, and be provided training, capacity building, education so that they would seamlessly be integrated in 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 needed to be encouraged. He asked the provincial government to submit its suggestions in this regard and said the federal government would fully support the traditional trade and encourage it.
He said work on road to Khuzdar was being completed and would transform the entire landscape. He said today Gwadar is at a distance of hours and not days anymore. He said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor was not limited to any particular province, but was for the progress and prosperity of the country and said it had the support from across the political divide. “There is no opposition to the CPEC as difference of opinion is part of democracy,” he said. However, he said today all parties stood united for the completion of the project. He hoped it would be a landmark project and hoped other projects at Gwadar would be completed soon.