GWADAR: Pakistan and China, on Monday, inked five agreements and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for strengthening collaboration between Gwadar and the Chinese port cities as Pakistan inaugurated an economic free zone in Gawadar as part of the multi-billion dollars China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi witnessed the ceremony, as representatives of Pakistan and China inked the documents, following the inauguration of Gwadar Free Zone.
Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, Interior Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Maritime Affairs Federal Minister Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Information Minister of State Marriyum Auranzeb, China Overseas Port Holding Company Chairman Zhang Baozhong and Gwadar Port Authority’s Dostain Khan Jamaldini were also present on the occasion.
Two agreements declared Pakistan’s Gwadar and China’s Tianjin as sister ports, and Gwadar and Piung as sister cities. Another agreement was signed for cooperation between Pakistan State Oil (PSO), Gwadar International Terminals Limited (GITL) and Gwadar port.
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and China’s Free Trade Zone Company signed an agreement for cooperation in their respective field while another agreement was also signed between Gwadar and HATA Trade City.
An MoU on Gwadar Poverty Alleviation Initiative was also inked between Gwadar district government and China Overseas Ports Holding Company.
The prime minister described CPEC as a “game changer” and said that the potential of Gwadar has been fully realised because of the vision of President Xi Jinping and former premier Nawaz Sharif. “CPEC is turning into a reality today which will change the fate of the region,” he commented.
“Connectivity through Gwadar will bring prosperity not only to Pakistan but also to the Central Asian states, western China and Afghanistan. Projects that are part of CPEC are based on financial viability and environmental sustainability,” he added.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi further said that the modernisation of the railway line from Karachi to Peshawar and Khunjerab to Gwadar, upgrading of the road network, building of infrastructure and power projects and setting up of special economic zones will bring prosperity to the people.
“Ongoing policies for economic development will continue, no matter which party forms the government when elections are held in July after the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government completes its term,” he said and stressed the need to urgently transform Gwadar into an international city.
Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing while speaking on the occasion assured that his country will continue to support Pakistan in the future and added that Chinese firms are being encouraged to invest in Pakistan and projects in Gwadar will contribute to the prosperity of the region.