ISLAMABAD: The meetings of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Gwadar and Industrial Cooperation were held via video-conference on Thursday.
The meetings were co-chaired by Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan and China’s National Development and Reform Commission Director General Xia Qing. Officials from line ministries, provincial governments and embassies attended the meetings.
Speaking on the occasion, Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan said that the government attached top priority to the development of Gwadar as it was a gateway of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
He said that the importance of CPEC as a strategic alternative was immense, adding that the economic opportunities that it could unleash might trump its strategic significance and bring prosperity, peace as well as stability in the entire region.
Expressing satisfaction on the progress of CPEC, he said that both sides need to take immediate measures so that the development plans could be undertaken as per agreed timelines. He also appreciated the progress made on Gwadar Free Zone, City Master Plan, Eastbay Expressway and development of the port.
During the meetings, both sides agreed to expedite implementation of Gwadar projects, particularly development of the city’s social sector and pro bono projects, recommending New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA), China-Pakistan Friendship Hospital and Vocational & Technical Institute as main deliverables to the Joint Cooperation Committee.
Secretary Hasan highlighted that the recent visit of the prime minister to China and the joint communiqué heralded a new chapter in China-Pakistan relationship and CPEC.
He informed that the government looked forward to working with China in new areas focusing on socio-economic development, cooperation in agriculture modernisation, value chains, and poverty alleviation goals.
“Within the socio-economic development, the government was particularly focusing on education, medical treatment, poverty alleviation, water supply and vocational training,” he added.
He remarked that the government was keen to explore avenues of cooperation in agriculture sector, including land fragmentation, land consolidation, land settlement, land zoning, land planning, land pooling and cooperative farming, besides establishing food processing industry in nine SEZs under CPEC to boost food sector export, cooperating in conservation of genetic resources for livestock, poultry and aquatic products, conducting joint research, and cooperating in the field of water conservation and management through the use of water-efficient technologies.