ISLAMABAD: Senate’s Standing Committee on Defence Production observed on Monday that Gwadar was an ideal site for the construction of a modern shipyard, as there was no shipbuilding facility in the entire Gulf region as of now.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Lt Gen (r) Abdul Qayyum at the Parliament House.
Senators Nauman Wazir Khattak, Nuzhat Sadiq, Muhammad Akram, Pervaiz Rasheed, Muhammad Ali Shah Jamot, Defence Production Minister Zubaida Jalal and Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW) Managing Director Rear Admiral Ather Saleem were also present on the occasion.
The committee chairman observed that shipyards were considered strategic assets for any country as they not only contributed to the country’s indigenous commercial and defence pursuits but also earned a lot of revenue through ship exports.
He noted that the summary for the construction of a shipyard at Gwadar was approved by the previous government.
It was informed that presently, 750 acres of land with 4km of seaport has been demarcated and allotted at Sur Nullah, while Rs200 million have been released for the activation of the Project Management Cell. The committee, however, stressed the need to expedite the work on the project so that it could be completed in a given timeframe.
It asked the Ministry of Defence Production to supervise all the work, besides conducting feasibility studies from infrastructure to future load and density requirements.
The meeting was informed that labour and administrative training was being provided in Balochistan so as to facilitate the local population.
It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan only inherited one shipyard at Chittagong which was modernised in 1922 by the British. Bangladesh with 23 shipyards has now become a ship-exporting country, while India has over 43 big shipyards. Pakistan still remains dependent on KS&EW, constructed in 1957.
Karachi Shipyard was established in 1956 as a public limited company and covers an area of 71 acres. The shipyard is headed by a managing director and has a total of 2800 people working in it.
The shipyard has two graving docks, three ship-building berths and two quay walls. Till date, 448 ships have been designed and prepared by the shipyard, including some ships made for UAE, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran and Belgium.
Meanwhile, the committee supported the proposal of asking the commercial attaches to work as ex-officio defence attaches in different countries.
Regarding the purchase of surplus electricity from Pakistan Ordnance Factory Solar Plant, Sanjwal, the committee was told by POF that NEPRA has approved the case and the licence has been issued two days ago. “Consultations with IESCO are also in process and after the due requirements, wheeling charges will be paid to IESCO.”