PN agrees to vacate land at Gwadar Port


In a major breakthrough, the Pakistan Navy has agreed to vacate hundreds of acres of land at Gwadar Port to be used for the development of backup area, an old stumbling block in complete operationality of the country’s deepest seaport.
Also, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are inching towards a bilateral agreement envisaging cooperation in the shipping industry. Under the agreement, the Sir Lankan side would be chartering Pakistan’s fleet, comprising seven bulk cargo vessels and three oil tankers, for shipping its goods worldwide.
Further, the Ports and Shipping Ministry has decided to upgrade the Pakistan Maritime Academy (PMA) as a university.
“Negotiations with navy are underway. They have agreed to vacate and hand over the required land to Gwadar Port Authority. We would soon bring it in a written shape,” he was briefing reporters here at a local hotel Saturday.
Over 500 acres of land at Gwadar is under the occupation of Pakistan Navy and Coast Guards to be used for strategic purpose. This occupation, till date, has kept the past federal governments from building a backup area, essential to make the deep-sea port fully operational.
Flanked by Sri Lankan High Commissioner Air Chief Marshal (r) Jayalath Weerakkody and PML-N leaders Nihal Hashmi, MPA Humayun Khan and others, the federal minister said he would soon lead a delegation to China for renegotiating certain clauses of the Concession Agreement with the new operators of Gwadar Port.
The Chinese would be asked to undertake the marketing job to bring business to the port, the minister explained. “The port would be marketed in the neighboring countries which would be invited to Gwadar,” the federal minister said.
He said Chinese were greatly interested in Gwadar Port through which they would be bringing home a strategic pipeline from Iran. Also, he said the Chinese had a plan to build at the port oil refineries.
Kamran said the government had allocated in the new budget Rs 31 billion for constructing Gwadar-Kashgar road network to provide the port with the long-awaited hinterland connectivity. Also sanctioned, he said, were Rs 1 billion for undertaking maintenance dredging at Gwadar port which was lacking the same for last three years.
Also, Kamran said the Ambassador of Holland accompanied him in a recent visit to Gwadar where seeing the fish harbor had expressed his desire to enhance mutual cooperation in the fishing sector.
He said the Dutch envoy too had offered Pakistan fiber boats at a rate cheaper than market.
Kamran also declared to have formed a core committee to revive the once leading but now dead shipbuilding industry in Pakistan.
The federal minister said in a meeting at PNSC Sri Lankan High Commissioner Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Jayalath Weerakkody had expressed a keen interest to enhance bilateral cooperation in shipping sector. “They would give us business by hiring our vessels for cargo shipment,” he said.
On the occasion, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner told reporters that given the huge potential available in the shipping sector initial-level talks for looking for ways to enhance mutual cooperation were being held.
The minister told a questioner that Interior Minister Chawdhry Nisar Ali Khan would soon be visiting violence-hit Karachi to meet the Sindh governor and CM in line with the improvement in law and order situation.
He said laws about terrorism existed and were to be enforced by the provincial governments. The federal government, however, was ready to help the provinces in areas like “intelligence sharing” etc.
He said the federal government was working on a new policy to deal with the menace of terrorism which has plagued the country.