Gwadar becomes capital of South Balochistan

Official says this decision will have a positive impact on the port city's image

ISLAMABAD: Gwadar, a crown jewel of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), has become the capital of South Balochistan, a move that will bring the coastal town into new limelight, catapulting its “star image” on the national and international spectrum.

Talking to Gwadar Pro, Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) Chairman Naseer Khan Kashani revealed that GPA has got an official status of capital of South Balochistan. “We have received a letter from the Government of Balochistan in this regard.”

A government official of Balochistan said that Gwadar is now an official provincial metropolis of South Balochistan.

GDA officials said that the provincial government has declared the rest house of Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) as the secretariat office of Gwadar.

It is revealed that an agreement in this regard has been inked on Wednesday (March 31). Funds have also been allocated to furnish the civil secretariat of Gwadar. A team of Services & General Admission Department has launched the recruitment process.

Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) official Nadir Baloch said that the new initiative would have a positive impact on the image of Gwadar rising as the apple of the eye for everyone especially for those who visualise Gwadar as a unicorn of future development. It will help charge up Gwadar Master Plan, he added.

It is pertinent to mention here that on February 23, 2017, former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri announced to designate Gwadar as the winter capital of the province and directed all provincial departments to set up their offices in the port city.

Presiding over the 16th meeting of the GDA governing body, he said that the decision had been taken in view of the importance of Gwadar as a future economic hub of the country.

A day earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had invited Tajikistan to benefit from Pakistan’s Gwadar port as the shortest trade route to Southeast Asia, Middle East, and Africa.

Qureshi, while speaking to his Tajik counterpart Sirajuddin Mehruddin, had emphasised tapping the immense trade potential existing between the two countries.

Gwadar and the country’s other seaports could help boost bilateral trade volume between Pakistan and Tajikistan, he said.

Qureshi was in Tajik capital as part of his visit to attend the 9th Heart of Asia — Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) Ministerial Conference.

Similarly, Pakistan and Uzbekistan had previously agreed to form a joint working group (JWG) for future coordination in connection with “access to Pakistani seaports”.

This was agreed upon when Uzbekistan Railways Deputy Chairman Akmal Kamalov along with a delegation called on Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi on Wednesday.

The delegation apprised the minister of their visit to the ports in Karachi and Gwadar, and discussed the way forward for cargo transportation.

Moreover, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) parliamentary committee last month had recommended expediting the process of completion of the new Gwadar International Airport and avoid an unnecessary delay in construction work either by Pakistan or China.

Committee Chairman Sher Ali Arbab had observed that the new airport was of utmost importance for attracting investors and exploiting the strategic location of Gwadar.

The meeting was apprised about the progress of New Gwadar International Airport, which the chairman had said would prove conducive in effective operationalisation of Gwadar port if approved timely.

The committee had also been briefed on various infrastructure, energy and socio-economic development projects for Gwadar under the CPEC framework, in addition to briefings on Gwadar Port Free Zone, East Bay Expressway and Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute.

The meeting had been informed that the Gwadar Free Zone Policy has been approved. The policy provides potential incentives for imports and exports and will pay the way for further triggering economic activities in Pakistan.

Furthermore, given the importance of Gwadar for the successful implementation of CPEC, the committee had decided to convene a special meeting to sort out energy-related issues with other stakeholders to ensure the timely completion of the specific projects.

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