Pakistan and China have resolved to redouble efforts to tap full potential of the Gwadar port and free zone and to ensure that the local population fully benefits from the projects launched in various sectors, Dawn news reported.
Pakistani and Chinese officials held meetings of the two Joint Working Groups on Gwadar and Socio-Economic Development through video conferencing equipment, the Planning Ministry in Islamabad said in a statement.
One of the meetings underlined the need for finalising the Marketing and Investment Plan for Free Zone along with its implementation strategy. The meeting was informed that the plan would soon be submitted for consideration to the Cabinet Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The sixth session of the Joint Working Group on Gwadar was co-chaired by Pakistan secretary for planning, development and special initiatives Abdul Aziz Uqaili and Ying Xiong, the director general of the National Development and Reforms Commission of China, the Dawn news report said.
The meeting reviewed the implementation of the CPEC projects in Gwadar and deliberated upon the future course of action with regard to development of the city, port and the free zone, said the Ministry statement.
Both the sides expressed satisfaction over steady progress made on various projects, including full operationalisation of the Gwadar port and its inclusion in the Afghan Transit Trade route; finalisation of the Smart Port City Master Plan; completion of the Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute; substantial progress on Eastbay Expressway; commencement of work on New Gwadar International Airport and the Pakistan-China Friendship Hospital.
The meeting noted that the project called Gwadar Free Zone Phase-1 had been successfully completed, while work on the bigger Phase-II, covering an area of 2,221 acres, had been started, the report added. Representatives of several Chinese enterprises, including Zhejiang DRC, China Communication Construction Company, Zhejiang Seaport and Huazhang Technology, made presentations during the meeting on their planned investments in the Low Carbon Recycling Park, within the Gwadar Free Zone. The Pakistani side assured the potential investors of full support and cooperation for their ventures.
The session noted that despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions, the projects in Gwadar were implemented at a steady pace. The meeting also took note of various operational issues faced by the projects during the course of the year, the Dawn news report added.
The meeting was also apprised that the government of Pakistan was actively implementing various projects, in close collaboration with the provincial government, to ensure provision of all the necessary facilities in Gwadar.
Such projects include linking Gwadar to the national electricity grid; provision of water to Gwadar city from nearby dams; establishment of the University of Gwadar and Gwadar Safe City project and certain other projects in the socio-economic domain, the report said.