Gwadar to be declared duty free port, says Nawaz Sharif

Prime Minister vows to develop the port city like Singapore and Dubai.

By Afzal Khan

Published: Fri 12 Jun 2015, 9:02 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:56 PM

Islamabad: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced on Thursday that Gwadar would be declared a duty-free port.

“Gwadar should be a gift for the entire region,” he said, while addressing the National Assembly.

The prime minister vowed to develop Gwadar city on modern lines as Singapore and Dubai.

The premier went on to say that although he has not formally approached any party for the change in status for Gwadar, he does intend on do it.

“I request all parties to sit with us and give Gwadar the status of a free port and make a new administrative system for it,” he said.

Sharif said the government wants to make Gwadar a best port, city and a district.

Regarding his recent visit to Tajikistan, the prime minister said, “In my recent meetings with leaders of Tajikistan, they expressed their desire to increase connectivity between the two countries and pave the way to Central Asia through Gwadar.”

“Over Rs30 billion have already been allocated for the western route under Pakistan-China Economic Corridor project,” the premier told the lawmakers.

He said that motorways are being constructed in all the four provinces to provide better communication facilities to the people and for development of the country.

Responding to criticism from the opposition, the premier said, “Our government made a coastal highway in Gwadar and it was us who started work there.”

He went on to assure the House that motorways would be built in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. “Motorways are being constructed across the country,” he said.

Responding to points raised by Pakistan People’s Party’s Nawab Ali Wassan in his budget speech, the premier said, “The work on Hyderabad-Karachi section of Lahore-Karachi Motorway has already begun,” adding that work on the Hyderabad-Sukkur section will also be completed soon.

“In KPK, work on the Hazara Motorway is progressing rapidly,” he said, adding that the PML-N government is working on these projects as a national duty and expressed confidence that these projects would be completed during the next three years.

Hitting back at Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah for claiming that motorway projects should have been completed in 1990, the premier said, “In 1993, our government was dissolved and in 1997, we decided to make the motorway till Karachi again but were unable to.”

He said the PML-N government is working on these projects as a national duty and expressed the confidence that these projects will be completed during the next three years. He said that the Coastal Highway from Gwadar to Karachi was also constructed by the PML-N government. On energy, the prime minister expressed the confidence that loadshedding will come to an end in next three years.

He said work on different energy projects is going on rapidly. He said these projects include two plants of 330MW each in Thar based on coal. He said Thar Coal mine will also be developed and its coal will be used in these projects. He said two projects of 1320MW will be completed at Port Qasim and Hub.

The prime minister said 18 hours load-shedding was not being carried out in any part of the country as was pointed out by the opposition member Nawab Ali Wassan.

“Work on multi-billion projects to produce over 5,000MW of electricity is rapidly progressing,” he said.

(With inputs from Online)

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