Gawadar to be country’s 2nd door to global economy after Karachi: Ahsan Iqbal

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Professor Ahsan Iqbal Thursday said the speed of development at Gawadar would increase with every single project coming on ground under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

He said the Gawadar would be made a smart port city having commercial and tourist facilities like Singapore or Dubai.

Addressing at a seminar on potentials and prospects of Gawadar here, he also appreciated Pakistan Institute for conflict & Security Studies (PICSS) for organizing the seminar on such an important theme and highlighting the strength of Gawadar to become model port city in the future.

The Federal Minister dispelled misconceptions roaming in the media community and in some political circles that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a name of any single road or rail alignment, or that it is aimed at competing with other ports.

He said, “The corridor is spread over entire Pakistan from south to north having several projects on energy, infrastructure, health, education, clean drinking water etc.

It will be developed due to its own unique geographical location and will complement other ports within and outside Pakistan through existing regional infrastructure”.

He explained two phases of infrastructural development under China Pakistan economic Corridor.

The first phase, he said will link existing Motorway from Lahore to Peshawar with Motorway from Lahore to Karachi, linking south and north through series of motorways.

“We are constraint to borrow further debt for country. The 2nd phase of corridor, envisaging road connectivity of Gawadar with Balochistan and KPK, will also be started as the pace of development and traffic increases”, he added.

He said, “KKH is being upgraded up to Hawelian with Chinese assistance and N-85, which was neglected for so long, will also be completed within three years linking Ratodero with Gawadar.

This will be the shortest road connectivity of Gawadar with rest of Pakistan and attract investment at Gawadar port” The Minister announced that within next three years transformational  change in Gawadar will be phenomenal with respect to integrated infrastructure and investment opportunities.

The cluster of projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will make Gawadar a commerce and tourist resort integrating three billion populations of South Asia, China and central Asia.

Earlier speaking at a Conference on Maternal and New born Health in Pakistan beyond 2015, organized by Research and Advocacy Fund here, Ahsan Iqbal said, “Pakistan is among those countries which have poor social indicators.

During 35 years of military rule in Pakistan desired allocations in social sector were overlooked.

The discontinuity of policies has made the mess of our social sector and it is now a big challenge for us to improve the situation through major economic initiatives”.

“Vision 2025 is one of the initiatives of our socio-economic agenda which will address the issues of poverty, malnutrition, provision of safe drinking water, gender inequalities etc”, he added.

He said Pakistan has immense potential and the goal of the government is to achieve over 6% growth rate by 2017/18 to turn Pakistan into one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.

Education sector is the top priority in development agenda so that our youth can become productive members in knowledge economy.

“The very first pillar of Vision 2025 aims at improving quality education and increasing budgetary allocation on education to 4% of GDP by 2018 against current 2% public expenditure on education”, he added.