PM inaugurates Gwadar port as trade activities open

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif welcomed on Sunday the first large shipment of Chinese goods through the renovated port of Gwadar, part of a trade link between western China and the Arabian Sea.

The trade caravan reached Gwadar from China under the strict security cover of Pakistan Army and other security agencies that would now be shipped to its next export destinations.

Addressing the launching ceremony of the first mega pilot trade cargo, the premier said the dream of CPEC is now turning into reality and this marks the dawn of a new era for the regional development.

The enemies of the CPEC are actually enemies of Pakistan, PM Nawaz said. Every region and the province of Pakistan will benefit from the CPEC that is a comprehensive project of peace and economic progress, he stressed.

Commenting on the terror attack on a shrine in Khuzdar, he reiterated government’s resolve to eliminate terrorism from the country. Those terrorists can not deter us from peace and development, he said.

Starting its journey from Kashghar, the trade cargo reached Gwadar safely from Gilgit Baltistan after travelling throughout the country that also manifested the image of a peaceful Pakistan.

Excerpts from Prime Minister's Speech:

While addressing to the participants of the Trade Pilot Project ceremony the PM said, “Efforts of the federal and provincial governments and the Pakistan Army have remained successful in making the people of Balochistan stakeholder in CPEC.”

He further said, "Pakistan is located at the intersection of three engines of growth in Asia… the CPEC will interconnect these engines."

"The government has spent Rs49 billion on these projects. Next year, projects worth Rs200bn will be launched," the PM said.

"This idea was conceived only two years ago, and this day marks the breaking of the dawn of a new era," the premier said.

The PM also mentioned, "CPEC is for entire Pakistan and no region or province will be left out of it."

The government has already allocated land for Gwadar Free Trade Zone and the government has also announced concessions for Gwadar Port and Free Trade Zone in Balochistan.

Moreover, the projects of Exclusive Industrial Park Processing Zone and Mineral Economic Zone are also being executed on priority basis.

Meeting energy requirements

Addressing the ceremony, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said that the Gwadar sea port will bring prosperity not only to the people of Pakistan, but the entire South Asian region,

The Chinese ambassador thanked Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership for their cooperation and support.

"This the first time a trade convoy has successfully passed through the western part of Pakistan from the north to the south. It proves the connectivity of the local roads and the realisation of the concept of one corridor with multiple passages," said Sun.

"This is also the first time that the Gwadar port is exporting containers to overseas destinations. It proves the port has restored it designed handling capacity."

"This is also the first time that Pakistan and China co-organised a trade convoy through Pakistan to Gwadar port," said the ambassador.

Sun also said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will help overcome socio-economic problems, and would meet the energy requirements.

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