First Gwadar trade pilot shipment a watershed event in CPEC history: PM Sharif

Tuesday, 15 November 2016 00:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Sunday said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had become a reality with starting off the first shipment of trade cargo from the Gwadar Port to international destinations.

Terming the arrival of the first trade convoy at Gwadar Port “a watershed event”, the Prime Minister said the CPEC project, conceived by the leadership of China and Pakistan, had materialised, bringing a dawn of immense trade and commerce opportunities for the whole region.

Addressing a ceremony of the launching of the first mega pilot trade cargo, he said Pakistan was a proud partner of China and assured that his Government would leave no stone unturned to complete all the development projects under the aegis of CPEC on time.

He said the CPEC also manifested the desire of the leadership of two countries for shared prosperity through a broader and solid cooperation.

He also lauded the Chinese President for his vision of regional prosperity which coincided with Pakistan’s vision of development of 2020.

He said President Xi’s vision of shared prosperity through greater connectivity was the need of the hour in the conflict-ridden and increasing polarised world.

The CPEC was the fusion of Chinese President’s concept of ‘one belt and one road’ project which came as integrating the trade and commerce activities of various regional countries through enhanced connectivity, thus transforming Pakistan into a major hub of trade and commerce, he added.

23-2Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif unveilling the plaque of Pilot Project- First trade convoy at Gwadar on 13th November 2016

The Prime Minister said Pakistan enjoyed the unique geo-strategical location, standing at the crossroads of three major engines of growth, including South Asia, China and the Central Asia, and changing the fate of three billion people of the region and in future would serve as the hub of a major trade zone.

The Prime Minister said today they had gathered to witness the dream of CPEC turning into reality and further strengthening of bilateral ties between the two countries that stood the test of time.

He reiterated that the CPEC was going to be a reality and would open a world of opportunities for both countries and the region.

Terming the Gwadar Port a “jewel in the CPEC crown”, he expressed confidence that due to its geo-strategic prime location, it would play a pivotal role in future trade and cargo activities.

He said the vision of exclusive and sustained development must reach those who had been mired in poverty and backwardness and in that regard CPEC would provide benefits to all underdeveloped areas of the country, including Balochistan, KPK, FATA, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan.

He expressed hope that with the execution of various development projects, bilateral relations between China and Pakistan would reach further heights.

He said that a new era of prosperity had not only been ushered in Balochistan but also spanned the length and breadth of the country.

The Prime Minister said the construction of new roads had brought peace and prosperity in the province linking the major coastline of the country, which had been virtually inaccessible in the past due to the lack of a proper road network.

The federal government, he said, had allocated land for the Free Trade Zones whereas a project worth Rs. 25 billion was being executed for the development of Gwadar city, keeping in view its importance.

He said under the CPEC, the Government had prioritised energy and road infrastructure. To meet the electricity needs, a 300-megawatt power plant was being installed in Gwadar, he added.

The Prime Minister said the Government had already allocated land for the Gwadar Free Trade Zone with special concessions.

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

Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong conveyed the warm felicitations on behalf of the Chinese Government to the Pakistani nation and Government on the commencement of first trade cargo.

He said it was a significant development as for the first time a trade convoy had passed through the western route to the south and north of the country, showing the greater connectivity.

It proved the capacity of the port to handle the shipment of the trade cargo to international destinations, he added.

Weidong said it was a “win-win opportunity” for both countries and commended security and law enforcement agencies for providing security to the convoy.

He said about 60 different projects of the CPEC were under construction, creating jobs for tens of thousands of local people.