Friday August 12, 2022

China not to create monopoly through its projects: Shehbaz

Shehbaz said China has always stood by Pakistan, as it does not have a desire to create monopoly through its projects

June 25, 2022
PM Shehbaz chairing a meeting to review progress on development projects in Gwadar on June 24, 2022. Photo: PID
PM Shehbaz chairing a meeting to review progress on development projects in Gwadar on June 24, 2022. Photo: PID

GWADAR: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday said China is a trustworthy and time-tested friend of Pakistan. "In difficult times, China has always stood by Pakistan, as it does not have a desire to create monopoly through its projects."

He dispelled the impression that the Chinese projects in Pakistan had any semblance with those of the ‘East India Company’ during the British Raj. He said China has always supported Pakistan at diplomatic and economic levels, and urged the people of Balochistan to value the foreign investors whose contribution is significant to the development of Pakistan.

He said that China had given a grant to Pakistan not loan to establish a hospital in Gwadar but only 35 percent work could be done on this project so far and the pace was slow. He announced provision of 200 acres of land for the establishment of a residential colony for fishermen of Gwadar, besides distribution of 2,000 motorboat engines to help them earntheir livelihood.

The prime minister stated this in an interaction with local fishermen at the Gwadar Business Centre during his day-long visit to the port city. The measures were announced in view of the problems being faced by the fishermen of Gwadar in the shape of displacement and difficulty in access to the sea that was affecting the fisheries sector.

The prime minister said his second visit within a month was aimed at holding direct interaction with fishermen and getting their feedback on issues being faced by them. To ensure merit-based distribution of marine engines among the fishermen, he directed the Planning Ministry to define a criterion with a set of parameters at the earliest. The process of transparent bidding, he said, would be carried out within three months in line with the PEPRA Rules.

PM Shehbaz assured the fishermen of addressing their problems on priority, saying the development of the province was meaningless without resolution of the problems of the locals. It was the government's responsibility to address the challenges being faced by the locals, he added. He said the federal government would take the provincial government on board for consultations on the development projects.

On the supply of clean drinking water, he said the Gwadar Development Authority had given an assurance to complete the process of laying new pipes by September.

Regarding electricity, the prime minister said 29-kilometre-long transmission lines for supply of 100MW from Iran was delayed by the previous government, whereas the Iranian side had completed the project on its side. He said the government would bring the matter before the cabinet for approval to ensure availability of power for Balochistan. He said it would develop a base-load of electricity and would be later supplemented by solar projects. An announcement would soon be made on the provision of solar panels to the people of Balochistan, he added.

He lauded the sacrifices of local people for braving the challenges during the construction of Gwadar Port, which is a harbinger of their prosperity. The PM said the establishment of Gwadar University had been included in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and maximum funds would be provided for the education of students at par with the rest of the country. He mentioned that the federal government had allocated a massive amount of Rs100 billion in the PSDP for the development of Balochistan.

Terming the four provinces brothers, he emphasised the importance of sharing resources among them for a win-win situation for all.

Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudus Bizinjo linked the development of Gwadar with the prosperity of Pakistan. He said the federal government had allocated Rs1,652 million for the development of Balochistan projects, including the supply of drinking water, and health and education facilities. He said the provincial government gave approval to over 200 decisions aimed at the prosperity of locals. He mentioned that unnecessary security check-posts were being removed keeping in view the trouble faced by the people, while the establishment of commercial markets in border areas was on the cards.

Earlier, the PM witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on establishment of a 100-bed hospital with the collaboration of the GDA and Indus Hospital. The world-class hospital will provide medical facilities to the people of Gwadar and adjoining areas.