Gwadar not problematic and remains center of CPEC amid speculations
By Fatima Javed
GWADAR, Oct. 13 (Gwadar Pro) - "There is no discussion to shift the center of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) from Gwadar to Karachi at all,” said Chairman of Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication, Senator Kauda Babar.
In his Tweet, the independent Senator from Baluchistan denied any such reports circulating on social media and said that enemies of Baluchistan and Pakistan are spreading fake news like this.
He requested Prime Minister Imran Khan and Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar to respond to the fake news by expediting the development of Gwadar in the coming days.
The speculations aroused when a memorandum of understanding was signed for the Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone (KCCDZ) project during the recently held 10th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting of CPEC.
In the meeting, China and Pakistan agreed to include the Karachi project in the CPEC framework. However, this agreement does not affect the importance of Gwadar for both countries.
Experts believe that the importance of Gwadar to China lies purely in its strategic location and the Chinese have always been interested in keeping Gwadar as the center of CPEC.
Gwadar Port holds strategic significance due to its prime location and the massive investments by China to provide world-class facilities for docking at the port.
According to a report published on Hellenic shipping, China, whose western part is thousand kilometers away from its Eastern seaports, would benefit from the nearest Gwadar port through CPEC. Kashgar is 4500 km while Gwadar is 2800 km from the Port of Shanghai.
It is strategically developed to handle 200 million tons of cargo each year while plans for expanding the venture in phase III entail a port capacity of 400 million tons annually. The port has increased the existing economic and strategic interdependence between China and Pakistan.
The port was handed over to China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) in 2013. Since then construction work has been done at a rapid pace. The co-operation between Pakistan and China in Gwadar is now beyond technical and infrastructure.
The ties are now more social and emotional than before. The Chinese development sector firms are making state of the art hospitals, schools, and housing and telecommunication networks. It is a massive uplift for the whole city.
Motorways are linking Gwadar to all important cities. Train lines are making travelling back and forth from Gwadar, much more accessible. The desalination plants are attracting investors to seek water distribution networks. Salt is more abundant which can be supplied to nearby cities.
The special economic zones are a safe haven for new manufacturing facilities. Major businesses and investors are taking keen interest in tax free incentives being offered. Export sector is taking hold in Gwadar. Garments and food exporters are considering making Gwadar their supply chain end point.
In recent years a record number of Pakistani investors have also invested in Gwadar. Pakistani real estate giants made a ten-fold profit from its sale of hundreds of acres of land.
This article originally appeared on Gwadar Pro.