ISLAMABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan Monday said that the Gwadar Port would be the gateway for the economic development of Pakistan and the region.
The AJK president, in a statement issued here on the occasion of the International Gawadar Expo 2018, said that under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan would enter a new phase of economic development and become a key player in the economic transformation of the region.
The CPEC, he said, was not only a connectivity road but brought with it major development projects focusing on power generation, the establishment of industrial zones, technical cooperation in the fields of agriculture, banking, and science and technology. It would not only be vital in the economic development but would also help generate employment and prosperity for the people of Pakistan, he added.
Under the initiative, he said that the vision of ‘One Belt – One Road’ would become a reality which would help establish Pakistan’s economic linkages with the Central Asian states. The AJK president thanked the Chinese companies and government for prioritising development projects in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir.
He said that Azad Kashmir had now become a formal part of the CPEC and major development projects had been earmarked for completion. Under the auspices of CPEC, Kohala Hydropower Project and Karot Hydropower Project were under different phases of completion and planning.
A state of the art industrial zone would be established in Mirpur, which would be connected to the main CPEC route at Mansehra through an expressway. The expressway would connect major districts of Azad Kashmir with Pakistan helping to provide modern connectivity and logistical support to industries within Azad Kashmir, he added.
The president invited investors to explore avenues in the developing economic landscape of Azad Kashmir, which had rich deposits of minerals like granite, phosphate, graphite, bentonite, bauxite, gold and coal, in varying quantities, along with some of the finest reserves of ruby, sapphire, topaz and tourmaline. Through research, enterprise, use of sophisticated machinery and public-private partnerships, minerals could be extracted through modern means to gain maximum output, he said.
Sardar Masood said that in the next 10 years, in collaboration with Pakistan, Azad Kashmir was planning to generate 8,000MW of electricity out of which 3,000MW projects were under different phases of implementation and planning.
President Masood said, “We are focusing on developing skilled human resources to meet the challenges of the growing job market and employment opportunities to be generated under CPEC and other development projects.”