KARACHI/GWADAR: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday led the groundbreaking ceremony of the multimillion dollar, Chinese-funded New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA), promising to take locals onboard while undertaking development activities in their area.
“I am very happy to be in Gwadar,” he said. “It is my first visit.”
The $230 million NGIA project is part of the Gwadar city development project worth $690 million. The Chinese government is financing the program that falls under the purview of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The NGIA will be able to handle a combination of various airplanes, such as ATR 72, Airbus A300, Boeing 737 and 747, on domestic and international routes.
The covered area of the airport will be 18 square kilometers (approximately 4447.9 acres) and it will have 14,000 square meter terminal building, airfield area (category 4F runway of 3658 meters) and air traffic control facilities, including metrology, communication and navigation.
The prime Minister assured local fishermen that the development would not affect their businesses as “they fear that they will be deprived of their livelihood due to the express way.” “We have allocated funds for you,” he added. “We will make bridges so there is no hindrance in the way of your business.”
Khan assured local residents of the area that his administration would take them along and they would be the first to benefit from the development work.
He added that his government was seeking help from China to develop railway lines and acquire latest technology. “We will connect Gwadar and Quetta through a rail link. We are seeking help from the Chinese because China is far advanced in terms of its railway technology. For example, you can travel in four hours from Karachi to Lahore in a Chinese train. We will develop such technology with Chinese assistance.”
He further announced: “I am going to China in April to enhance cooperation in various sectors, such as train technology, agriculture and fisheries.”
Earlier, the prime minister performed the groundbreaking of a cardiac center and Quetta-Zhob road. Both projects will be implemented by the Pakistan Army and the provincial administration of Balochistan under a joint venture.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Chief Minister Balochistan Mir Jam Kamal accompanied the prime minister during the groundbreaking ceremony. “The Pakistan Army, in collaboration with the government of Balochistan, has planned construction of a state-of-the-art Balochistan Health Complex in Quetta as part of the Khushal Balochistan Program for providing best medical facilities to the local population under [projects] sponsored by the United Arab Emirates,” said a statement issued by the military’s media wing, ISPR.
The cardiac facility will be the first in the province. To make it environment-friendly, Bio Medical Workshop and Waste Management Plant will also be constructed.
The Quetta-Zhob N-50 Motorway will pass through Kuchlak, Muslim Bagh and Qilla Saifullah, reducing the travel time between Quetta and Dera Ismail Khan from 12 hours to four hours. It will also result in the socioeconomic uplift of the local population. The road will also facilitate speedy transportation of goods from the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the seaport of Karachi.