HYDERABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has said that Pakistan needs more internal and regional trade than external and that was why the Iran gas pipeline and Gwadar projects were being executed.
Gwadar port was being given under the control of the Chinese to achieve this goal, he said.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of Hyderabad-Karachi Motorway (M9) here on Saturday, Mr Zardari said: “There’s a debate about whether there should be external trade or internal. We need internal and regional trade more than external trade… and the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline and Gwadar-Ratodero projects are being executed. We also had a deal with China over Gwadar port.”
He said the route would link Karachi with Gwadar. “Once we are done with this connectivity, there will be progress,” he remarked.
Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, provincial Housing and Law Minister Ayaz Soomro, Finance Minister Murad Shah, federal Communications Minister Arbab Alamgir, Defence Minister Naveed Qamar and Political Affairs Minister Maula Bux Chandio also attended the ceremony.
Mr Zardari handed over keys of low-cost houses built under the Behn Benazir Bastis Scheme by the provincial housing ministry for women. He asked the chief minister to build houses in every village and give them to the people.
He said the Hyderabad-Badin-Sanjar Chang Road would benefit the people.
He said that financial dealings and documentations would be carried out online in future. “Land revenue and other taxes will be paid online and farmers and businessmen will not have to deal with any tapedar or income tax officer. There will be no role of a middleman,” he said.
The president said that Hyderabad city and Qasimabad should be developed under a project. “We have to redesign the city, keeping in view its growing population.”
Federal Communications Minister Arbab Alamgir proposed that the M9 project should be renamed as “Benazir Highway”.
He said there were 62 projects in the pipeline and his ministry would spend Rs45 billion on 12 projects in Sindh. Six of them had been completed and the rest would be completed next year.
Chief Minister Shah said the housing project was completed in time because the president took personal interest in it. The project was a gift to the entire country, he added.
Sindh Housing Minister Ayaz Soomro said that of the 10,000 houses to be built, 6,500 had already been built and 991 were in final stages of completion.
The 136-km M9 project will be completed in two years at a cost of Rs13.5bn as per its approved PC-I. It will have seven interchanges.
The road is to be used by 21,000 vehicles daily. It will stretch from Sohrab Goth to Jamshoro. It will ensure fast and uninterrupted link between Karachi and Hyderabad, reducing the travelling time significantly.
It will ensure improvement of road safety and reduction in accident apart from saving operating cost of vehicles.
The 48.3-km Sanjar Chang project will be built at a cost of Rs1,844 million.
DARAWAT DAM: Later, the president inaugurated Darawat Dam at Jamshoro and said it would ensure economic well-being of the people of Khirthar mountains.
Mr Zardari had laid the foundation stone of the dam two years ago.
He directed the chief minister to construct a bridge over Super Highway and asked him to ensure that no wrongdoing took place in recording of land of women peasants.
He said at least 15 to 20 small dams should be built in Sindh to increase cotton production.