GWADAR: President Dr Arif Alvi chairs a meeting here on Friday.—PPI
GWADAR: President Dr Arif Alvi chairs a meeting here on Friday.—PPI

GWADAR / QUETTA: President Dr Arif Alvi has underlined the need for facilitating cross-border trade for increasing the country’s exports and providing maximum job opportunities to the people of border areas of Balochistan.

He was presiding over a meeting in Gwadar on Friday that reviewed trade management in border areas of Balochistan.

The president urged the officials concerned to provide telecommunication, banking and other facilities to Balochistan’s remote areas and improve road infrastructure there. These facilities, he added, could help boost trade and business activities in these areas.

The meeting was attended by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, Balochistan Governor Syed Zahoor Ahmad Agha, Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, Commander 12 Corps Lt General Sarfraz Ali, Commander Coast of Pakistan Navy Rear Admiral Javaid Iqbal, Commander West of Pakistan Navy Rear Admiral Jawad Ahmed, Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Dr Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed, Chairman of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Khalid Mansoor, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) Chairman Masroor Khan, MNA Muhammad Aslam Bhootani, Balochistan Chief Secretary Mathar Niaz Rana and other senior officials.

Urges officials to provide telecom, banking and other facilities to Balochistan’s remote areas

The meeting was updated on the status of various issues raised by the government of Balochistan at a meeting held on January 3 at the President House in Islamabad.

The officials briefed the meeting on issues relating to border trade and illegal fishing in the coastal areas of Gwadar. It was informed that the groundwork for providing basic facilities to the residents of Gwadar would be completed within six months.

The CPEC Authority chairman apprised the meeting that the project for providing 1.2 million gallons per day (MGD) water to Gwadar would be completed within six months.

The meeting was also briefed on the progress on the development of Gwadar airport. In order to facilitate foreign investors, the process of issuing NOCs (no-objection certificates) to them has been streamlined and the government would start issuing NOCs in four weeks.

The Ogra chairman informed the meeting that top 10 oil marketing companies (OMCs) had been directed to establish two additional petrol pumps in each district of Balochistan to meet the fuel requirements of the province. All these companies possessed storage facilities in Balochistan and have valid licences.

The meeting lauded the government’s decision to reduce the number of security checkposts in Balochistan.

Speaking at the meeting, President Alvi said the issues being faced by traders in Balochistan’s border areas should be resolved on a priority basis.

He welcomed the State Bank of Pakistan’s directives for banks to establish banking channels at border trading points.

Sea resources

Speaking to the officials of security forces at another meeting in Gwadar, President Alvi said the country is determined to benefit from sea resources and the blue economy.

He said the Gwadar port is not only important for the country’s economy, but it also has great significance for its defence.

He underlined the need for improving the condition of roads to increase trade with Central Asian states. “We have to focus on regional connectivity, promotion of trade and the marine economy.”

He observed that Central Asian states are eager to get access to the Gwadar port and undertake trade through Afghanistan. He said peace in Afghanistan would have a great impact on Pakistan’s economy.

He said the international community has recognised the Pakistan government’s efforts against coronavirus. The government’s timely decisions to control the Covid-19 situation not only benefited the people, but these were also beneficial for the national economy, he added.

The president said security forces of the country played a great role in the country’s defence.

He was of the opinion that a cyber-warfare was more dangerous than deadly weapons, adding that Pakistan was regularly facing cyber-attacks.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2022

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