QUETTA, March 20: President Gen Pervez Musharraf officially opened, along with Chinese Minister of Communications Li Shenglin, the country’s third port at Gwadar on Tuesday and promised a fourth port to be built at Sonmiani in the Lasbela district.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, President Musharraf said that Gwadar would be a gateway for trade with Central Asia.

China has provided 80 per cent of Gwadar Port’s $248 million initial development costs.

"This port would prove to be trade corridor for Central Asian states, China and the Gulf as 60 per cent trade of oil and gas is done through this route," the president said.

Referring to other development projects in Balochistan, he said the under-construction 950-km Gwadar-Turbat-Khuzdar and Ratodero highway projects would be completed in two and a half years. He also announced construction of the Quetta-Loralai-Dera Ghazi Khan road on the occasion.

He said the under-construction Sibi-Kohlu road would be completed in one and a half years.

“We also have plan to build the Gwadar-Dalbandin-Kandahar railway line," he said, adding that China would build a new airport in Gwadar.

The president said that the under-construction Subakzai dam would soon be inaugurated and work on the Bolan dam was in progress. He said gas had been provided to Kalat, Zhob, Mastung, Pishin and Ziarat and more cities of Balochistan would soon get the supply of gas.

He announced that a Marine College would be set up in Gwadar and that federal and Balochistan governments would provide funds for the project. He announced Rs50 million for rural areas of the Gwadar district and said the federal government would provide Rs10 million for sewerage, education and health facilities in the new port city.

He said a colony for fishermen and a fisheries’ training centre would be constructed in the area.

The president announced establishment of campuses of the Balochistan University in Turbat, Khuzdar and Sibi and said that the government had already started establishing eight cadet colleges in different areas of the province and 1000 students of Balochistan would be given admission in prestigious educational institutions of the country with scholarship.

The president rejected the ongoing propaganda against the Punjab province and said the government of Punjab had asked him to provide maximum funds to Balochistan as it was the most neglected province and badly needed more attention for development.

"Punjab is a strong supporter of development of other provinces," he said.

The president said that some elements were opposing development in the province but despite their opposition the government would continue developing the province, adding that the federal government was spending Rs130 billion on various mega projects in Balochistan.

He, however, warned anti-development elements to stop opposing the development process in the province and abandon their “subversive activities.” Otherwise, he said, they would face tough action.

"They should surrender weapons, otherwise they would be eliminated," he declared.

The president said the elements who were blasting railway lines and gas pipelines were not serving the people of Balochistan. Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Mir Mohammad Yousuf, Federal Minister for Posts and Shipping Babar Ghori also spoke on the occasion.

The ceremony was also attended by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Balochistan Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani.

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