A view of the Gwadar port. — Photo by AFP
A view of the Gwadar port. — Photo by AFP

QUETTA: The Balochistan government has said that ports and shipping are the subjects handled by the federal government and the provincial government has no role in the award of Gwadar Port contract to China.

In a statement issued here late on Friday night, a spokesperson for the Balochistan government termed the criticism of the provincial government for the award of the contract to China unjustified.

He rejected objections raised by some quarters over the role of provincial government on the issue, saying constitutionally the federal government was responsible for taking any decision about ports and shipping.

The spokesperson said Gwadar Port was completed in 2007 at a cost of $287.8 million by a Chinese company and the contract for handling of the port was awarded to a Singaporean company by the then government of Gen Pervez Musharraf.

He said one of the objectives for constructing the port was to create jobs. Under the agreement, the Chinese company would set up a free economic zone in Gwadar which would promote trade and industrial activities, besides connecting Gwadar to other parts of the country.

He said Gwadar Port is an asset of the people of Balochistan, which would strengthen provincial economy.

The spokesperson referred to a statement of Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi in which he said on the eve of the signing of the contract that benefits of Gwadar Port should first be given to the people of Balochistan.

He said experts had expressed apprehensions that if Gwadar Port was not made fully operational its machinery would become unusable. After the construction of three births only 4 million tons of fertiliser and about one million ton of wheat had been imported through the port which was not enough to make it fully operational, he added.

Referring to Reko Diq project, the spokesperson said the previous provincial government took it back from Tethyan Copper Company to run it by itself. The TCC filed a case in the ICC ICA and ICSID, London, against the decision. However, both forums allowed the Balochistan government to continue running the project.

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