* Balochistan CM says port to become gateway to access Central Asia

* Future of nation attached to functioning of Gwadar port

QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Raisani, while highlighting the importance of the Gwadar seaport, said that it would become a centre for trade and would be a gateway to access resource rich countries of Central Asia.

He said this while inaugurating the Campus of Civil Secretariat in Gwadar. Provincial Ministers Sayed Eshan Shah, Mir Hamal Kalmati, Hasim Kurd Gilu and provincial secretaries of different departments were also present on the occasion.

“Gwadar will be an importance trade centre for the world in the near future as it has geographical importance and would become a door to get access to Central Asia and the Middle East,” the chief minister said, adding that the 21st century would be fruitful for a country having strategic importance like Gwadar.

He said that he was taking keen interest in making the Gwadar port completely functional because the future of the nation was attached to Gwadar. “All the necessary offices are being set up in Gwadar to smoothly run the affairs. It is a first step to bring prosperity and economic improvement, not only in the region, but also in Pakistan. It will boost the economy of the country if it is made completely functional,” he added.

Raisani said that his government had been making efforts from the very beginning to give the right of ownership to the people of this region over their resources, adding that this would change the life of the people and would bring prosperity through socio-economic change.

Commenting on Gwadar’s current status, the chief minister said that it was partially functional and that ships carrying cargo were being anchored and off-loaded. “Declaring Gwadar as the winter provincial capital would pave the way to expediting the process of development.” Referring to criticism over making Gwadar the winter capital, the chief minister said that some elements were engaged in a propaganda campaign and that it had to be made clear to everyone that decision was taken in the interest of the people of the region. “Those people saying that it would ill be a financial burden for the economy of Balochistan should visit Gwadar and witness the expenditure made by the provincial government,” he added.

The chief minister said that he would not pay any attention to such propaganda, but would concentrate on his development agenda, which was meant for the prosperity of the people and the development of Balochistan. Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Dosteen Jamaldini said that the provincial government had spent Rs 28.6 million to make Gwadar the provincial capital, while Rs 2.5 million were being spent on equipment and computers for offices. “Secretaries of different departments have resumed their duties in Gwadar,” he said.

The Makran deputy inspector general said that law enforcement agencies were taking the necessary steps to ensure the protection of the life and property of the people in Gwadar. Later, the chief minister visited the newly set up Civil Secretariat.