Pakistan gateway for Central Asia: PM
* Gilani says country to capitalise on trade opportunities due to its lucrative location
* Says terrorism, foreign investment inter-connected
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is playing a vital role for the economic growth of the region, as it is a gateway for the Central Asian states, Prime Minister (PM) Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Saturday.
He was addressing the inaugural ceremony of dredging and reclamation works for the Deep Water Container Terminal at the Karachi Port. He said seaports played a key role in economic prosperity and development of a country and the deep-sea port will make an indispensable contribution to the country’s economic progress.
Golden opportunity: Gilani said the recent trends in the shipping industry, with vessels becoming larger, have increased chances for the country to capitalise on such opportunities. He said the Karachi Deep Water Container Terminal was a timely and strategic addition to Pakistan’s port facilities. “Due to our lucrative geographic location, we are indisputedly the gateway to Asia. We can provide access to the sea to emerging economies of Central Asia as well as the Middle East,” he said, adding that the manufacturers of developing countries could use Pakistani ports as a key stop on their way to meet the vast import needs of developed countries of Europe and North America.
The PM said this would also provide viable access for the landlocked countries of Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics to the Arabian Sea. He said Pakistan could play a crucial role in integrating regional economies. He said the importance of ports for economic development could not be overestimated. Declaring the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) as a key contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), he said it should continue its efforts to transform Karachi into a modern and competitive port and a trans-shipent hub for the region.
Gilani said the port would not only generate important revenue for the country but would also serve as a direct and indirect source of employment. He said the state-of-the-art facilities available at the port were capable of handling modern vessels, adding that it would also attract foreign investment.
He said China was an old friend and ally of Pakistan. He said the Pakistani government was planning cooperation with China in the sectors of telecommunications, marine trade, environment protection, mining, water and agriculture. He said one instance of such collaboration with China was its involvement in the execution of the dredging and reclamation works portion of the project.
Inter-related:The PM said terrorism and investment were inter-connected, as the eradication of terrorism and the supremacy of law was a pre-requisite for the escalation of economic stability in the country.
He said the country was faced with several challenges including elimination of terrorism, adding that the need of time was to unite by minimising bilateral differences. He highlighted the need to promote the process of political reconciliation in the country.
Gilani said the incumbents would meet the expectations of the public. He said the people had mandated the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to change the country’s politics and system by strengthening democratic institutions. He said any amendments made would be aimed at ensuring prosperity and progress of the general public. Declaring the political stability inevitable, the PM said the country’s economic crisis could not be addressed until stability was achieved. app