The Minister of State for Ports and Shipping, Nabil Ahmed Gabol, said in a statement on Sunday that the biggest oil refinery and biggest oil storage facility of the region would be constructed near Gwadar besides making the port city of Balochistan the route of the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project. He hoped that work on the Iran gas pipeline would start soon, after sorting out some of the pending issues.
The minister said that both President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani would visit Gwadar soon for reviewing all development projects on the spot and issue fresh instructions guiding the officials how to proceed to make Gwadar the real hub of economic activities.
He said that the government would develop Gwadar region the biggest corridor for energy and trade catering the need of the landlocked countries of Central Asia.
Gabol pledged to develop the entire coastal belt from Karachi to Jiwani catering the basic needs of the people who were denied livelihood for the past many decades.
He said that the PPP government would fulfil all its promises and pledges with regard to the Gwadar port and President Zardari had already spelled out government policies on future of Gwadar port when he addressed the Baloch intellectuals at President House earlier last month. He pledged to defend the legitimate interests of the Baloch people in Gwadar conceding their demand for right of control over their resources.
The minister assured the fishermen and other segments of the civil society on the Mekran coast that the government was committed to develop the entire coastal region for the benefit of the indigenous people of Balochistan residing in the coastal region.
Regarding making Gwadar port operational, he said that the government would divert cargo from Karachi port and Port Qasim to make it sustainable giving an incentive to the Singapore Port Authority to implement the second phase of the Port development at Gwadar.
The minister dispelled the impression that the PPP government at the centre or in Balochistan would continue the discriminatory policies of the Musharraf regime, and said that there would be a marked deviation from the old policies and making plans beneficial for the indigenous people only, preferably the local fishermen, including preserving their fishing grounds and barring illegal fishing.
He hoped that both the federal and the provincial governments would join hands in defending the legitimate interests of local fishermen first and later on the people residing in the surrounding human settlements of the Mekran and Lasbela coast.-PR