Islamabad [Pakistan], Nov. 13 : Trade activities began under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor as Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday inaugurated the Gwadar port at a grand opening ceremony.
Emphasising Pakistan's commitment to China's One Belt-One Road initiative, Sharif addressed the ceremony saying, "We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the CPEC and all the projects under its umbrella are materialised within the given time." "This idea was conceived only two years ago, and this day marks the breaking of the dawn of a new era," the Dawn quoted Sharif as saying.
The Premier further said that new areas have opened up due to the newly-constructed roads in Balochistan which were inaccessible and deprived of development.
Sharif hailed the efforts by government of Balochistan and the Army as successful in making the local population a stakeholder in development.
"Development can never be sustainable if it creates islands of property. It must reach the lives of those who have remained mired in a trap of poverty and backwardness," the Prime Minister said.
Sharif emphasised that the One Belt-One Road project integrates with Pakistan's Vision 2025 that seeks to transform the country into a hub of trade and commerce, harnessing its geo-strategic location into a geo-economic advantage.
"The government has spent Rs49 billion on these projects. Next year, projects worth Rs200bn will be launched," the premier said. Asserting that CPEC will be helpful in integrating South Asia, China and Central Asia, Sharif said that it would offer opportunities for people in this region and investors all over the world.
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Sun Weidong said, "This the first time that a trade convoy successfully passed through the western part of Pakistan from the north to the south.
It proves the connectivity of the local roads and the realization of the concept of one corridor with multiple passages." Meanwhile, the first trade convoy carrying goods for export through the western route of the CPEC and a Chinese ship arrived at the Gwadar Port on Friday, while second trade convoy comprising over 100 containers, arrived yesterday, reports the Express Tribune.
The goods would be exported through Gwadar port to the Middle East and African countries. The proposed CPEC is about 3,000-kilometre long and will consist of highways, railways and pipelines that will connect China's Xinjiang province to the rest of the world through the Gwadar port.
Meanwhile, Baloch people and activists have been continuously and consistently protesting against the CPEC, alleging that Pakistan is only concerned about exploiting the resources of Balochistan for Beijing and its advantage.
Considered to be a part of China's One Belt, One Road initiative, the USD 46 billion CPEC will cover significant parts of Balochistan, Sindh and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
India has formally opposed the CPEC because it runs through disputed PoK..