Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday said Gwadar has the potential to be transformed into a successful free port on the same lines as Hong Kong to attract foreign investment and boost economy.
Sharif made the remarks during a meeting at the Prime Minister`s office to discuss the Economic Corridor from Kashgar to Gwadar in Balochistan.
He emphasised that security was a requirement to attract investment and underlined that importance of dialogue cannot be ruled out.
Sharif also announced that the Chinese delegation coming to review plans for options regarding the proposed economic corridor would reach Pakistan on Monday.
Gwadar has the potential to be transformed into a successful free port on the same lines as Hong Kong to attract foreign investment and boost economy, Sharif said.
Talking about the recent deliberations of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet that discussed the issue of extremism and terrorism, the Premier said that there was also a need to address the energy crisis on urgent basis.
Sharif stressed the importance of a meaningful interaction with militants and said it will help address all issues.
"Importance of dialogue could not be ruled out," he was quoted as saying by the Dawn.
"The country could not progress unless law and order situation improved...It would pave way for economic prosperity," said Sharif, recalling his visit to China where the Chinese side expressed concerns about the security situation in Pakistan.
He said that Pakistan had to tender apologies for the killings of Chinese nationals in terror-related incidents.
"How long will we tender apologies? We need to rectify the wrongdoing," Sharif said.
Referring to the Economic Corridor, the Prime Minister said both sides were taking keen interest in the project as not only China but the entire region would benefit from this mega project.
He said Pakistan-China Economic Corridor was the future of the country.
Sharif recalled his earlier meetings which discussed the Trade Corridor from Kashgar to Khunjerab and Gwadar and in principal approved the proposed alignment of Pak-China Trade Corridor with the directions to further evaluate the proposal in terms of time and cost efficiency.
"Gwadar Port would help reduce the time needed for transportation of Chinese exports from 16 to 4 days, besides reducing the cost considerably," he said.
The Pakistani Prime Minister said that as the mega project would go through underdeveloped areas of the country, it would also help develop those areas and bring them at par with the developed ones.
"It would connect all the provinces and all the regions would equally reap the benefits of the project," Sharif said.
Sharif said that the proposed tunnel through the Margalla hills to link Islamabad with Haripur would provide a shorter route to the commuters of Gilgit-Baltistan, Mansehra and Abbottabad.
He said the Islamabad Expressway would be extended up to Muzaffarabad and Lower Topa-Havellian portion would be soon built.
Sharif stated that the Islamabad-Muzaffarabad Expressway project was his vision and it had been planned in his previous government.
Sharif also approved, in principle, upgradation of the existing railway track system between Karachi and Peshawar at a cost of USD 2.7 billion dollars.
The two-year project would modernise signalling, communications, locomotives and enable the trains to run at a speed of 120 kmph.
This would also shorten the time needed to travel between Karachi to Lahore from 18 to 12 hours and between Karachi to Peshawar from 27 to 17 hours.