LAHORE - Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal has said that Pakistan will become an epicentre of regional connectivity due to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Addressing an international marketing conference in Lahore on Tuesday, he said Gwadar port would emerge as a leading port in the next two decades. He said that free trade zone were being developed in Gwadar that would make it an industrial hub of the region.

The minister said the government was spending all available resources to build infrastructure, which was essential for economic development. He said that under the CPEC nine industrial zones would be established all over the country that would bring about an industrial revolution.

The minister for planning and development said that all CPEC projects would be completed in the targeted time frame and no compromise would be made on standard. He said the steering mechanism shall be formed within one week by the National Highway Authority along with provincial representatives for new road projects agreed at 6th JCC. He said that energy projects related to CPEC would be environment friendly due to the use of latest technology and they would be built according to the international laws.

Ahsan Iqbal said the incumbent government was using its position for economic cooperation. He said that Pakistan, which was previously known for terrorism, was now being recognised as an emerging economy and centre of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He said that many countries had expressed their interest in becoming part of CPEC, which was a great change. He said that Gwadar would become a model port city and centre of trade of the region in the next 20 years.

He said that there was 18-hour loadshedding three years ago, but now electricity remained available 18 hours a day. He said that an unprecedented investment had been made in the energy sector in the last three years and 10,000 megawatts of additional electricity would be added by 2018. He said the world was reposing confidence in Pakistan and foreign automobile giants would set up their factories in the country.