ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan has told China that no Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan will be approved till the finalisation of policy on the development of the city, it is learnt reliably here.

The Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan and policy should be finalized before the 9th Joint Cooperation Committee(JCC) of China Pakistan Economic Corridor, scheduled to be held in November this year, said Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reforms Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar Tuesday while presiding over the meeting of the  Steering Committee Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan.

Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal, Commander Southern Command Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan, DG FWO Maj. Gen. Inam Haider Malik, Deputy Chief of Mission at Chinese Embassy Zhao Li Jian, members Planning Commission, Project Director CPEC Hassan Daud, officials from departments concerned and senior officials of the ministry were present in the meeting.

The minister posed few questions to Fourth Harbor Design Institute (FHDI) and asked to provide the answers to these queries prior next meeting of the Steering Committee, official source told The Nation.

Fourth Harbor Design Institute (FHDI)  team and Project Director CPEC Hassan Daud briefed the participants about the proposed master plan. The participants of the meeting were of the view that first the company should bring the policy for the development and then the Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan should be approved. Only policy can provide a roadmap for the execution of Gwadar Master plan and therefore the FHDI should present the policy prior the approval of the plan, they added. After its approval from the Steering Committee, the plan and policy will be presented to technical committee for the final recommendation to the federal cabinet, said the source.

Meanwhile, a press statement issued by the ministry said that the Minister of Planning underscored that Gwadar will be transformed into a developed and smart port city of international standards with effective urban strategies. He stated that a robust policy is being devised to turn the coastal city into a regional hub of trade and business activities.

The minister appreciated the work done by Fourth Harbor Design Institute (FHDI) on Gwadar Master Plan noting that earlier recommendations made on land use and policy framework have been incorporated in the proposed plan. The Minister expressed optimism that the report/master plan will be finalized soon which will then be submitted to Cabinet for its final approval.

Khusro Bakhtyar said that Gwadar port has the potential to improve socio-economic lives of people of the city and Balochistan at large which will connect the region’s land and maritime route thereby benefiting the entire region. He underlined that Gwadar Master Plan is a major milestone towards achieving an inclusive and sustainable development of the coastal city. The minister underlined that rights of the local population will be protected and they will be facilitated in every possible manner enabling them to reap benefits from the development of Gwadar.  He stressed that land price speculation also needs to be regulated.

CM Balochistan said that provincial government is committed to successful implementation of Master Plan.