Pakistan can become ‘attractive destination’ for Muslim tourists: PM

LASBELAKarachiIslamabad – Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed upon development of beach and coastline tourism in Balochistan province by properly exploring the unseen tourism potential of different areas which could lead to generation of huge revenues.

Addressing a gathering of local people after tree plantation drive and inspection of mangrove trees on Tuesday, the prime minister said it was the job of the government to change living standards of the people through bringing in drastic changes.  

He observed that every area had some different characteristics, adding they must also concentrate upon those tourism spots which could attract Muslim population across the world.

The prime minister, citing reason for making the country an attractive destination for the Muslims, said due to Islamophobia across the globe, the Muslims were reluctant to go to the Western or European countries along with their families for tourism. He further said that government planned to develop the beach tourism and would seek scientific suggestions from the quality consultants in this regard. On the occasion, Chief Minister Jam Muhammad Kamal and other provincial authorities were also present.

The prime minister said the hilly or mountainous areas were developed by the British during their rule, but these areas were being degraded slowly, citing an example of Murree which had been seen quite changes due to huge construction.

For the first time, the government was developing new hilly terrains and exploring other scenic spots to attract maximum tourists, he added. He said the country’s coastline remained unexplored and also emphasised upon reservation and increase of mangrove forests as they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen in abundance.

The prime minster said he was mesmerised with the beauty of the area. Allah Almighty had blessed the country with precious resources, he said, and regretted that in the past, the people did not do justice with these natural gifts.

Pakistan’s first ship-lift inaugurated

The prime minister underlined the need of valuing these gifts with proper development and planning.

He said once, these areas were developed into tourism spots, they would help change lives of the local people, create jobs with better education and health facilities.

The prime minister said the world was experiencing severe climatic impacts in forms of flooding and forest fires, affecting different parts of the globe.

He said Pakistan had already been taking lead in the global efforts to reverse climatic change impacts.

A recent report of UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), comprising a group of scientists, pointed out that human activities were changing the temperature of the world in an unprecedented way, the prime minister said, warning that the rise in temperature would make the globe uninhabitable planet, if immediate measures were not taken by the world community.

The prime minister noted that Balochistan province lacked behind in terms of progress and development due to lack of interest by the former federal governments. The previous rulers preferred to reside in London without taking pains to visit these neglected areas. Some Baloch leaders also did not pay attention to the province, he added.

The prime minister said for the first time in the country’s history, the federal government was spending a huge amount of Rs1000 billion for the development of Balochistan.

Such an amount was never allocated or spent in the province, he said linking progress of Balochistan province with the development of the whole country.

He expressed the resolve that government would provide all the basic facilities to the residence of the province. The prime minister further noted that the province was rich with massive mineral resources and if proper planning was done, it would result in huge revenues for the province.

Prime Minister Imran Khan during his day long visit to Karachi on Tuesday chaired a high-level meeting to review the progress of ongoing development projects under Karachi Transformation Plan (KTP).

According to statement issued here by the PM media office, Governor Sindh Imran Ismail, Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Minister for Railways Azam Swati, Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Zaidi, Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal and senior government officials attended the meeting.

It said that the Prime Minister was briefed on the restoration of three major nullahs of Karachi viz. Mehmoodabad, Gujjar and Orangi and two rivers of Malir and Liyari including construction of roads alongside nullah’s, laying of sewerage system and relocation of utilities.

Chairman NDMA said that NED Study/ Survey of all the nullahs was completed and anti-encroachment drive was in full swing. He said that 100pc and 98pc progress was respectively achieved on Mehmoodabad and Orangi nullahs, while 89pc encroachments removed from Gujjar Nullah. Similarly, 97pc and 90pc dredging and cleaning works respectively of Orangi and Mahmoodabad nullahs were complete, while 79pc progress was achieved on Gujjar nullah.

The work on RCC walls of Mehmoodabad nullah was nearing completion, while it will soon pick up the pace at the other two nullahs. The PM was informed that all the remaining civil works will be completed by June 2022.

The Prime Minister was also briefed on the latest update of the Green Line and Orange Line BRT projects. The Green Line Operations will commence by October this year, as 80 buses will be arriving at Karachi port from China by mid-September 2021.  

Similarly, on the request of Sindh Government, SIDCL is also procuring 20 buses for Orange Line, which are expected to reach Karachi by December 2021.

Chairman WAPDA briefed the PM on K-IV project for supply of water to Karachi. He informed that the city was currently drawing 1,200 cusecs (665 MGD) including 100 MGD from Hub Dam. The mega-polis was facing severe shortage of water, he added.

In order to mitigate the miseries of the people of Karachi, K-IV project was conceived / executed by the Government of Sindh and co-financed by Sindh and Federal Governments. However, it remained in limbo for over a decade.

Now, the Federal Government (WAPDA) was executing the project.

The Prime Minister was informed that the joint cross-sectional survey was completed up to 85 kilometers and unified consultants and international staff from ILF mobilized.

The final design was likely to be completed by October 2021.

Civil works will commence by February, 2022. The project is likely to be will be completed by October, 2023.

The Prime Minister was then briefed about the Railway projects viz. Freight Corridor from Keamari to Pipri Marshalling Yard and Modern Karachi Circular Railway (KCR).

PM inaugurates shiplift and transfer system

Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the ship lift and transfer system at Karachi shipyard, which will help improve the efficiency of the shipping sector.

The Prime Minister performed the inauguration by touching an electronic panel on the occasion.

Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi, Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal, Parliamentarians and officials of Pakistan Navy were present.

The shiplift will work as a large elevator platform to raise the ship out of water for dry-docking ashore and lowering it back into water after completion of work.

The ship transfer system with its electro-hydraulic trolleys has been designed to transfer ships from shiplifts to dry berths on land.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said the government was focusing on promotion of exports, encourage overseas Pakistanis to increase remittances and attract foreign investment.

The Prime Minister said efforts were on to check money-laundering to stop loss to national exchequer.

He regretted that Pakistan could not reach its potential of the trajectory which it had maintained 50 years ago.

Nations become strong and self-sufficient and trust their potential to flourish, he added.

He termed the installation of ship lift system as an effective use of technology to save revenue and earn foreign exchange by lending services.

He paid tributes to Pakistan Navy for the launch of ship lift and transfer system, which he said would prove fruitful in generating economic activity.

A 7300-ton capacity Ship-Lift and Transfer System was inaugurated at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW) in Karachi on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan graced the occasion as Chief Guest. Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi was also present at the occasion.

On the occasion, the Prime Minister congratulated the Karachi Shipyard, Pakistan Navy and Ministry of Defence Production for setting up such a modern facility in Pakistan. He said that now the Karachi Shipyard will stand taller in the regional maritime picture.

The Prime Minister considered this facility a gift to the Pakistani nation, on its 75th Independence Day. He emphasized that the government is committed to support local industry and is working on friendly policies to enhance shipping and fishing in the waters enhancing the business for Karachi Shipyard.

The PM said this facility is a true testament of government’s efforts towards industrialization, capacity-building and self-reliance. He hoped that the drive towards higher grounds will continue in future and the facility will be used to the fullest in the role envisaged by the planners and maximum benefits will be accrued from the investment for poverty alleviation. He hoped that SLTS will be remembered as the precursor of the revolution his government is endeavoring for in the maritime sector.

Earlier, MD KS&EW Rear Admiral Athar Saleem in his welcome address said that the project envisaged increase in the existing ship repair capacity and efficiency of Karachi Shipyard. He said that the system brings in a revolutionary concept against the existing docking technology, which can at the moment handle and repair only one ship at a time. Advantages of the new facility are that a ship can be recovered from sea, transferred to any of the repair stations and the Ship Lift can then be immediately available to lift / lower next ship, thereby increasing productivity exponentially according to number of available parking spaces.

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