Pakistan is to invest $10bn in building islands off the port of Gwadar in the shape of the moon and star of the country’s flag, the Daily Times newspaper reports.
The project, which is being taken forward by Islamabad in conjunction with the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), will be part of the transformation of Gwadar set out in a 75-page masterplan prepared by CCCC in conjunction with Pakistan’s Ministry of Planning, Development & Reform and the Gwadar Development Authority.
The strategic aim is to create an engine of trade and economic development at the southern end of the $62bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The document sets a target of achieving a $30bn powerhouse and creating 1.2 million skilled jobs.
The masterplan envisages the creation of 15,800 homes by 2025, 47,600 by 2030 and 254,500 by 2050, allowing the population to increase from 138,000 in the 2017 census to about 2 million.
That population will have access to a range of amenities, including a theme park, museums, a theatre, a concert hall, an exhibition centre, as well as hotels, shopping centres and offices.
New infrastructure will include a $5bn investment in 15 power plants, a $1bn desalination plant and Pakistan’s tallest building.
The new district will also be Pakistan’s first "tax free" and "weapon-free" city, a ban that will be enforced by widespread CCTV systems, vehicle management, urban video and alarm networks.
Amanullah Yasinzai, the governor of Baluchistan, said: "This project will be a game-changer for the people in the region. It will bring a lot of development and significantly raise the standard of living of the people of Gwadar. I am hopeful that this project will bring huge employment opportunities for the youth of Baluchistan."
Image: The port is intended to grow from a population of 138,000 to around 2 million in the next 30 years (Shayhaq Baloch/CC4.0)