1105 GMT January 23, 2018
Shabbir Ahmed told Iran Daily that his country does not consider Chabahar as rival to its Gwadar deep seaport.
Turning to port-to-port relations, the official said that Gwadar port signed a sister-port memorandum of understanding with Chabahar Port in November 2014 and added that sister-port agreements with Chinese ports of Qingdao and Zhuhai were signed in 2015.
"A 50-year port master plan was approved for Gwadar Port in 2006 for operation, management and further development," said the official adding that operations were handed over to a Chinese company through an assignment and transfer agreement in May 2013.
He said that two ship-liners have started regular calls at the port and noted that Pakistani importers and exporters are planning to start businesses from Gwadar Port.
Ahmed further said that regular meetings have been held with Iranian officials to extend ties in the near future.
A pilot development zone with a total investment of $240 million will come on stream by late 2017, said Ahmed adding that four industrial units, two logistic businesses and commercial services will start from January 2018.
Meanwhile, responding to a question by Iran Daily reporter, Chief Minister of Balochistan, Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri said that Pakistan and Iran had shown interest in linking Chabahar Port of Iran to Gwadar Port via railway track and road.
He said an initial agreement was signed with the governor general of Sistan- Baluchestan last year and work on this project will begin soon.
The official strongly dispelled the impression that Gwadar Port is being given security by China and said that Pakistan is a sovereign country as well as first Islamic atomic power.
"Pakistan has established special security division to protect Gwadar Port and other projects of China Pakistan Economic Projects (CPEC)," he added.
The Pakistani government recently announced that it is considering the import of 100 MW additional electricity from Iran to meet the growing demand of electricity in Gwadar city.
According to official sources, at present power demand in the Gwadar area was being met by importing 104 MW power from Iran through 132 kV interconnection lines between Pakistan and Iran.
In addition, installation of 300 MW imported coal-based power plant at Gwadar has also been planned under CPEC project.