The Cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has approved a Rs300 million budget for the building of three shared border markets in Balochistan. The ECC meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, approved the Commerce Ministry’s summary on Wednesday, which requested approval for a transfer of Rs300 million from the Ministry of Railways’ budget to the Commerce Division through a technical supplementary grant for the establishment of joint border markets with Iran and Afghanistan.
According to sources, the Commerce Ministry informed the audience that Prime Minister Imran Khan presided over a meeting on September 17, 2020, where the decision to construct joint border markets with Iran and Afghanistan was made. The group decided to create a total of eighteen border markets, six of which would be located completely in Balochistan along the Pakistan-Iran border.
However, two pilot projects in Balochistan’s Gabd and Mond were required to be implemented in the first phase. Later, on April 23, 2021, at another meeting presided over by the prime minister, it was decided to add a border market in Chedgi-Kohak, Panjgur District, to the list of pilot projects. The meeting was also informed that during Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s visit to Iran on April 21, 2021, the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Iran signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Tehran to establish border market pilot projects in Chedgi-Kohak, District Panjgur, Mand-Pishin, District Kech, and Gabd-Rimdari, District Gwadar.
The ECC was asked to approve a technical supplementary grant of Rs300 million from Pakistan Railway’s PSDP allocation in favour of the Commerce Division for the establishment of joint border markets in Mand, District Kech, Gabd, District Gwadar, and Chedgi, District Panjgur, with each project costing Rs100 million.
The ECC also authorised a Rs98.700 million technical extra grant to address the needs of the Frontier Corps KP (South), DI Khan, under the Interior Division. The ECC also authorised a Rs25 million technical extra grant for the Interior Division’s Headquarters Pakistan Rangers, Islamabad.