President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of and former provincial of Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said that Rawalpindi is fourth most populated city of the Country and economically interlinked with Islamabad; twin cities are of high importance to the Country. The city is a major transit point as it connects the Northern areas to tourists through GT Road, Railways and airways.
The veteran business leader while talking to the business community of Rawalpindi said that the city has been one of the most important military cantonment areas in South Asia since the British Raj era. The agriculture products of the area include Wheat, barley, corn (maize), rice, millet, vegetables and fruits while important agri-exports include mango, citrus, etc. Main industries of the city include oil refineries, gas processing, steel manufacturing, textiles, hosiery, leather goods, transport and tourism. New Rawalpindi industrial estate is under construction to develop the industrial sector of the City while Rawat Industrial Estate provides all requisite infrastructures to existing and new industries.
The former minister said 820-kilometer Pakistan-China fibre optic Rawalpindi to Khunjerab is expected to be completed by December 2018 at a cost of $44 million. After completion, it would add a digital value to the digital infrastructure of the Country and telecom services will reach the remote areas. the Karakoram Highway between Rawalpindi and the Chinese border will be completely reconstructed and overhauled under the CPEC project which will reduce transportation.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Political / Religious protests and sit-ins have badly affected the business activities due to which traders of the twin cities have suffered huge business losses. Rapid population expansion, slow pace of urban sector development, unavailability of resources to uncontrolled urban sprawl consequently resulted in deficiencies in basic services like water supply, sewerage systems and basic community facilities. Implementing his enriched experience of trade and industry the caretaker commerce minister Punjab Mian Anjum Nisar should take measures for the development of trade and industry in the Province particularly in Rawalpindi.
He said that the city possesses rich potential as it is located to the North of the CPEC project which will further flourish with completion of the project. The city is highly valued to tourists heading to the northern areas increasing potential for small traders as tourists take special interest in gift items, traditional products, handicrafts and food spots. Government should resolve the challenges of business community considering the recommendations of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce.