ISLAMABAD: Lauding efforts of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday termed the inclusion of Karachi Comprehensive Coastal Development Zone (KCCDZ) in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a “game-changer” for the metropolis. The PM commented on the matter after the $3.5-billion project was approved by the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) of the CPEC earlier this month. He expressed the hope that it would help clean up the marine habitat for fishermen, develop low-income housing units, and create investment opportunities. “Inclusion of Karachi Comprehensive Coastal Development Zone in CPEC is a game-changer. Will clean up our marine habitat for fishermen, develop 20k low-income housing units, & present opportunities for investors,” the prime minister tweeted. The premier said that the project will also put Karachi at par with developed port cities. PM also commended the Ministry of Maritime Affairs for the initiative. What is KCCDZ? China and Pakistan agreed to include the KCCDZ under the CPEC framework during the 10th JCC on CPEC. JCC took place on September 23 in Islamabad and Beijing. KCCDZ, an initiative of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, focuses on providing Karachi with an ultra-modern urban infrastructure zone, placing the provincial capital amongst the top port cities of the world. In a first of its kind, even for CPEC, the planned multi-billion-dollar mega KCCDZ project would be built on direct Chinese investment in partnership with Karachi Port Trust (KPT). The quantum of expected investment was around $3.5 billion. It will develop on a reclaimed area of approximately 640 hectares on the Western backwaters marshland of the Karachi port. The KCCDZ would be a flagship project for not only Pakistan but also the entire region. It will be in accordance with PM Imran Khan’s vision for promoting low-cost housing. KCCDZ would also provide residential resettlement to more than 20,000 families living in the surrounding slums. The environment-friendly mega KCCDZ, envisages four new berths for KPT, adding depth to Pakistan’s expanding maritime sector. It would also house a state-of-the-art fishing port, with a world-class fisheries export processing zone. This will also boost the country’s trade potential. Besides, the project will drastically improve the marine ecosystem. It will reduce pollution by establishing a water treatment plant at the mouth of the Lyari River. KCCDZ would connect with the rest of Karachi through a majestic harbour bridge. It will rise from behind Pakistan’s Deepwater Port, with exit ramps for Manora Islands and Sandspit beach. The project carries enormous potential for global investors as well.