Birmingham: Hundreds of members of the Pakistani diaspora in Birmingham, U.K, expressed their enthusiasm to invest in an upscale real estate project in the port city of Gwadar in the restive Balochistan province at a real estate event held here over the last weekend.
The event aimed to sell plots in China-Pak Hills, a real estate project spread over 3.6 million square-feet of land in Gwadar, to eager expat Pakistanis in the city.
The project is being built by Top International Engineering Corporation, a Chinese-state owned construction company. It primarily caters to Chinese professionals expected to arrive in Gwadar by 2022.
Potential investors were welcomed at the event where the China-Pak Hill Investments opened its Birmingham portfolio with signs in the foyer of the Malmaison Hotel that read, ‘Long Live Pak-China Friendship’.
The majority in attendance at the event were from the Pakistani expatriate community, who said they continue to maintain strong ties with Pakistan either through business or family connections.
The event started with a short video clip showing scenes from the construction site, the proposed virtual community and highlighting details about opportunities to invest in plots ranging from five marlas to a kanal.
In September, the China Pak Investment House had announced its acquisition of the 3.6 million square-foot land in Gwadar for the International Port City project. The scheme features a $150 million gated master community with enough space to house 500,000 incoming Chinese professionals.
One Investments Ltd, a UK based property investments company, has been appointed as the ‘Global Master Agent for Development’ for the project. One Investments’ Zeeshan Shah said in a statement, “China Pak Hills is a unique and exciting opportunity. The level of investment and commitment made by the Chinese government in the CPEC guarantees that Gwadar is going to be one of the most important trading and access points in the world.”
Speaking at the weekend event, a senior investment consultant, James Sutton, said that hundreds of Pakistani expats had attended recent roadshow investment events in London and Manchester. “Pakistanis are enthusiastic to see the development taking place in their country and to have a chance to be a part of it.”
The five-marla plots were sold for GBP 100,000 each. Potential investors were allowed to purchase up to five plots each.
Among Pakistani expats present at the ceremony was Birmingham-based school teacher Mr. Safdar. He said he was born in Mirpur, Kashmir, but was settled in the U.K for 30 years.
“I own several houses in Pakistan. Investing in our country is important for the future of the country and our family. One day when the security situation settles I will take my family back to my homeland.”
Mr Moazzem Begg, another participant, said he owned a business in Small Heath, Birmingham. He said, “I’m confident in purchasing plots in China-Pak Hill project because of China’s involvement.” Describing his lack of confidence in Pakistan’s economy, he said, “if this was just a Pakistan government project, I wouldn’t touch it given the corruption of elected officials.”
China’s investment in Pakistan in infrastructure and energy investment, military exports and loans adds up to nearly $1.2bn. Many business owners and politicians have shown concerns regarding Pakistan’s over reliance on China. They maintain that this can have detrimental consequences for the future of the country.
South Asia political analyst Martin Dawson explains, “if Pakistan fails to repay the debt we may see China seize resources and power from its poorer, weaker neighbour.