Considering talks with estranged Baloch youth; says Imran Khan

Nation special report

GWADAR: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said he was mulling to talk to those few elements in Balochistan, who were either driven by their grudges or exploited by India in the past to spread anarchy in the country.

Addressing a gathering of elders here, the prime minister said he was considering talking to those elements, who felt estranged or misused by other countries…India, in the past, to spread anarchy. But, now the situation was completely changed.

The prime minister, while regretting the past rulers’ persistent negligence towards Balochistan, further assured that the Federal Government would enhance its contribution for the development of the province every year. He decried that the past rulers had prioritized their political objectives, always putting the development and progress of the backward Balochistan province on the   back burner.

“They did not pay attention to Balochistan and focused solely to become the prime minister of country. They preferred to live in London and spent time during summer season there,” he said in an apparent reference to former PM Nawaz Sharif.

Imran Khan said Nawaz Sharif as prime minister had 24 visits to the United Kingdom, out of which 23 were private trips, and did not bother to come to Balochsitan. Likewise, Asif Zardari as president had been to Dubai for 51 times.

Gwadar is a showcase of Chinese model for Pakistan’s development: Nong Rong

He said the one, who thought of Pakistan, would always focus on its backward areas, including the Balochistan province.  On the contrary, he said, the previous ruling elite focused on winning elections and preferred to contest from Faisalabad and other multiple constituencies, instead of coming to Balochistan. Due to their personal objectives, different areas like the merged tribal areas and Balochistan lagged in terms of progress and prosperity, he added.

 “It was our great misfortune. If they had paid attention to the whole country, they might have continued as rulers,” he observed. The prime minister said the country could achieve progress when there was simultaneous and uniform progress, across the board. The residents of Balochistan province had a sense of deprivation due to continuous neglect, he added.

Imran Khan said that 4000 applications have so far been received from Gwadar for low-cost housing scheme and the government will construct 2,500 housing units on 200 acres of land. He said 4698 youth will be given scholarships under Ehsaas Program. He announced to provide 3-G and 4-G internet connectivity across the province as communication plays a vital role in the development process.

The prime minister mentioned several initiatives for the uplift of Gwadar including the university, employment under Kamyab Jawan Programme, and the upgradation of the equipment of local fishermen to ensure value addition to their catch.

He said the Prime Minister Office would regularly monitor the progress on the development plans initiated in Gwadar on a monthly basis. The prime minister said regional countries had expressed interest in reaping the benefits offered by the Gwadar port. In this scenario, he expressed concern over the law and order situation in Afghanistan, which he said, was extremely important for the continuity of development.

Jam Kamal Khan

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan said the provincial government had been collaborating with the CPEC Authority to resolve the issues of customs. He drew attention to the problem regarding the relocation of locals along the Eastbay and mentioned that efforts were on for an amicable solution. 

He said the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the current fiscal year covered the entire Balochistan and mentioned that the extension of Gwadar Hospital up to 200 beds, construction of the first university in Gwadar, border markets and uplift of villages were on the cards.

Ambassador Nong Rong

Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong said the cooperation between the governments of Pakistan and China had led the several projects to see the light of the day. He said over the past eight years, the two countries accelerated their pace on several projects related to civic amenities, particularly clean water and solar plants. He said Gwadar was a showcase of the Chinese solution and model for Pakistan’s development.

By taking a comprehensive way of development, Gwadar Port would turn into a business hub, he said, adding that China would continue to extend support for a shared future with Pakistan.

Asim Saleem Bajwa

Chairman CPEC Authority Lt Gen (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa said the Gwadar Free Zone spread at 60 acres had been completed where 46 enterprises were operational. He said now, the groundbreaking of the second phase at the vast 2200 acres starting today would usher in a new era of prosperity in Gwadar and Balochsitan. 

He mentioned that the personal interest of Prime Minister Imran Khan resulted in materialisation of transshipment policy, Afghan transit policy, the framework signing and execution of border trade with Iran and starting work at Eastbay Expressway. 

He said several significant development projects were in progress including the Gwadar International Airport and Vocational Institute to develop skills of the locals. Bajwa said conspiracies were on the rise against CPEC. However, the commitment of the government greatly helped thwart such challenges.

Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi were present at the occasion.

Earlier, the prime minister before landing at the Gwadar Airport took an aerial view of the infrastructure built at the seaport including the Expressway.

On his arrival at the China Business Centre Hall, he was given a detailed briefing of the South Balochistan Development Package. He also held an interaction with the CPEC Workforce. 

GWADAR: CM Balochistan Jam Kamal present a memento to Prime Minister Imran Khan during visit at Gwadar.

Moreover, seven regional countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Kenya and Qatar on Monday expressed their commitment for cooperation on the development of Gwadar.

With their respective ambassadors present at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the regional countries showed their support for the development of Pakistan’s port city.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on the occasion also witnessed the signing of two Memoranda of Understanding with the government of China for carrying out development projects in Gwadar.

The accords included the implementation agreement on setting up of 1.2 MGD desalination plant to resolve the shortage of drinking water for the residents of Gwadar.

Other agreements included China’s grant for solar generators for South Balochistan, and the ground-breaking of North Gwadar Free Zone and Enterprises.

Also on the occasion, the Chinese investors through video-link from Shanghai showed the ‘Expression of Commitment for Investment’. Those who pledged to invest in Balochistan’s different sectors included Huang Weiguo (textile), Huang Daoyuan (prefabricated technology), Fang Hongyan (agriculture), Shen Jian (wool spinning), David Dia and Chen Yi (dairy processing) and Bao Dequan (textile). The factories inaugurated on the occasion included chemical fertilizer factory, Gwadar Animal Vaccination factory and lubricant factory, besides the opening of Gwadar Tissue Plant Laboratory.