Govt announces Rs100bn Balochistan development package

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said the federal government has allocated over Rs100 billion for various development projects in Balochistan under the Federal Public Sector Development Programme (FPSDP).

During his day-long visit to the port city of Gwadar on Friday, the premier witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Indus Hospital Karachi and Gwadar Development Authority (GDA). Under the MoU, the Indus Hospital Karachi would take control of the GDA’s 150-bed hospital in Gwadar.

PM Shehbaz said that the incumbent government is committed to bring Balochistan at par with other parts of the country. Regarding the Gwadar’s water scarcity issue, he said that all old water supply lines would be replaced and efforts on a war-footing basis would be made to address the water scarcity issue.

He said the government is also providing 2,000 free engines to the fishermen community in Gwadar. “We want to support and encourage fishermen.” The prime minister said the Chinese government has also provided 3,700 solar panels to the people of Gwadar to resolve the power shortage issue and added that efforts are being made to supply electricity to Makran Division from Iran.

Prime Minister Shehbaz said the federal government would extend all possible support to the provincial government in addressing the issues of the masses of Balochistan.

The prime minister said his second visit within a month was aimed at holding direct interaction with the fishermen and get their feedback on the issues being faced by them.

PM Shehbaz assured the fishermen of addressing their problems on priority, saying the development of the province was “meaningless” without resolution of the problems of the locals. It was the government’s responsibility to address the challenges faced by the locals, he added. He said the Federal Government would take the provincial government on board for consultations on the development projects.

On supply of clean drinking water, he said the Gwadar Development Authority had given assurance to complete the process of laying new pipes by September.

Regarding electricity, the prime minister said 29-kilometre-long transmission lines for supply of 100 mega watts from Iran was delayed by the previous government, whereas the Iranian side had completed the project on its side. He said the government would bring the matter before the cabinet for approval to ensure availability of power for Balochistan.

He said it would develop a base-load of electricity and would be later supplemented by solar projects. An announcement would soon be made on the provision of solar panels to the people of Balochistan, he added.

He lauded the sacrifices of local people by braving the challenges during the construction of Gwadar Port, which was a harbinger for their prosperity. The PM said the establishment of Gwadar University had been included in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and maximum funds would be provided for the education of students at par with rest of the country.

He mentioned that the Federal Government allocated a massive amount of Rs 100 billion in the PSDP for the development of Balochistan.

Terming the four provinces brothers, he emphasized the importance of sharing resources among them for a win-win situation for all. The prime minister said China was a closet friend of Pakistan, dispelling the impression that the Chinese projects in Pakistan had any semblance with those of the “East India Company” during the British Raj.

He said China had always supported Pakistan at diplomatic and economic levels, and urged the people of Balochistan to value the foreign investors whose contribution was significant to the development of Pakistan. Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bazinjo linked the development of Gwadar with the prosperity of Pakistan. He said the Federal Government had allocated Rs 1,652 million for the development of Balochistan projects, including the supply of drinking water, and health and education facilities.

He said the provincial government gave approval to over 200 decisions aimed at the prosperity of locals. He mentioned that unnecessary security check-posts were being removed keeping in view the trouble faced by the people, while the establishment of commercial markets in border areas was on the cards. The prime minister also listened to the grievances pointed out by fishermen on the occasion and assured them their redressal on priority. Earlier, he witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on establishment of a 100-bed hospital with collaboration of GDA and Indus Hospital. The world-class hospital will provide medical facilities to the people of Gwadar and adjoining areas.

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