Imran says addressing their grievances can prevent hostile elements, including India, from using them to spread chaos
Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that he is mulling to hold talks with angry Baloch in Balochistan so that hostile elements, including India, could not use them to spread chaos.
“It is possible that they [angry Baloch] have grievances and India [can] use them to spread anarchy,” Premier Imran said on Monday while addressing local elders, students and businessmen in Gwadar on Monday.
Firing a broadside at the previous rulers, PM Imran said, “[PML-N supremo] Nawaz Sharif made 24 visits to London, 23 of which were private and did not visit Balochistan twice, while Zardari made 51 visits to Dubai and never once visited Balochistan.”
Imran said that in a parliamentary system, the politics of political parties is towards winning elections and they do everything they can to become the prime minister by winning more seats. “Sharif and Zardari have done the same in the past. They ignored Balochistan and backward areas. Sharif used to spend the money he made from corruption by going to London to spend summers and shopping.
“The goals and thinking of the previous rulers were different. Politicians who think about elections do not focus Balochistan but on Faisalabad division, which has more seats. By winning more seats like this, they try to become the prime minister while my priority is not to win the election but to serve the people.”
He said he could have lived a luxurious life in London if he had wanted to, but he preferred national service.
The PM said his government announced the historic development package for Balochistan to alleviate the sense of deprivation on the people of the province.
“In the past, governments only pursued the politics of winning elections. My goal is not to win the election,” he said. “For the development of the nation, it is necessary that the whole country be raised together. We gave a record development package to alleviate the sense of deprivation of the people of the province.”
He said that in the past, the areas of Balochistan and erstwhile FATA were neglected, no money was spent on human beings in these areas due to which these areas lagged behind in the race for development.
“Balochistan will benefit the most from China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the interest of local people will be taken into consideration.”
Earlier, while addressing a ceremony in connection with the signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for several projects under CPEC, the premier said: “We now have to focus fully on Gwadar’s development as doing so will benefit the province as well as the country.”
PM Imran said that Pakistan’s development was linked with Balochistan and Gwadar will be developed at all costs.
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The premier directed the authorities to ensure progress in Gwadar on a monthly basis, saying there shouldn’t be any impediments in this regard.
He observed that Balochistan lacked connectivity and that hampered socioeconomic development of the people there, giving rise to subversive activities in the province.
“Those who like unrest attempt to take the local people on board to carry out their activities.”
He stated that a one-window operation was being started to facilitate investors, especially the local investors, businesses and industries.
He said Gwadar will serve to connect the Central Asian countries. However, he added, that the only concern for all the countries is peace in Afghanistan.
The premier added that Pakistan will work with countries neighbouring Afghanistan to help establish peace in Kabul.
“All stakeholders are striving to establish peace in Afghanistan,” he observed. “A civil war in Afghanistan would mean that trade contacts with Central Asian countries would be cut-off. We would also try to talk to the Taliban to enable a political settlement in Afghanistan.”
During his day-long visit, the premier performed the ground-breaking of the second phase of the Gwadar Free Zone, spread at 2,200 acres, as well as three factories.
He also witnessed the signing of an MoU for the setting up of 1.2 MGD desalination plant to resolve the issue of drinking water unavailability in Gwadar.
Other agreements included Beijing’s grant for providing solar generators to South Balochistan and North Gwadar Free Zone and Enterprises.
‘China committed to CPEC’
Addressing the participants, Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong said China was committed to developing the CPEC project.
“We are committed to push forward with the programme to ensure Pakistan’s economic development,” he said.
The envoy added that Beijing would provide strong support to Islamabad, both geo-politically and geo-economically.
“The project will bring about an economy of a great scale, create more job opportunities and enhance manufacturing [sector]. China will move ahead to build close China-Pakistan community and a shared future,” he remarked.
CPEC, he noted, is a pilot project guided by shared contribution. “May CPEC prosper day by day and may the Pak-China friendship last forever.”
He was briefed on the ongoing development projects in the area and the progress made so far in this regard.
The PM arrived in the city on a day-long visit to review the projects. He was accompanied by members of the federal cabinet.
CPEC Authority Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa, Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal and other Pakistani and Chinese officials also spoke on the occasion.