Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that Balochistan is in sharp focus of national leadership and the army is fully engaged in enabling national and provincial response in synergy with other institutions of the state, a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.
The military’s media wing said that the army chief expressed these remarks during the 7th National Workshop Balochistan at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.
Attended by a large number of parliamentarians, bureaucrats, members of civil society, youth, academia and media representatives, the workshop is aimed at enabling future leadership of Balochistan in understanding vital national and provincial issues and mounting a cohesive response.
Speaking at the occasion, according to the ISPR, the COAS said that Balochistan’s peace and prosperity is the bedrock of Pakistan’s progress.
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“It is time to reap dividends of hard-earned peace and expedite socio-economic development adopting people-centric approach for attaining enduring stability,” he added.
Gen Qamar said that the security forces shall remain steadfast and determined to defeat enemies of peace and prosperity of Balochistan and Pakistan.
Highlighting internal and external challenges, he said that full-spectrum threat demands a comprehensive national response.
“We are a resilient nation that has endured the tests of time on its path to achieving peace and stability,” the COAS was cited by the ISPR as saying.
The army chief’s statement comes a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that he is mulling to hold talks with angry Baloch so that hostile elements, including India, could not use them to spread chaos.
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PM Imran had said that Pakistan’s development is linked with Balochistan and Gwadar will be developed at all costs.
The premier had 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 the socioeconomic development of the people, 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 is being started to facilitate investors, especially the local investors, businesses and industries.
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.