QUETTA: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Shari regretted that despite gifted with huge natural resources and geographical location, the province had faced different challenges, he was addressing a ceremony after performing the ground-breaking of the dualization of I-section of 330-km Khuzdar-Kuchlak sections of N-25 Chaman-Karachi National Highway,
He said rich with Sui natural gas reserves, the people of the province had not been given its due benefits, adding the true potential of Saindak, coal mines, Reko Diq reserves of gold and copper could be the harbinger of development and prosperity. He said Reko Diq mines exploration had remained an issue of litigation in the past frittering away precious time and national wealth. The prime minister regretted that they could not settle the issue and as a whole and individually, they had failed to meet the expectation of the people of the province.
Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif stressed that the narrative about South and North Balochistan should be shunned, rather it should be their priority to address core issues like lack of basic facilities. "We have to learn from the mistakes of the past and missing persons issue will be resolved on the basis of justice."
The premier said that lack of facilities, neglect and sense of deprivation led the Balochistan province to backwardness, which could be overcome through collective efforts by diversion of its due shares of energies and resources to the province.
Acting Governor Jan Muhammad Jamali, Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Communication Maulana Asad Mehmood and Minister for Housing and Works Maulana Abdul Wasey, Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti, Israr Tareen and provincial ministers were also present on the occasion.
The prime minister said that they should not live in the past and keep on repenting rather they should move ahead with unity by learning from the past experiences. He said in the past, during 2000 to 2014, terrorism had wreaked havoc and the Baloch and Pashtuns living in the province bore the brunt like the people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Both the provinces had been given unmatched sacrifices against the scourge of terrorism, he said and lauded the sacrifices of the armed forces and the law enforcement agencies that had helped defeat the specter of terrorism.
The prime minister, referring to recent incidents of terrorism, said that they knew the factors but with unity and solidarity, the nation would defeat it. He stressed upon a collective decision-making power, which could remove all the hurdles and enable them to confront the emerging challenges. He opined that after tribal areas, this province had been the poorest one, despite having huge natural reserves, which were not tapped properly. He said Reko Diq is a saga of great pain and discomfort as country’s billions of rupees had been wasted on litigation. Other nations had excelled while Pakistan lagged behind, he expressed.
The premier said to live like an honourable nation, they had to stand on their feet by achieving economic prosperity. He said the coalition government was faced with huge challenges but expressed the confidence that they would rewrite a history of progress and development. The prime minister urged the political leadership to think of the country and its people irrespective of the political divide. He also announced to provide financial support to about 50,000 families of the province living below the poverty line. However, he made it mandatory for the recipients to send their children to schools as they would not like to create an army of beggars, rather to create a lot that should stand on their feet and turn themselves into nation builders.
PM Shehbaz Sharif also asked the authorities concerned to prepare a feasibility report of the Quetta metro bus, besides establishment of a technical university. He said to encourage the prolific students, the government would launch laptop programme throughout the province. He also assured of resolving the issue of missing persons in accordance with the law.
About the road project, he said that this section of N-25 Khuzdar-Kuchlak road was called a bloody road due to rampant accidents. He directed the authorities to immediately initiate the whole project instead of working out a phase-wise construction. The prime minister expressed the confidence that dualisation of Rs200 billion road project would bring economic prosperity and directed its completion within one and a half years. The reconstruction and dualisation of this section of Karachi-Quetta-Chaman highway would enhance transportation among the important cities of the province, he added.
Minister for Communications Maulana Asad Mahmood said that a journey to development of Balochistan had started and the political parties of Balochistan had reposed confidence in Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo expressed the confidence that under the dynamic leadership of the prime minister, the province would witness an unprecedented development.
The National Highway Authority Chairman Capt (R) Muhammad Khurram Agha apprised that 330-km section of the road project worth Rs81 billion, being inaugurated today, has the total length of 790 kms. After completion, the project would benefit the entire population of the province and contribute to the economic uplift of the province, he said.
Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held a meeting with Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo. During the meeting administrative matters of the province and law and order situation were discussed.
Chairing a meeting in the provincial capital, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that the federal government will provide all possible assistance to the Balochistan government for ensuring peace and stability in the province. He expressed satisfaction on overall law and order situation in the province.
The prime minister said development of Balochistan is among the top priorities of the government. He said the process of awarding scholarships to students of Balochistan will be resumed. Shehbaz Sharif said the people of Balochistan have the first right over the natural resources of their province.