AWARAN: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday called on dissident Baloch leaders to lay down their weapons and support the government in its efforts for the development of Balochistan.

“The dissident Balochs are our brothers. We have no intention to indulge in revenge and vengeance with them,” he said in his interaction with Baloch elders and victims of a devastating 7.7-magitude earthquake that struck Awaran last month.

He asked Baloch leaders to join the national mainstream and contribute for the uplift of their people and the province. He also called upon Baloch rebels to disarm and play their part in strengthening the country.

The prime minister had flown from Karachi to Awaran district in Balochistan province to review the ongoing reconstruction and rehabilitation measures being taken in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Sharif was accompanied by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources Jam Kamal and Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Maj-Gen Saeed Aleem.

He was received by Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Senator Mir Hasil Bazinjo and Sardar Sanaullah Zehri upon arrival.

Awaran to be ‘transformed into model district’

Sharif announced that the quake-hit area of Awaran would be transformed into a model district. He said advanced technology would be used for reconstruction and development of the area.

The prime minister said solar plants would be installed at Awaran, Mashkay and Nok Jo to provide round-the-clock electricity to the residents and for the tube wells. He also issued instructions for the construction of quality roads and houses for the quake-affected people.

Sharif announced a compensation of Rs 0.5 million for each deceased and Rs 150,000 for each person injured in the earthquake.

He claimed that the government had not accepted any foreign aid and all the funds for the uplift of quake-victims would be provided by the federal and provincial governments.

He said the government was cognisant of its responsibilities to help the people affected by the natural disaster.

The prime minister later flew back to Karachi where he held a high-level meeting at the Rangers headquarters to review the ongoing operation to restore law and order in the country’s financial capital.

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