GWADAR: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will bring development, progress and economic stability to Balochistan and other parts of the country.
Addressing a public meeting at the Gwadar Cricket Stadium on Thursday, he said the deprivation of the people of Balochistan would come to an end as the port city would bring a ray of hope for them. He said Pakistan would be Asia’s and Gwadar Pakistan’s tiger with the completion of projects under the CPEC.
Unveiling a development package for the port city, including a university, a 300-bed hospital and a desalination plant, the prime minister said Gwadar would become the country’s unique small district having all basic amenities similar to big cities of the country.
He said his government was making all-out efforts to improve the living standards of the people of Gwadar and make Balochistan a developed and prosperous province.
Sharif announces establishment of university, hospital and desalination plant in port city
Balochistan Governor Mohammad Khan Achakzai, Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri, federal and provincial ministers, Balochistan Chief Secretary Shoaib Mir and Gwadar District Counsel chairman Babu Gulab were present on the occasion.
The prime minister said Balochistan had been connected with all big and small cities of the country through road link and work was under way on a 1,100km road network across the province.
He said the government had already purchased a 500-acre land to build a state-of-the-art university in Gwadar to equip the locals with contemporary education at their doorsteps and an amount of Rs1 billion for the purpose would be allocated in the upcoming budget.
He said 50 youths of Gwadar would be sent to China on government expenses to learn the Chinese language in view of their future contribution to the CPEC. He directed the Higher Education Commission to allocate seats for Gwadar students in top universities of the country.
Mr Sharif said a 300-bed hospital would be established in Gwadar and deserving residents would be issued health cards to get medical treatment at hospitals anywhere in the country. A desalination plant will be set up on an urgent basis to overcome the shortage of drinking water in the port city. He announced a grant of Rs1bn for infrastructure improvement of Gwadar, including sewerage system and link roads.
The prime minister regretted that the investors, who had purchased lands from the locals on cheap rates several years ago, were now earning billions while the actual owners were still in shabby conditions. “The real owners of the lands should also get fruits of progress of this city,” he said and promised to devise a strategy as a “remedy to this injustice”.
Mr Sharif said he would soon hold consultations with the Balochistan governor, chief minister and Gwadar District Council chairman to find a solution so as to ensure compensation for the local landowners.
He said his mission of development of Gwadar initiated during his first tenure continued and vowed to make it the best port city. “I am the first prime minister who stayed overnight in Gwadar as earlier the leaders neglected the area.”
The prime minister said peace had returned to Balochistan, for which the credit went to the armed forces, police, local administration and the nation.
Earlier in his address, Chief Minister Zehri said the personal interest of the prime minister to bring a wave of change to Balochistan was exemplary and added that the dream of Gwadar’s development would become a reality. He said the patronage of PM Sharif was resulting in timely completion of CPEC-related projects.
Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2017