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GWADAR: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Sunday laid the foundation stone of a desalination plant being built with the assistance of the United Arab Emirates and Swiss governments.

The project fulfils a long-awaited demand of the local people as it will provide them 4.4 million gallons water per day with the capacity later to increase to 8.8m gallons per day, said a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations.

The desalination plant will be completed in six to eight months and help end the scarcity of drinking water in the area, reducing hardship of the local people who fetch water from far-flung areas.

The COAS said that Balochistan’s progress was Pakistan’s progress. The army would extend all support and assist in socio-economic deve­­lopment of the province, he added.

Highlighting the importance of the ongoing projects which are part of the Khushhal Balochistan programme, the army chief said that these would transform the lives of the people of the province.

He said that all measures would be taken in coordination with the civilian government to bring peace and prosperity to Balochistan.

Gen Bajwa emphasised that the potential of Balochistan as regional economic hub would be realised only when the people of the province were best served by the projects.

Chief Minister of Balochistan Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, Com­mander of Southern Command Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, the UAE ambassador to Pakistan, the director general of the Frontier Works Organisation and a large number of local people were present on the occasion.

The COAS is also scheduled to attend the closing ceremony of Makran Festival organised in connection with Baloch culture day.

Fishermen’s concern

Meanwhile, talk­ing to journalists at 440 Brigade camp, Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa said: “Gwadar’s face is chan­ging as development projects are being completed here. We are sure that soon the city will emerge with its new shiny face before the world.”

He said that they were aware of local fishermen’s concern over their dislocation and illicit fishing by trawlers and the issues would be addressed at different forums.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2018