QUETTA: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday underlined the importance of the continuity of democratic system, saying general elections would be held on July 25 as per schedule in which people would exercise their right to franchise.
The country could not achieve progress without democratic system, he said, stressing that only elected, representative governments had the capacity to deliver.
Addressing a gathering after inaugurating expansion and renovation of Quetta international airport, Mr Abbasi said the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Gwadar Port would soon turn Balochistan into a trade and energy hub.
He said the progress and development of the province was linked with the development of rest of the country.
Abbasi insists country cannot achieve progress without democratic system
Mr Abbasi said that as peace had been restored to Balochistan, it was the responsibility of the provincial government and political leadership to work together for development and progress of the province.
He said the western corridor of the CPEC and the Gwadar Port would provide an easy access to the Central Asian countries and China.
The prime minister urged the provincial and political leadership to set aside their political differences and work for the province and meet the challenges.
He held out an assurance about the federal government’s support to Balochistan but said it was the provincial leadership that should take the lead for the progress and development of the province by concentrating on the availability of huge natural resources and connectivity potentials.
He said work on the Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline project was being fast-tracked and efforts were also being made for rail, road and IT connectivity.
About the expansion of Quetta airport at a cost of about Rs2 billion, the prime minister said it was a longstanding demand of the province, which had been met by the PML-N government.
He said the international airport would cater to the requirements of passengers with provision of allied facilities. Even Boeing 777 aircraft could now land at the Quetta airport and it would serve in the development of Balochistan, he added.
The prime minister said when the PML-N government took charge, it had decided to expand and renovate all airports across the country. He referred to the completion of Islamabad International Airport where the completion work had hit snags for the past 12 years. Moreover, Multan and Peshawar airports had also been renovated and expanded, he added.
He noted that expansion work of Sialkot airport had been carried out by the private sector from where regular flights were being operated. The Karachi airport was also being modernised, he added.
Mr Abbasi said it was only the PML-N government which not only initiated different development projects but also completed them. He expressed the hope that the coming governments would carry forward the development projects.
Balochistan Governor Mohammad Khan Achakzai, Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications Anusha Rehman were present at the ceremony.
The Quetta airport has been equipped with state-of-art passengers’ boarding bridges, check-in counters and baggage handling system, modern immigration system and two arrival and departure terminals with latest facilities.
The numbers of domestic check-in counters has been increased from five to 12 whereas the airport now has 12 international counters as well. The passengers’ capacity in the international and domestic departure lounge has been increased by three per cent.
Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2018