QUETTA: Balochistan Assembly’s former speaker Aslam Bhootani has said that people of Gwadar must be the top beneficiaries of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

Speaking at an election gathering and talking to newsmen in Pasni on Sunday, he said if demanding equal rights for people was a sin or treason he was ready to accept this allegation.

The former speaker said that the people Gwadar district had many expectations from the CPEC, but unfortunately they had so far received nothing from this mega project. “Even the people of the port city were deprived of drinking water,” he said.

Mr Bhootani, who is contesting election from NA-272- Lasbela-Gwadar, said: “We will not allow anyone to turn Gwadar into another Dera Bugti.”

He said Gwadar had great strategic importance in the region as it had a deep seaport and many world powers were trying to create disturbance here as they considered the CPEC against their interest.

Mr Bhootani said he was not a nationalist but would raise his voice for the legitimate rights of the people at all forums and would not mind if his views and struggle annoyed some people.

“If I get elected, the people of Gwadar would be my first priority,” he added.

He said that as a result of his struggle over 70,000 acres of land allotted for the firing range in the Hingol area of Lasbela district had been cancelled.

Speaking on the occasion, National Party leader Jan Mohammad Buledi said that NA-272 Lasbela-Gwadar was the most important constituency of the country as the international community was looking towards Gwadar Port.

Fortunately sincere politicians like Aslam Bhootani and Ashraf Hussain were contesting from here which was a sign of hope for the people of Gwadar and Lasbela.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2018