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Federal govt will facilitate provincial set-up in building a 'Naya Balochistan': PM Khan

Updated October 06, 2018

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Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses a gathering in Quetta during his first official visit to the city since assuming office. — DawnNewsTV
Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses a gathering in Quetta during his first official visit to the city since assuming office. — DawnNewsTV

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday promised that the federal government will facilitate the Balochistan government through all means to raise the human development level of the province's residents and set out on the journey to build a "Naya Balochistan".

Addressing an event during his maiden official visit to Quetta since assuming office, Khan assured Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal that the Centre will provide the capacity that Balochistan lacks to bring about development that the province has long awaited.

He said many development projects needed to be started in Balochistan, but nothing was more crucial than investing in the people of the province.

"We will be there for you, whenever you need [us]," the premier assured the Balochistan chief executive, who was also in attendance.

Khan urged the provincial authorities to bring a new local government system in Balochistan along the lines of what the PTI is introducing in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said the PTI had won a two-thirds majority in KP in the 2018 elections because it had managed to improve the basic living conditions of people there. Development efforts can only bear fruit if power and funds are devolved down to the level of village councils in Balochistan, he added, citing the KP model.

Emphasising the need to root out corruption, the prime minister said it is due to high-level corruption that the money meant to be spent on the public is laundered out of the country and institutions are destroyed. He urged to Balochistan chief minister to strengthen his anti-corruption efforts.

He said Gwadar and its role in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an "opportunity" that can bring immense benefits for the province if it is utilised. He noted that 800,000 acres of land can be used for agricultural purposes if Balochistan is given its water share through the Kachhi Canal.

Khan said incidents of terrorism had led to a major brain drain from Balochistan and vowed that the government will make efforts to send qualified professionals to the province. He also announced that the government will conduct a feasibility study on providing cancer treatment in Balochistan, so its residents do not have to travel to other cities.

PM receives security briefing

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Khan was received by Chief Minister Kamal on his arrival in Quetta for a day-long visit, according to the Government of Pakistan's official Twitter account.

Balochistan CM receives PM Khan in Quetta. — Photo by author
Balochistan CM receives PM Khan in Quetta. — Photo by author

During his visit, the premier met members of the Balochistan government's cabinet and chaired a meeting on development projects in the province.

The PM and the Balochistan CM with key federal ministers later visited the Pakistan Army's Headquarters Southern Command at Quetta Cantt. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa received the PM at the Quetta Air Base.

The premier was given a detailed briefing on Balochistan's security situation, challenges and responses. He was also briefed about the Khushal Balochistan socio-economic development program, the security of China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and the progress of fencing along the Pak-Afghan border, according to a press release issued by Inter-Services Public Relations.

According to the ISPR, Gen Bajwa said that after the attainment of stability in the troubled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the military's focus has shifted to Balochistan, "the economic future of Pakistan".

The prime minister was reported to have acknowledged and appreciated the contributions of security forces towards improving peace, stability and socio-economic development of Balochistan.

"The PM said that through a comprehensive national effort, cooperation between federal and provincial governments and the assistance of the army, we shall realise the true potentials of Balochistan. He said that only a cohesive national effort shall, God willing, take the provinces and the country to a destination of peace, progress and prosperity," the ISPR statement read.