PM Khan urges 'inclusive development' during trip to Quetta, Gwadar

Updated 30 Mar 2019


Prime Minister Imran Khan shakes hands with Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Alyani. ─ Photo courtesy Ghalib Nihad
Prime Minister Imran Khan shakes hands with Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Alyani. ─ Photo courtesy Ghalib Nihad
Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the ground breaking ceremony of the Balochistan Health Complex in Quetta. ─ DawnNewsTV
Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the ground breaking ceremony of the Balochistan Health Complex in Quetta. ─ DawnNewsTV

Prime Minister Imran Khan during a visit to Quetta on Friday urged "inclusive development" as he performed the groundbreaking for the new Balochistan Health Complex.

The premier, while addressing the groundbreaking ceremony for the complex, thanked Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa for playing a part in the project's construction. "You arranged the funding for this from the United Arab Emirates through your connections, and the army laid the infrastructure," he said.

Prime Minister Khan said the complex would become part of a medical city planned in Quetta. "We are also going to build a cancer hospital here," he said.

"It is important to understand that heart and cancer treatments need specialists. It was hard for us to arrange oncologists, engineers and others, but now we will start this facility with the help of the army and the provincial government," he said.

He said that railways minister Sheikh Rashid is working on a plan for a rail network from Quetta to Taftan, Iran.

The premier also spoke of the need to create a master plan for Quetta. "Major cities in Pakistan do not have master plans, and cities are expanding. Unless you have master plans in place, you cannot provide basic facilities to urban areas," he said.

"The people of Balochistan fear that they will become a minority and lose their jobs," the premier said. "We were discussing this earlier, we need institutes for technical education and skill development. I will discuss this further with the chief minister," he told the ceremony.

The prime minister also touched upon implementation of a local government system in Balochistan which makes use of village councils. "When you empower people on a village level, it will help development. We have to make sure that development is inclusive. The more we focus on Balochistan, the more it will develop and Pakistan along with it."

Terming the western route of CPEC a "game changer", the prime minister said that work on this should have started earlier. "China was working on the eastern route, we should have worked on the western route," he said. "This 305 kilometre route will bring a lot of change and development."

'Officially part of western route'

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Alyani, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the complex today, thanked the prime minister for his efforts. "In the past, many promises were made and people had reservations over CPEC," he said, adding: "Balochistan is officially part of western route."

Alyani said that the cardiac centre, a joint project of the army and the provincial government will be "a huge health facility for the province and especially the people of Quetta".

"In the past, cosmetic politics was conducted in Balochistan to show that things were happening. I'm glad that for once progress is being made. In the past structural reforms were not made," he said, pointing out that despite Quetta being "a huge city, due attention was not given".

The chief minister told the premier he had "given confidence to all political parties and stakeholders".

He highlighted the development and governance model in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had been elected in the 2013.

"We believe development is not possible unless the system and governance are improved," he said.

What is the western route of CPEC?

According to the mega-project's Long-Term Plan, the CPEC comprises one corridor and mul­­­tiple passages, including the eas­­­t­ern, central and western alignments. These passages are joi­n­­ed together by common align­ments in the north and south.

The southern common alignment starts at Gwadar and terminates at Basima. From Basima onwards, the corridor breaks into eastern, central and western passages. These passages re-converge at Burhan — which marks the beginning of the northern common alignment that passes through Thakot and Khunjerab.

The federal government describes the Gwadar-Hoshab-Surab road as a section of the western route in its official briefs and maps when in fact it is the southern common alignment. The government does so because this is the only road that has been built in Balochistan over the last five years.

Explore: No progress made on Balochistan component of CPEC’s western route

PM's engagements in Balochistan

The prime minister during his visit to Quetta, was to lay the foundation stone of a new campus of the National University of Science and Technology.

He was received at the Army Aviation Base by Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Inter-Services Public Relations said in a tweet.

He then reached Quetta Cantonment along with the Balochistan Governor Amanullah Khan Yasinzai, Chief Minister Jam Kamal Alyani, and other federal ministers, the army's media wing said.

He did the groundbreaking of the Balochistan Health Complex and the Quetta-Zhob N-50 Road as part of the western route of the CPEC, the tweet said.

In Gwadar, he laid the foundation stone for the new international airport and addressed the closing ceremony of an expo taking place in the city. Gwadar International Airport will have the latest equipment and facilities and is expected to be one of the country’s largest airports.

Addressing the closing ceremony of the expo, the prime minister said that he was happy to see the turnout of the expo and knows that the event will only get bigger and better with each passing year.

He announced that funds have been allocated towards the building of bridges to ensure that fishermen living close to the N-50 continue to earn their livelihood.

"All the fishermen that have been worried that building this highway would mean that their buisness would dwindle, I would like to tell them that there is nothing to worry about. We have allocated funds to build bridges to facilitate you in your trade," he said.

"The second thing I would like to announce is that we will be brining Sehat Insaf Cards to this area," the prime minister said.

The prime minister also announced that Gwadar will be connected to Pakistan's national grid.