QUETTA: President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project will herald a new era of speedy development and prosperity in the country, especially Balochistan.

While opening the annual Sibi festival 2020, the president said that with Gwadar port becoming fully functional, the construction of airport, oil refinery, important corridors and economic zones wou­­ld provide ample job opportunities to the people of Balochistan, which would eliminate poverty and open new avenues of prosperity and development in the province.

“Gwadar will emerge as a new developed port city and economic hub on the world map after completion of on­­go­ing projects,” Dr Alvi said.

He said the federal government was paying special attention to the reconstruction and development of Balochistan because its people had suffered a lot in the war against terrorism.

He said the present government was concentrating on developing agriculture and livestock sectors as these sectors were a big source of employment for the local people.

The president said Baloch­istan was very important in terms of coastal areas and measures were being taken to promote foreign investment in the fisheries sector.

He said fish and its products worth $500 million had been exported this year aga­inst about $300m of last year.

Dr Alvi said it was an honour for him to inaugurate the historic Sibi festival.

Speaking on the occasion, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani said the present government was taking steps to remove flaws in livestock and agriculture sectors.

He said livestock and agriculture remained the backbone of provincial economy.

He said 1,000 tractors would be imported for farmers, while water channels, water storage tanks and irrigation system were being upgraded.

The chief minister urged President Arif Alvi to draw attention of the federal government towards upgrade of Jaffarabad, Dera Murad Ja­­mali, Sibi and Quetta highway.

In his address of welcome, Agriculture Minister Zama­r­­ak Khan Piralizai highligh­ted the problems being faced by the province in agriculture and livestock sectors.

Balochistan Governor ret­i­red Justice Amanullah Ya­­si­n­­­zai, provincial ministers Yar Mohammad Rind and Abdul Rehman Khetiran and tribal elders also attended the opening ceremony of Sibi festival.

Almost 500 artists, artisans and folk singers from various districts of Balochistan will take part in the five-day festival.

Various cultural events, including a flower show, a national songs contest, folk dances, motorcycle jumps, horse dances and exhibition of animals like camels, buffaloes and cows, are being organised to make the festival a success.

An exhibition of beautiful and rare animals is also being organised.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2020

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