QUETTA: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar has said that the federal government is committed to providing maximum share in federal resources to Balochistan for its speedy development and bringing it on a par with other provinces in accordance with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Mr Umar was speaking at a press conference along with Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo after presiding over a meeting which discussed various issues pertaining to development activities and financial crisis in the province.
The federal minister said that it was the prime minister’s vision that the state should give priority in development to the most backward areas of the country and Balochistan had lagged behind in progress as it had been deprived of its due rights in the past.
Reviews pace of work on federal-funded development projects in the province
“Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo has positive thinking about development and we would work jointly for the betterment of the province and its people,” Mr Umar said, adding that he had discussed various issues with the chief minister, including provision of health cards to the people of Balochistan for getting treatment in best hospitals of the country.
“Health cards would be issued to the people in Balochistan very soon,” he said.
Referring to price hike, particularly the latest increase in prices of petroleum products, he said the prime minister had announced a subsidy of Rs120 billion on edible oil, ghee, flour and pulses, adding that over 53 per cent families of the country would benefit from this relief measure.
The minister said that prices of petroleum products had been increased due to a hike in their prices in the international market. However, he added, the government would try to impose minimum taxes on petrol and other products.
“We have no control over the international market where the prices of not only oil but of other items had also increased.”
The minister said that in Balochistan pace of work had been intensified on border to market roads, which would help in trade with Sindh, Punjab and neighboring countries Iran and Afghanistan.
He said that the government was also paying attention to providing employment and maximum facilities to the public. He said that the projects of major roads, water, energy and dams and providing electricity from the national grid were part of the southern Balochistan development package. He said that LPG system would be installed to supply gas to coastal areas.
Mr Umar said that date processing plants should be set up in Panjgur.
“We are trying to minimise the burden on the people. The government has reduced taxes. Last month, taxes were reduced by Rs450 billion though the IMF said that taxes should be increased instead of being reduced,” he claimed.
The minister for planning and development also presided over a meeting which reviewed progress on the southern Balochistan development package and pace of work on federal-funded uplift projects.
The authorities concerned gave briefings at the meeting about the progress on the development package and other projects.
The participants were told that a meeting under the chairmanship of the prime minister would be held soon to review the progress on the southern Balochistan development package.
Chief Minister Bizenjo said that the entire world was focusing on Balochistan and observing what was happening in the province. “If the sense of deprivation prevailing among the people of Balochistan is not removed, it will provide an opportunity to the enemy of the country to make negative propaganda,” Mr Bizenjo said.
In the coming days, he said, relations between Balochistan and the federal government would further flourish.
Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2021