Prime Minister Shehbaz on Saturday said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had "miserably failed" the people of Gwadar, repeating many of the assertions he made during his day-long trip to Balochistan yesterday.
"During my visit to Gwadar, I witnessed how PTI government miserably failed the people of Gwadar. Despite wasting billions of rupees and precious time, it could not complete any project for resolution of water and electricity issues for the locals who gave great sacrifices for Gwadar port," he said in a thread on Twitter.
He added that the same holds true for Gwadar seaport and the construction of the Gwadar airport. "No dredging was carried out at seaport and thus no large cargo ship can be anchored," he lamented, adding that he ordered the "quick completion" of Gwadar University, airport and installation of desalination plants for clean drinking water.
He concluded his thread by saying that he was convinced "more than ever before" that the development of Pakistan was linked with the peace, stability and progress of Balochistan. "The coalition government aims to assist Balochistan by working with the provincial government and local elders to chart the way forward.
Day-long trip to Balochistan
In a Dawn report published today, Shehbaz had expressed displeasure over the slow pace of work on development projects in Gwadar and said the previous government did not pay any attention to the completion of the international airport in the city among other projects.
The PM made these remarks at the inauguration of Eastbay Expressway and groundbreaking of seven development projects for Gwadar during his daylong visit to the port city on Friday.
He expressed dissatisfaction over the pace of work on ongoing development projects in Gwadar and said the foundation of the airport had been laid in 2017, but it remained incomplete despite the passage of five years. He directed the planning and development minister to take all possible measures for the completion of the projects in time.
Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, federal ministers Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal, MNA Aslam Bhootani, MPA Hammal Kalmati, provincial minister Lala Rasheed, Akbar Askani and senior officials received the prime minister at Gwadar airport. Chinese Charge d’affaires Pang Chunxue, Defence Attaché Yang and other Chinese officials were also present on the occasion.
The prime minister, while referring to the problems of local fishermen, announced provision of 2,000 free marine engines to them, and said a solar power project would also be launched for which China would provide 3,200 solar panels to the locals. “We plan to construct a solar park in Gwadar,” he stated, adding that all possible efforts would be made to resolve the issue of water shortage in the coastal district.
A component of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the six-lane Eastbay Expressway would connect the Gwadar port with the Makran Coastal Highway, also providing a link to Karachi to ease the transportation of goods.
Sharif said the government had announced a relief package for the poorest families under which each family would be handed out Rs2,000 under the Benazir Income Support Programme to mitigate the impact of the oil price hike.
Unveiling the plaques of new projects earlier, the PM broke the ground for a seawater desalination plant being built with the help of China Aid, Jingtal Gwadar Private Limited, Hangmei Lubricant Plant, Hangeng Agricultural Industrial Park, an expo centre and a fertiliser plant, besides distributing 3,000 solar panels. He also received briefing on the ongoing development projects, including the Gwadar airport, which was being built under a Chinese grant and facing a delay in completion.
He said a hospital had also been built for the people of Gwadar. “Work on desalination plants would begin without delay as it is the dire need of the local people who are facing shortage of drinking water.” He added these plants should have been constructed earlier but the previous government did not pay attention to this important issue.
Earlier, while addressing officers during his visit to the Command and Staff College in Quetta, the premier emphasised that the country’s defence was sacred, and Pakistan’s security, sovereignty and integrity would be ensured at all costs.
“The nation owes its freedom to the monumental sacrifices of its heroes and martyrs,” he said.
Prime Minister Shehbaz said Pakistan’s armed forces were the guarantors of peace, internal and external security, regional stability and were also contributing to global peace efforts. Paying tribute to the achievements and sacrifices of the forces, he said, “Our successes in the wars against terrorism are unparalleled, duly acknowledged by the world.”
“The armed forces have always done a commendable job in the service of the nation during natural calamities,” he remarked. Later, the PM laid a floral wreath at a martyrs’ monument.