GWADAR: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has urged the people of Gwadar to ensure security of foreign investors who were making huge investment for the development of Balochistan.
“China, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey, Qatar and other countries have been extending financial and diplomatic help and cooperation to Pakistan for 75 years and bailing the country out in difficult times. If we do not fulfil our responsibility for ensuring security of their investors, engineers and workers, they will go back,” he said while speaking at a gathering of fishermen and other people at the Gwadar Business Centre during his day-long visit to the port city on Friday.
The prime minister said that during his visit to Beijing, the Chinese premier had assured him of financial help and cooperation and an agreement was signed the other day under which China would provide $2.3 billion in soft loan to Pakistan, while Saudi Arabia and the UAE also extended help to the country. He said these countries had not put any conditions for investment in Pakistan and for developing “our agriculture, industry, energy sector”. “Unfortunately, their engineers, workers and other people, who are helping us in development, are being targeted.”
PM Sharif expressed displeasure over the delay in completing the development projects initiated five years ago in Gwadar.
Announces provision of land for establishment of Gwadar fishermen’s colony
He regretted that issues relating to power and water supply in Balochistan had not been resolved for a long time. He said a contractor would start work on a 100MW electricity project over the next couple of weeks and complete it in three months. He said Iran had agreed to supply 100MW additional electricity during Energy Minister Khurram Dastagir’s recent visit to Tehran.
The prime minister said that 29km transmission lines for supply of 100MW from Iran were delayed by the previous government, though the Iranian side had completed the project at its end.
Referring to the demands of fishermen, he said steps were being taken to resolve the issues of displacement and difficulty in access to the sea that was affecting the fisheries sector. He said the establishment of Gwadar University had been included in the Public Sector Development Programme. Earlier, PM Sharif witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the GDA and Indus Hospital for establishment of a 100-bed hospital in Gwadar.
The Gwadar rights movement, led by Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman, and family members of forcibly disappeared people staged protest rallies in Gwadar when Prime Minister Sharif was in the port city. Hundreds of people belonging to the “Gwadar Ko Haq Do” movement and different political parties and members of civil society gathered at Y-Chowk carrying placards and banners inscribed with their demands.
They marched on various roads of the city despite tight security. They chanted slogans against the federal and Balochistan governments and in support of their demands. Another rally was also taken out by the heirs of missing persons.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2022