‘Comprehensive’ relief programme for Balochistan soon: Shazia Marri

Published July 2, 2022
Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Shazia Marri distributes wheel chairs among women on Friday. — PID website
Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Shazia Marri distributes wheel chairs among women on Friday. — PID website

QUETTA: Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Shazia Marri has said the federal government would soon announce a comprehensive relief programme to remove the existing sense of deprivation in Balochistan and move ahead jointly with the people for the uplift of the province.

Speaking at a press conference after inaugurating interest-free loan programme and assistive devices to the people with special needs here on Friday, she said 25 mobile units would be provided to Balochistan for facilitating the people under the Benazir Income Support Programme, while new BISP centres would be established across the province. Shazia Marri, who is also chairperson of the BISP, alleged that the PTI government tried to wind up the BISP, but all such attempts failed and the programme continued with full force. She said over eight million families across the country were benefiting from the BISP and soon more families would be registered.

“Half a million more women would be included in the BISP in Balochistan,” she said, adding that the nutrition programme would also be promoted in the province.

The PPP leader said a targeted subsidy of Rs28 billion had been provided for financial assistance to the marginalised segments of society, while an additional amount of Rs48bn was allocated for this purpose.

“Government can give targeted subsidy to the people, but extending blanket subsidy was not possible presently,” she said while replying to a question.

Ms Marri criticised PTI chairman Imran Khan and said during his four years in power, he gave nothing to the people, except inflation and unemployment. He completely deviated from the promises he had made to the people, she added.

She said instead of leveling false accusations against the incumbent government on the streets, the former premier should come to parliament to answer questions about the poor performance of his government.

In reply to a question, Ms Marri said water dispute between Sindh and Balochistan was raised unnecessarily. The Indus River System Authority was responsible for all these issues which must be resolved under the 1991 water accord.

The minister announced a grant of Rs1 million for Quetta Press Club from PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

It may be recalled that former president Asif Ali Zardari during the PPP government had announced Aghaz-i-Huqooq-i-Balochistan package under which 5,500 posts of teachers were created and recruited, who were later made permanent. He had also anno­u­nced giving jobs to the people of Balo­chistan in federal government departments as per constitutional quota.

Under the package, the office of the Gwadar Port Authority was shifted to Gwadar from Islamabad and the chief minister was appointed chairman of the Board of Governors of GPA.

Earlier, the Musharraf regime had announced building a network of roads in Balochistan and constructed the Coastal Highway. The former military ruler had withdrawn the idea of establishing cantonments in Sui and Gwadar.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had in 2017 announced a development package for Gwadar, including establishment of a university, a 300-bed hospital and a desalination plant.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2022

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