PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari addresses a public meeting in Turbat, on Monday.—PPI
PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari addresses a public meeting in Turbat, on Monday.—PPI

QUETTA / TURBAT: PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari on Monday made grand promises of development to the people of Balochistan, saying after coming to power, the PPP will develop education, health, and communication sectors to uplift the impoverished province.

Addressing a public gathering in Turbat, the former president said his government with the help of China would bring development to Balochis­tan. “China is our partner, and we will work in tandem with China,” he said, adding that PPP would also focus on the expansion of the deep-sea port of Gwadar.

According to Mr Zardari, the PPP government will ensure enough supply of water for irrigation purposes to boost agriculture in the province as well as provide funds for development projects.

He said during its previous tenure in 2008-2013, the PPP funnelled money into Balochistan for development but he could not personally supervise these projects. “Now I will supervise these projects myself,” he said, adding that he would take Balochistan ‘10 times ahead’ in terms of development.

Commits to development with help of China; ex-caretaker minister Bugti joins PPP

“We have to improve the economic conditions, we have to give employment to the youth of Balo­chistan,” he said, adding that the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) will be expanded, and educated unemployed youth will be given stipend till they get employment.

The former president termed Balochistan the ‘heart of Pakistan’ and said that the “conflict does not bring prosperity”.

It may be noted here that Turbat is in the throes of protests after the extra-judicial killing of a Baloch youth by the CTD.

The PPP leader claimed that people “sitting in Islamabad” do not understand Balochistan, Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakht­u­n­khwa. He added the PPP government would build a university in every division of Balochistan, a college in every district, and medical colleges and hospitals as per the population requirement.

“Whenever PPP comes to power, it comes to serve the people,” he said, adding that no nation can “bear the burden of another”.

“We gave hospitality to Afghans for 40 years, but today they are reluctant to be our brothers,” the former president claimed amid a forced expulsion of undocumented Afghan nationals.

He said he wanted everyone to return to their homeland, and stay in their homes.

On the occasion, former caretaker interior minister Sarfaraz Bugti joined the PPP.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2023

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