QUETTA, Sept 11: President Pervez Musharraf has said that Pakistan would not rollback its nuclear programme and would instead further improve it. Speaking to the officers and jawans at the Garrison Darbar here on Saturday, the president said during the last three to four years the government spent more amount on improving its nuclear capability than the spending made during last 30 years.

He said all defence requirements were being met for making the country secure and stable. The president said a strategy for the next 15 years had been chalked out to augment the country's defence.

Paying tributes to the armed forces, he said Pakistan was not facing any external threats, it was rather confronting internal challenges.

The president also spoke about the steps being taken by the government for the elimination of terrorism and said through effective steps 90 per cent of terrorists had been arrested so far in the country.

"We have to root-out terrorism to ensure security and stability of the country," the president added.

He said some terrorist training camps also existed in Balochistan and those involved in sectarian killings were provided refuge in these camps. However, he said, efforts were being made to remove these camps.

Gen Musharraf said terrorism not only turned away foreign investors, it also weakened the economy, which affected the process of development.

He pointed out that Pakistan exported textile products worth Rs60 billion to European countries which would be badly hit if terrorism in the country could not be controlled.

Referring to the ongoing dialogue with India, the president said Pakistan was making efforts to resolve the Kashmir issue in a peaceful manner. He said Pakistan would not change its stand on Kashmir and continue its efforts for its peaceful settlement.

Regarding the situation in Afghanistan, the president said Pakistan wanted complete peace and stability in Afghanistan so that Afghan refugees could go back to their country. Peace in Afghanistan would also benefit Central Asian states which were landlocked and needed Pakistan's port facilities to trade with the outside world, he added.

Gen Musharraf said Pakistan was an important country of the Islamic world and it had to devise such a strategy that could solve the problems of the Ummah.

He urged big countries to pay attention to solution of the problems being faced by the Islamic world. However, he added: "We have to correct our affairs through the OIC in this regard."

The president paid rich tributes to the army for its services in the defence of the country and maintaining law and order.

GAS SUPPLY PROJECT: President Pervez Musharraf said on Saturday that all major towns and cities of Balochistan would be provided gas during the next five years for which a gas supply network was being laid.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the launching of the Ziarat gas supply project in Ziarat, he said Loralai, Pishin and other areas would be provided gas in next two years.

"Maximum areas of Balochistan would receive gas through the new gas supply network," President Musharraf said and added that villages along the Quetta-Ziarat gas pipeline route would also be provided the facility.

He said gas supply to Ziarat would be the biggest tribute to the Father of the Nation Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, as he spent last days of his life in the valley. President Musharraf said that natural gas would be imported from Turkmenistan, Iran and Qatar to meet the growing industrial and domestic requirements. "It is heartening to note that Rs700 million has been saved on the import of furnace oil with the induction of additional gas into the network," he observed.

Mentioning the development needs of Balochistan, the president said Mirani Dam, Kachhi Canal and other small dams were being built to overcome water shortage.

He directed the provincial government to construct more check dams and small dams to improve water resources. He said modern irrigation techniques like trickle technology should be adopted to conserve water and power.

The president said Rs5 billion would be spent on construction of 14,000 cemented watercourses and water tanks in Balochistan.

Referring to mega projects in Balochistan, he said with the construction of coastal highway, the process of development would accelerate. He said the Gwadar-Turbat-Awaran-Khuzdar-RCD Highway would be constructed and linked with the Indus Highway via Ratu Dero which would boost trade and economic activities in Balochistan.

President Musharraf deplored that some elements were creating hurdles in the development process in Balochistan. However, he said despite opposition and hurdles the federal government would continue to undertake development projects for the speedy uplift of Balochistan.

The president asked the Balochistan government to improve the quality of education and provide health facilities to people at the grass root level. The federal government would extend all possible financial help for implementing development projects in the province, he added.

He said that funds under the Rs300 million development package for Ziarat would be released and directed the authorities to chalk out projects of collective nature under the package.

The president announced that Rs200 million would be provided for the uplift of Loralai. However, he said, this amount would be released after receiving a PC-1 of the proposed projects.

Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Amanullah Khan Jadoon in his speech said that one billion cubic feet gas had been inducted into the gas supply network during the past year.

He said that 200,000 gas connections would be provided every year under a five-year programme throughout the country.

Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources Naseer Mengal and Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Mohammad Yousaf supported the programmes and policies of the federal government in the province in their speeches.

Sui Southern Gas Company Managing Director Munawwar Basir Ahmed in his address of welcome said that remote areas of Sindh and Balochistan would be provided gas under a five-year programme. He said gas supply to Kalat would be inaugurated by December this year, while a survey was being carried out for provision of gas to Chaman and Killa Abdullah.

In addition, 121 villages of Balochistan would be provided gas this year at a cost of Rs1 billion, he said and added that funds for the purpose would be released in 2005.

The project for gas supply to Ziarat has been completed at a cost of Rs370 million and involved laying of a 88km long pipeline from Quetta to Ziarat and a distribution network of 75km. Under the project natural gas would be supplied to Ziarat town and six villages along the pipeline route, benefiting 40,000 people. The project was launched at the initiative of President Pervez Musharraf and former prime minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali to protect the rare and precious juniper forests of the Ziarat valley and to provide an alternate source of energy to the people of Ziarat.


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