Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Thursday that Balochistan’s huge mineral and natural resources belong to its people, but that locals must support and protect international businessmen working to improve the province.
“Balochistan is rich in huge minerals and other natural resources that need to be explored, and the fruits of the area’s development should be given to the local people,” the prime minister said, adding that the province’s resources belong to the people first.
He highlighted that communities must have access to all fundamental services, including health and education.
In reference to foreign investment and investors, he urged the people to look after their friends who were working for the development of the people of Gwadar.
“What will they think of us if we work against them?” PM Sharif directed the relevant authorities to prioritize foreigners’ security.
The prime minister restated the government’s determination to make Gwadar’s seaport one of the best in the world, and he added that the ongoing development operation across the province would transform the fate of the people of Balochistan, particularly Gwadar.
Speaking at a ceremony to distribute laptops and cheques in Gwadar, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the Chinese were working on various development projects that were nearly abandoned during the previous government’s tenure, which not only halted work on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects but also strained relations with friendly countries due to its uncooperative approach and attitude.
However, he stated that the coalition administration has reestablished excellent relations with our friendly countries through hard effort.
General Syed Asim Munir, Chief of Army Staff, and other politicians and top officials also attended the occasion.
The prime minister declared that the Balochistan laptop quota has been boosted to 14%, compared to the province’s 6% population share. He also asked the competent authorities to boost the laptop limit to 18% for the upcoming fiscal year.
PM Shehbaz stated that Balochistan’s development on par with other provinces was unavoidable, despite ‘criminal incompetence’ by the previous government.
He said that the Gwadar deep sea port, which ranks among the world’s deepest ports, would be completely operational by February or March of next year, as dredging of the port channel is underway, and that once done, large ships would be able to dock at Gwadar.
According to the premier, after being elected prime minister for the third time in 2013, Nawaz Sharif planned and launched a number of projects in the electricity, infrastructure, and other sectors at Gwadar.
However, when PM Shehbaz visited the city as prime minister last year, he was surprised to discover that the previous government had abandoned all pending initiatives in the city.
He stated that despite 15 months of difficult circumstances, the coalition administration was able to build the groundwork for the country’s progress and prosperity, particularly in Balochistan.
He stated that the draught of the Gwadar port was one of the deepest among the world’s top ports; nevertheless, the previous government did not enforce port dredging, which is a constant procedure to prevent silt accumulation.
He stated that the current government has begun the dredging process, which would be completed by February of next year.
He said that only 100,000 tonnes of commodities may arrive here in the five years from 2017 to 2022, although over 600,000 tonnes landed at the Gwadar Port during the existing government’s 15 months in office.
During his visit to Gwadar, the prime minister inaugurated a number of development projects that he said were planned under Nawaz Sharif’s term but were shelved.
He told the newsmen that he had inaugurated a clean drinking water project, also launched by Nawaz Sharif in 2015 but faced an unnecessary delay since then.