Balochistan Chief Minister Jan Jamal receives Imran Khan at Quetta Airport. File
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Prime Minister Imran Khan says development of Balochistan province is one of the top priorities of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) government, which was neglected in the past.
Imran also announced that he was considering talking to insurgents in Balochistan, saying that the government would never have had to worry about insurgency in the province if attention had been paid to its development.
Addressing a ceremony in Gwadar on Monday, the prime minister said several projects under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would bring prosperity and development to the province. Imran said "Pakistan can benefit from its strategic location and also from the expertise of its best friend China.”
The prime minister who arrived in Gwadar on a day-long visit, inaugurated the Gwadar Free Zone, spread at 2,200 acres, Expo Centre, Agriculture Industrial Park, and three factories and also witnessed the signing of various MoUs aimed at constructing a state-of-the-art hospital, airport, and vocational institute. He also addressed a gathering of local elders, students and business leaders.
The prime minister said that he had always thought that when PTI came to power, the government would pay attention to Balochistan because when the province progressed and there was peace, Balochistan's people would own the province and say "we should also fight for it because it thinks of our basic needs and problems."
Imran said that if development work had been carried out in the province, "we would never have had to worry about insurgents." "It may be that they had grievances in the old times and may have been used by other countries; India may have used them to spread chaos but the situation (now) is not the same.”
The prime minister said that even though the economic situation of Pakistan was better, it was still not good enough that the government could give so much financial aid to Balochistan from the funds allocated for federal public sector development projects.
"But we have given the biggest package to Balochistan because we believe that justice has indeed not been done with the people of Balochistan; they have been left behind. Imran added that the federal government did not do justice with Balochistan and neither did its politicians. The funds that was supposed to be spent on the development of the province was spent by the politicians on themselves, he said.
"The sense of deprivation that started spreading in Balochistan, it would never have spread if the politicians in Balochistan had spent money in the right way."
The prime minister termed the signing of performance agreements a step in the right direction, and said the performance of each ministry will be evaluated based on the contracts and every ministry will put pressure on itself to meet its targets.
Addressing the launching ceremony of the "No one Sleeps Hungry” programme in Islamabad, Imran said that the 30 million deserving families will be given direct subsidy from June this year.
According to Gallup Pakistan, 70 per cent Pakistanis have said they expect to see the PTI government complete its full term. Of the remaining, 20 per cent believed it would not be able to complete its five-year term, while 11 per cent were not sure.
"The system of the state of Madinah was based on justice and merit, even a general was promoted to the higher rank on the basis of performance. We can rise as a nation by following the guiding principles of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).”
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The envoys issued a highly unusual joint statement on Monday saying the continued detention of Parisian-born philanthropist and activist Osman Kavala "cast a shadow" over Turkey.