Vows to launch housing scheme in Balochistan too • Blames past rulers for poor conditions • Foundation of four projects laid
QUETTA: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that for a strong federation, equal development of all federating units of the country is necessary and the present government will provide all the assistance that Balochistan needs for its development to bring it on a par with other provinces.
Speaking to the students of Turbat University and to the elders of Makran’s divisional headquarters Kech district during his daylong visit to the areas on Friday, the prime minister criticised the political parties that ruled the country in the past and held them responsible for the present condition of the province.
Prime Minister Khan told the elders of the district Kech that Balochistan remained less developed due to the “wrong policies of former rulers who instead of visiting Balochistan preferred to visit London and Dubai for their personal gain. They had no interest in Balochistan’s development, which kept the province backward in all sectors including education and road network”.
Claiming that his government was the first one that launched housing schemes in the country, Mr Khan vowed that a housing scheme would also be launched in Balochistan.
While referring to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the prime minister said China wanted to develop its western provinces by launching this mega project that also proved a big opportunity for Balochistan’s development. “Without political considerations, the PTI government is giving all attention to speedy development of [Balochistan],” he said, adding that everyone should realise that Pakistan would prosper if Balochistan progressed.
Mr Khan said a “country is [like a] home” where “the prime minister is like a father of the nation” who has to ensure that he treats all children equally in their progress. “That’s why I’m very happy that Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar is here with us today and he, too, invested in Balochistan’s university and hospital. It is like an elder brother is trying to help out his younger brother and this is how the country progresses.”
He said those taking advantage of Balochistan’s deprivation had vested interests in creating divisions. They were giving an impression to the people that there was no benefit in becoming part of Pakistan’s development, he explained.
Mr Khan said: “Gwadar will connect to China. And think of China’s trade, which is $2,000 billion as opposed to Pakistan’s exports that at the moment amount to mere $25bn.”
Addressing the young students, the prime minister mentioned that Punjab had increased the number of scholarships being offered to the students of Balochistan from 135 to 360 in higher education. He said uniform development of all units of the federation was important for the overall progress of the country.
He said the IT revolution offered immense potential for avenues to be explored in virtual education and advised the youth in Balochistan’s far-flung areas to tap the opportunities by gaining knowledge through distant learning modes. For this, he admitted, it was necessary for the government to provide internet facilities to remote areas of Balochistan.
About the housing sector, Mr Khan said: “I want to assure you completely of our efforts for poor households and the salaried people who do not have enough money to build their own houses we’re bringing the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme here in Balochistan as well, God willing.”
“All of these things are happening for the first time in Pakistan, just like I spoke of the Ehsaas Programme through which Rs200 billion, which is called poverty alleviation, was spent and [it was never done] before in Pakistan’s history, especially at a time when our economic situation is worse,” he noted.
Counting his government achievements, he said not a single loan had been obtained during the past four months, as the economy was improving with a drop in deficit despite the coronavirus challenge.
In his address at Turbat varsity, PM Khan described the youth of Balochistan as ‘asset and future’ of Pakistan. He said the federal government would provide maximum support for their progress in the education sector. “You are the future leaders of Pakistan and the intellect which will lead the country’s journey towards prosperity,” he said, adding that the government wanted an intellectual base be prepared in Balochistan to meet the challenges of modern world.
With dedication and persistent struggle, any challenge could be overcome in way to success, he said. “A dream comes to realization when a person refuses to give up and continues to achieve his goals,” he told the students, urging them to never quit in difficult situations and rise from the ashes.
About his vision to emulate Pakistan as the State of Medina, the Prime Minister said the quest for knowledge was an important feature of the world’s first socio-economic state. He said education helped the people to distinguish between right or wrong and narrated a Hadith in which Muslims were advised ‘to seek knowledge from the cradle to grave’.
Mr Khan said Muslims ruled the world for 100 years because of education as scholars and scientists were given due respect, but the fall began when education was given least priority. He called upon the youth of Balochistan and the entire country to make their mark in the field of education and bring laurels to the country.
Earlier, he laid down the foundation of various projects, including the expansion of Turbat Airport, 200-bed Makran teaching hospital, phase-II of Turbat University and construction of 146-km Hoshab-Awaran section of the motorway (M-8). He also inaugurated Darul Ehsas for orphans and poor children in Turbat.
Balochistan Governor Justice (retd) Amanullah Khan Yasinzai, Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, federal ministers Asad Umer, Zubaida Jalal, Murad Seed, provincial ministers, Zahoor Ahmed Buledi, Umer Khan Jamali, Home Minister Zia Langove, Bushra Rind, Mahjabeen Shreen, Vice Chancellor of the Turbat University Dr Razzaq Sabir and elders of Kech district were present.
Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2020