President inaugurates Sibi festival, says govt building dams to tackle water shortage
QUETTA: President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will open new avenues of progress and prosperity and change the country’s destiny, especially of Balochistan province.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of historic Sibi Mela 2020, the President said the construction of Gwadar deep seaport, airport, and oil refinery, important corridors and economic zones will create job opportunities for the people of Balochistan, thereby ending poverty and bringing prosperity in the province.
He said Gwadar would emerge as a new developed sea port on the world map.
The President said Balochistan was the most affected region in the war against terrorism where the local people suffered a lot. He said the federal government was paying special attention to the construction and development of the province to end the sense of deprivation of the local people here.
The President said security forces of the country valiantly fought the war against militancy and terrorism and brought peace in the motherland, pledging that the terrorists would not succeed in their nefarious designs.
“Promotion of agriculture and livestock is the need of the hour and the present government is fully concentrating on it as these two sectors are a big source of employment,” the President said.
“Balochistan is extremely important in terms of coastal areas and measures are being taken to promote foreign investment in the fishing sector,” he said, adding that fish products worth approximately $300 million were exported last year while fish worth $500 million was exported in the current year which was a positive sign for the country.
The President said the federal government was constructing dams in the province to tackle shortage of water.
He said Sibi festival was of historical importance as the Founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah participated in it as a special guest, adding it was an honour for him to inaugurate the mega event.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal, provincial ministers, parliamentarians, civil society members and students among others were in attendance at the festival.
Addressing the ceremony, Kamal thanked the President for visiting the province to participate in the festival as the chief guest, adding that livestock and agriculture departments have played key roles in economic development of Balochistan.
“Both sectors have a special representation in this historic festival,” he said, adding that the provincial government was focusing on livestock and agriculture departments to cater to the needs of people as 60 percent population was directly linked with the two sectors.
Kamal said 0.7 million acres of land would be irrigated in the province after completion of Kachhi Canal.
He said the provincial government was paying special attention to improve law and order situation. Meanwhile, Kamal also appreciated the security forces that have been rendering sacrifices of their precious lives to protect the people of the province.
The five-day annual ‘Sibi Mela’ kicked off here on Wednesday in which almost 500 artists and folk singers from various districts of Balochistan are participating to give colorful cultural performances.
To make the fair a success, various cultural events are being organised including flower show, national songs contest, folk dances, motorcycle jumps, horse dances and exhibition of animals for public interest.
According to the organising committee, an exhibition of rare animals is also being organised. Thousands of people from various parts of the country are expected to participate in the festival.
Strict security measures are taken to ensure law and order at the venue of the festival.
Earlier, President Alvi on Wednesday arrived here on a one-day visit.
Governor Balochistan Amanullah Khan Yasinzai along with chief minister, provincial ministers and senior officials received the President at Quetta airport.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2020.