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PM hints at uplift package for southern Balochistan


QUETTA: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said the federal government believed in equal development of all areas of Balochistan and had allocated more funds in the Public Sector Development Programme for the largest province of the country than for any other province as it had tremendous potential of progress in various sectors.

He indicated that a special package for development of southern Balochistan was in the offing and said federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar would visit Balochistan soon for consultation on the package with the provincial authorities.

During his brief visit to Quetta, the prime minister was speaking at a meeting held to review the magnitude of losses caused by heavy rains and floods in Balochistan and rehabilitation efforts, measures to contain Covid-19 and pace of work on the development projects.

Mr Umar told the participants that the planning ministry had constituted a coordination committee, having representation of all stakeholders, on development of Balochistan.

Federal ministers Zubaida Jalal and Shibli Faraz, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, the provincial ministers, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal and senior officials attended the meeting.

Says Centre has allocated more funds for the province than for other areas

Expressing grief over the losses caused by floods in Balochistan, the prime minister appreciated the provincial government’s relief measures. Expressing satisfaction over the water level in dams, he said the construction of new dams would open up new avenues for agricultural development.

He assured the participants that the federal government would extend cooperation to the provincial government in its efforts for developing Balochistan to bring it on a par with other provinces.

He said the Kachhi Canal project would resolve the water issues, besides bringing about development in the province.

Mr Khan said progress and prosperity of backward areas along with welfare and betterment of their residents was the foremost priority of his government.

He said the country had witnessed improvement in the coronavirus situation but there was still a need to exercise caution.

The chief minister and members of his cabinet thanked the prime minister for taking keen interest in progress and prosperity of the province.

The provincial ministers said the measures taken by Mr Khan for the construction sector would create job opportunities and benefit all stakeholders.

They thanked the prime minister for starting work on the Western Corridor and for initiating the planning process for converting Karachi-Chaman road into a dual carriageway.

Development priorities

Prime Minister Khan directed the Balochistan government to define priorities for development projects which could create revenue and open up employment opportunities in the province.

He said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government was on the course of completing its agenda of welfare of the downtrodden and uplift and prosperity of the neglected areas.

The Balochistan chief secretary briefed the meeting on rain situation, losses of lives and property, rehabilitation of infrastructure and distribution of ration and relief activities in the province.

The meeting was told that with the onset of monsoon in August, emergency was imposed in the province, relief camps were established and early warning system activated. The Pakistan Army has provided heavy machinery and rescue support and rehabilitation work on roads, bridges and dams is underway.

The meeting was told that maximum relief work in the affected areas had been completed and water level in dams was satisfactory after rains and floods.

The chief secretary presented a comparative outlook of coronavirus situation from March to September. He said currently there were 886 active cases in the province and the NDMA had provided support in the anti-coronavirus operation.

Apprising the meeting of ongoing and future development projects in Balochistan, he said construction 2,550-km-long roads had been completed, he said.

The meeting was also briefed on new energy projects, construction of industrial estates, colleges, a sports complex and a cancer hospital, provision of funds for agriculture projects, Gwadar Smart City, development of five beach parks and construction of 18 dams on Pat Feeder Canal.

The meeting was also briefed on the measures being taken to improve the people’s living standard, master planning for tourism promotion, drinking water supply and development of infrastructure in Quetta city, besides dualisation of Quetta-Chaman road and proposed projects of Kachhi Canal-II and III.

Prime Minister Khan also held a meeting with Chief Minister Jam Kamal, the provincial ministers and PTI MPAs.

Earlier, Prime Minister Khan on his arrival in Quetta was received by Governor of Balochistan Amanullah Khan Yasinzai, the chief minister, the provincial ministers and senior officials.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2020


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