ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday expressed his firm resolve to end the "sense of deprivation" long felt by the people of Balochistan by launching a series of development projects to undo the neglect of decades in the province.
"Ensuring complete peace, security and socio-economic development for the people of Balochistan are the key priorities of my government," he said while chairing the second meeting of the National Development Council (NDC).
The council's first meeting was held in August 2019 after its formation in June that year. The prime minister said he was fully cognizant of the problems people in Balochistan face and expressed his commitment to turn the situation around by providing them relief and services in the best possible manner.
"Financial resources allocated for Balochistan in the past were never diverted towards the development of the province," he said. The prime minister said such a state of affairs led to dismal development in the province and caused "a sense of deprivation" among its people.
Federal Ministers Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Ali Haider Zaidi, Omer Ayub Khan, Advisers Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, and Abdul Razak Dawood, Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Special Assistant Lt Gen (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa, DG ISI Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, and other senior officials attended the meeting.
The meeting reviewed in detail several projects related to the national development agenda. These included the provision of means of communications in the remote areas of Balochistan, better facilities for irrigation, agriculture, energy, and setting up barter markets to attain optimal benefit from the Gwadar Port.
The premier said the development of Gwadar Port would be a game-changer, not only for the people Balochistan but also for the entire region.
"There must be a full focus on the development of infrastructure, provision of employment for the youth, and completion of road networks to gain benefit from the completion of the Gwadar Port and the CPEC," he said.
In this regard, the prime minister constituted a committee comprising Omar Ayub, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, and Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal, that would submit a report to him on the priority areas for development — particularly in communications, agriculture, energy, and other important sectors.
The meeting also gave approval for the setting up of the Balochistan Mineral Exploration Company that would work for better utilisation of the mineral resources of Balochistan and boost exploration activities.
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