Monday August 08, 2022

CPEC opportunity for development of Balochistan, webinar told

By Our Correspondent
July 29, 2022

National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA) Director General (DG) Vice Admiral (retd) Abdul Aleem HI (M) has said that despite being the largest province, Balochistan historically remained underdeveloped due to lack of socio-economic infrastructure, education and employment opportunities, but the Pak-China economic collaboration under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has brought a great opportunity for improving socio-economic dynamics in Balochistan.

He was addressing a webinar organised by the NIMA on ‘Development of Balochistan under the CPEC’ to highlight the facts about CPEC and Chinese engagement in Gwadar and Balochistan.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed graced the occasion as the chief guest. The NIMA DG highlighted the efforts of the Pakistan Navy in the development of coastal areas of Balochistan for providing health care facilities, education and training institutes to the local communities.

Earlier NIMA Karachi Director Cidre (R) Ali Abbas SI (M), who was the moderator of the webinar, highlighted the salient points of the topic. The senator said that there was always a military-driven security-centric approach for Balochistan. “But due to the CPEC, for the first time policymakers in Islamabad are looking at Balochistan with an economic lens.”

Gwadar is central to CPEC and to the development of Balochistan. At the heart of regional connectivity, it will connect South Asia with Central Asia, China and the Middle East, he said. Sardar Shaukat Popalzai, president of the Balochistan Economic Forum, highlighted the strategic and geographic importance of Balochistan and the potential in terms of natural resources that can attract private and foreign investment in the province.

He also mentioned the development plans running under the CPEC and emphasised the need for development at the micro level for the uplift of local communities. Ovais Baloch, the chief operating officer of the Visionary Group and Vsh TV, said the people of Balochistan were in no way against any development activities and they were always willing to participate in the development projects.