PRIME Minister Imran Khan paid his maiden visit to Balochistan on Sunday where he met with members of provincial cabinet, chaired a meeting on development projects and also received a briefing on security situation, promising that the province will be given its due share and its reservations to be addressed.
During his interactions, Khan appeared keen to raise human development level of the province and vowed to work as partner with provincial government to build a new Balochistan.
“The premier will be briefed on the security situation of Balochistan at Southern Command headquarters,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) stated. A high-level meeting chaired by the premier to review the security situation and development projects in the province is expected to be held.
Balochistan Governor justice (R) Amanullah Khan Yasinzai and provincial chief minister Mir Jam Kamal are also set to meet the prime minister.
The southern province is the site of Gwadar, the main pivot of Pakistan’s hallmark China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). However, it has been of late been under attack of militants that has resulted in huge loss of life.
The people of Balochistan heard such promises umpteen times in previous regimes yet much to their disappointment nothing practical was done to fulfil these pledges. Everybody was seen emphasising the importance of development in Balochistan as pivotal for overall development of the country but apart from cosmetic steps,
nothing significant was done that could bring a real change in the life of Baloch people. So, how does the present government prove to be different from its predecessors will also be seen by the people of Balochistan and the entire country?
Multibillion dollars China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has now afforded an opportunity to address the longstanding grievances and sense of deprivation in Balochistan. Local people will only accrue the benefits of mega project provided the Baloch youth are equipped with right kind of technical training as well as necessary interventions are made for promotion of education amongst them.
It is because of strategic location of Balochistan and hidden treasures under its rich soil that enemies of Pakistan are active in the province to sabotage its development as well as fuel anti-Pakistan sentiments amongst the local people.
During briefing on security situation, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa remarks that focus is now on Balochistan after achieving stability in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa sends a lucid message to anti-state elements backed by India and some other foreign countries that they will also be rooted out as was done in KP and tribal areas.
Giving a sense of security to all the communities in Balochistan and foiling enemy designs are vital for the CPEC success. Besides ensuring security measures,
it is also pivotal that focus is shifted to economic development of the province. It is hoped that the Prime Minister will do the needful and show desired seriousness towards implementing the development agenda. For this,
he also needs to visit Balochistan more frequently giving out the message that Federal Government really cares for Baloch people, cognizant of their problems and is serious to address them. One also has great expectations from new Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal who is well educated and competent enough to steer the province to right direction by addressing issues of corruption and ensuring good governance.
PTI government also needs to honour the agreement it signed with the BNP-Mengal that in fact is also aimed at addressing some of the very critical issues faced by the province.
On the other hands, President of Balochistan National Party Sardar Akhtar Mengal has announced, we might go to deal harshly the PTI Government, if they continue bypassing us in taking Balochistan’s future decision reiterating no one would be allowed to sell our natural resources.
In addition efforts must be expedited to engage with the estranged Baloch people to bring them into national mainstream. All these measures collectively will help remove the trust deficit and open doors to explore precious natural resources of the province including oil,
gas, copper and so many others but this should be done while accepting the right of Baloch people on their resources and by giving them guarantees that the money generated from such explorations will also be spent on their welfare.
This indeed will not only help thwart designs of the enemies but will also usher in a new era of progress and development in Balochistan and the country as a whole.