ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Monday said owing to neglect in the past, Balochistan lagged behind in socio-economic development, and stressed that both federal and provincial governments were now taking measures to ensure growth and peaceful environment in the province.
Addressing the inaugural session of Balochistan Development Forum here, the Prime Minister said development of Balochistan was close to his heart, and despite constraints, the federal government provided substantial resources to supplement the efforts of the
provincial government to address the needs of its people.
The Prime Minister mentioned some already taken corrective measures in shape of 7th NFC Award, Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan, 18th Amendment and substantive allocations for development projects.
He said as the developmental gaps were huge, it was imperative that synergies be created by development partners, civil society and foreign and local investors to give new impetus to developmental efforts.
He said that federal government was also financing and implementing a number of projects in Balochistan to address major gaps in infrastructure, as well as human development indicators in the province.
He mentioned construction of M-8 (Gwadar-Turbat-Hoshab and Khuzdar-Ratodero) and N-85 (Hoshab-Basima-Sorab), which he said would greatly improve its connectivity with the country.
Prime Minister Sharif said that the federal government had also launched a project at a cost of Rs. 4 billion, in collaboration with the provincial government, for construction of houses for earthquake victims of Awaran District.
To meet the electricity demand of Balochistan, he said a 300MW power plant was planned to be setup in Gwadar, while two additional transmission lines 220 KV Dadu-Khuzdar and 220 KV DG Khan-Loralai had already been completed.
The Prime Minister said allocation of Federal PSDP (Public Sector Development Program) this year for Balochistan had been substantially enhanced with Rs 61 billion which was 37 percent higher than financial year 2012-13.
He added that Rs 15 billion had been earmarked in PSDP 2014-15 as a `Special Development Package’ for Balochistan, which was the highest amongst all provinces.
Nawaz Sharif said Balochistan enjoys central position and could become a regional hub for trade in goods and energy with its strategic location making it pivotal both for the East-West and North-South trade routes.
He said that Balochistan was going to be the main beneficiary under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and mentioned that developing Gwadar Port, Gwadar Port City, a modern new airport, and improved inland connectivity would make Gwadar a hub of national and regional trade.
He said establishment of Free Trade Zones and Special Economic Zones in the province would underpin its prospects to become an attractive destination for foreign and domestic investment.
He said these initiatives would bring about a socio-economic revolution for the people of Balochistan.