WEB DESK: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said that a hefty amount of Rs 150 billion to Rs 200 billion would be spent over the next four years in Balochistan to alleviate its backwardness on Wednesday. He said there was no precedent in the history of Balochistan that construction work on massive roads network continued on such fast track basis.
The Prime Minister was addressing a huge gathering after performing ground-breaking on the upgradation of 81kms Zhob-Mughal Kot Road (N-50) and 128 kms Qila Saifullah-Waigam Rud Road (N-70).
He said the upgradation of these roads would be completed within the next two years; besides, completion of entire 2,428kms roads network linking other provinces with Balochistan. He said as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, 194kms road from Gwadar to Khushab would be inaugurated next month whereas Khushab-Panjgur-Basima 454kms road be completed by December 2016 by the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO).
Khuzdar-Wanguhil-Shahdad Kot, 243kms road would also be completed by the next year, he announced, adding all these projects were being funded by the government of Pakistan out of its Public Sector Development Programmes (PSDP). He praised the Director General FWO Major General Muhammad Afzal and NHA chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarrar for their hard work and commitment.
The Prime Minister also referred to Kalat-Quetta-Chaman and Kharan phase-1 roads which would be completed in the next year while feasibility work on Zhob-Jandola Road was being done. He said uplift of the province was the top priority of his government as it would benefit the entire country. “The project would open up opportunities of trade and business for the whole region and help in removing backwardness of the province. Soon, there will be dawn of prosperity of which Balochistan would be the major source of fast track progress,” he added.
He expressed the hope that all the political parties would collectively work for the national prosperity and against terrorism and play their due part for the durable peace and prosperity. He said that individually, he could not perform such tasks and thanked the political leaders accompanying him for their support. Governor Balochistan Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri, Advisor to PM on National Security Nasir Janjua, high officials, a large number of parliamentarians, political leaders and notables were present on the occasion.
About development of Gwadar Port, the Prime Minister said it was a separate entity and required special attention, so a state of the art airport was under construction. The Karachi-Gwadar costal highway was also constructed during his previous government and now the NHA would be tasked to rehabilitate it, he added.
The Prime Minister said Gwadar would be connected with the entire Central Asian Countries (CARs) and cited China-Germany goods railroad which also offered greater connectivity opportunities to Pakistan. “We have to see it in the wider perspective which can be beneficial for our industry and agriculture sectors,” he added. The Prime Minister said that the government was thankful to China for investing in the power projects including Bin Qasim coal-fired power plants.
The country had coal reservoirs in abundance which were being tapped for generating power. The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline would help the component countries of the project to get ample gas supply and overcome gas shortage, he added.
“Country’s indicators are showing upward trends and we have to move forward,” the PM said. About ties with the neighbouring countries, the Prime Minister said that his advisor on National Security had held positive meeting with his Indian counterpart to sort out issues, followed by a visit of Indian External Minister.
He said he was thankful to Indian Premier Modi for visiting Lahore enroute via Kabul to India. The Prime Minister also congratulated newly elected Chief Minister of Balochistan and Raheela Durrani for becoming first female Speaker of the provincial Assembly. Secretary Ministry of Communication and Chairman National Highway Authority (NHA), Shahid Ashraf Tarrar said that various mega road construction projects worth billion of rupees were underway in the country which would bring economic prosperity.
He said the Zhob-Mughal Kot Road (N-50) and Qila Saifullah-Waigam Rud Road (N-70) would be completed at the cost of about Rs 8 and Rs 7 billion respectively. He said under various projects, the motorway and national highway networks would be extended from existing 690 kms to 2,000 kms. He said these projects would help in linking the northern parts of the country to southern and western areas of the country.
Chief Minister Balochistan Sanaullah Zehri said they were concentrating upon good governance and uplift projects aimed at generating business activities. He praised the vision and leadership of the Prime Minister for according priorities to the development of backward areas of the country. Extending his full support to the CPEC, Chief of JUI-F Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that it would become a vital ingredient of regional stability and peace. The economic prosperity was linked with the overall security situation, he added.
Hasil Khan Bizanjo, leader of Balochistan National Awami Party, said that communication networks could bring about economic revolution and societal changes. He credited the Prime Minister for laying foundation stones of major development projects, including Gwadar Port. Mian Iftikhar Hussain, leader of Awami National Party, said the whole nation was united against scourge of terrorism and emphasised upon unity among the ranks of all political parties.
The western route of the CPEC belonged to the whole country and would contribute to uplift of the local populace, he added. Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, leader of PML-Q, said that Pakistan for the first time had good relations with its neighbouring countries while work on development projects like CPEC, TAPI and IP gas pipeline, etc, would change the fate of the whole region. The PM’s vision would take Pakistan forward on the path of progress and prosperity, he added.