ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that the government is providing substantial funds to the socio economic uplift and development of Balochistan despite financial constraints.
In his address at the inauguration ceremony of the two-day Balochistan development forum in Islamabad on Monday, Sharif said that Rs61 billion has been allocated for the province under the public sector development fund during the current financial year which is 37 percent higher than the last fiscal year.
The prime minister said that Rs15 billion have been earmarked in the annual development program as a special development package for Balochistan.
Nawaz Sharif said the province lagged behind in socio economic development due to the neglect of the past. He said that share of Balochistan has been significantly increased from 5.7 percent to 9.9 percent in the 7th national finance commission (NFC) award to ensure steady and predictable flow of resources to the province.
“Balochistan is central to Pakistan becoming a regional hub for trade in goods and energy,” he said.
“Its strategic location makes it pivotal both for the East-West as well as for the North-South trade routes.”
Balochistan will be main beneficiary under China-Pak economic corridor
The prime minister said that Balochistan will be the main beneficiary under the China-Pakistan economic corridor project.
Sharif said that developing Gwadar port, Gwadar port city and allied infrastructure including a modern new airport there will make Gwadar a hub of not only our national but also regional trade.
“Establishment of free trade zones and special economic zones will underpin its prospects to become an attractive destination for foreign and domestic investment,” he said.
Nawaz Sharif said that the federal government is also financing and implementing a number of projects to address gaps in infrastructure as well as human development indicators in the province. He said that 142 projects in different sectors are being supported in the province through the federal development program.
The prime minister said that the federal government has launched a project costing Rs4 billion in collaboration with the provincial government for construction of houses for quake victims of Awaran district.
Likewise, he said that a 300 megawatt power plan is planned to be set up in Gwadar. He also said that special provision has been made for scholarships for the students of Balochistan under Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e Balochistan package.
Nawaz Sharif said that Rs500 million has also been released for establishment of cold storage facility at Turbat.
Moreover, the premier said that Reko Diq has huge copper and gold deposits which will bring in prosperity for the people of the province.
“The federal government is determined to give full support to the provincial government to resolve the issue of Reko Dik at the earliest and to start the project in the shortest possible time,” Sharif said.
Zero tolerance policy adopted against terrorists
On the issue of terrorism, Nawaz Sharif said that the government is committed to wipe out terrorism in all its shades and hues and adopted a zero tolerance policy against the terrorists.
The prime minister said that terrorism has taken a heavy toll of tens of thousands of human lives and caused a loss of about $100 billion to the economy.
Sharif said that our operation Zarb-e-Azb and allied counter terrorism initiatives across the country will help cleanse the country particularly tribal areas, federally administrated tribal areas (FATA), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan from violent terrorism.
Nawaz Sharif made it clear that Pakistan will neither allow anyone to use its territory against any other country nor would tolerate if terrorists use foreign soil for the terrorist activities in Pakistan.