Balochistan, recently in news for political unrest, witnessed the inauguration of a series of development projects yesterday. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has assured to the people investment worth billions of rupees in the region.
Accompanied by a whole slew of high-ranking government officials and ministers, Nawaz Sharif laid the stone for a local dam, a business complex, a university, and an economic free zone to be developed for the region.
Considered as one of the remotest areas of Pakistan, these projects are meant to mainstream the region and bring about progress and prosperity for the people.
Plans are afoot to complete the projects over the next couple of years; on completion, these projects will transform the city of Gwadar - located on the shores of the Arabian sea - into an international city with a world-class sea-port.
Since 2015, Gwadar’s strategic and economic significance has increased manifold with the opening of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan and China have signed a joint venture in infrastructure, power, and railways through which traffic from Gwadar will go to China and vice versa.
To emphasise Gwadar’s centrality to Pakistan, the prime minister quipped, “Gwadar is Pakistan and Pakistan is Gwadar.”
In his inauguration speech, Sharif also paid tribute to the armed forces, security agencies, police, administration and other institutions who have “sacrificed for peace in the country”. He warned that terrorists are still running amok and have been making a last-ditch effort to strike at soft targets, but he expressed confidence that the terrorists will fail miserably in their nefarious designs.
The development projects come with the promise of creating 50,000 jobs in the region. Sharif was particularly thankful to China - who he called a “true friend” for supporting and making development in the port city a success.
Ambassador Sun Weidong of China said that he was pleased to partner the development of Gwadar and mentioned his country's support for construction of Gwadar Free Zone and handing over a school for the local people.
While the Gwadar Free Zone will help attract investors, the new educational facilities, both the ambassador and the prime minister hoped, will enable the locals to play their role in national development.
Like all acts of development, these projects in Balochistan fulfill crucial political-economic objectives. The proponents of development hope that the projects in bringing prosperity will stabilise the region and further economic goals of both Pakistan and China.