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Balochistan is impoverished, Pak has always neglected it, admits PM Imran at National Minority Day event

File photo of Imran Khan. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Islamabad Jul 31, 2019, 10.39 AM (IST)

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has admitted that seventy per cent of Balochistan is impoverished at the National Minority Day event on Monday.

"Balochistan is impoverished," the Pakistan prime minister said, adding, "Pakistan has always neglected the region."

Imran Khan further said why would the Baloch population fight for Pakistan when the state neglected them.

Balochistan is famous for its port city of Gwadar, which features the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a major investment project as well as a geostrategic asset for China to strengthen its military prowess in the South Asian region.

"70% of Balochistan is reeling under poverty. The situation is the same in Sindh. These people are backward, why will they fight for Pakistan when the state neglects them. They don't have any stake in the state. Balochistan has no reason to be in Pakistan," Imran Khan said during his speech.

Balochistan has witnessed years of brutal crackdown. 

Mass graves were found in Balochistan for the first time in 2014 in Turbat, and since then, every year the people of the region discovered similar graves in different areas, according to a report in May.

Independent investigations and international humanitarian organisations' access to the areas in question has been banned for 'security reasons'.

This is not the first time the Pakistan prime minister has spoken about Balochistan. In March, Imran Khan had pitched for "inclusive development" in Balochistan while addressing a medical complex in the region.

"We have to make sure that development is inclusive. The more we focus on Balochistan, the more it will develop and Pakistan along with it," the Pakistan prime minister had said.

During his visit, the Pakistan prime minister had laid the foundation stone for a new international airport at Gwadar which he said would be the country's largest airport.