Monday Jul 05 2021
Web Desk

PM Imran Khan says considering reaching out to insurgent groups in Balochistan

Web Desk
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing an event in Gwadar, on July 5, 2021. — YouTube
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing an event in Gwadar, on July 5, 2021. — YouTube

  • PM Imran Khan says India might have used Balochistan insurgents.
  • "But now situation is different," he says, hoping to have talks with them.
  • PM Imran Khan slams past govts for not focusing on Balochistan.

GWADAR: Prime Minister Imran Khan said Monday he was mulling over speaking to the insurgents in Balochistan, as the situation in the province had changed, and Pakistan was moving towards a better future.

The premier, addressing an event in Gwadar, said the insurgents might be upset with the state due to some past grievances or India might have used them to spread terror in Pakistan.

"But now, the situation has changed," he said.

PM Imran Khan inaugurated Gwadar Free Zone, Expo Center, Agriculture Industrial Park, and three factories; he also witnessed the signing of various MOUs aimed at constructing a state-of-the-art hospital, airport, and vocational institute.

PM Imran Khan said his sole aim was not only to win the elections but also to develop Balochistan after becoming the prime minister.

The premier said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had visited London 24 times, but he never came to Balochistan, while former president Asif Ali Zardari visited Dubai 51 times, but he never had the time to visit Gwadar.

"A person who thinks about Pakistan will think about Balochistan as well, but if a person wants to win elections, they will focus on Faisalabad division, which has more seats in the Parliament than Balochistan," he said.

'Pakistan on its way to becoming a great country'

Pakistan is on its way to becoming a great country, PM Imran Khan said, as he shared his vision for the country's future.

The premier's comments came during his address at an event in Gwadar, where he said that some areas in the country are developed, while several others, including Balochistan, have remained underdeveloped.

"I dream of Pakistan's future — and I have grown up with Pakistan. This nation is headed towards becoming a great country," he said, adding: "Gwadar is becoming a focal point for Pakistan, which will benefit the country, especially Balochistan."

The premier said he had come to visit Gwadar for two reasons — inaugurate the Gwadar Free Zone Phase 2 and for the development of Balochistan.

The prime minister mentioned that Gwadar International Airport would encourage regional trade and boost economic activity.

The prime minister said works on energy and water supplies to the city were underway, and this would help Gwadar grow. "These projects were moving at a slow pace before [...] but now they are developing at a better pace."

The premier, shedding light on why the country should expedite China Pakistan Economic Corridor and remove hurdles in businesses related to it, said Chinese exporters were aiming to install such industries that would help Pakistan increase its exports.

Eyeing increase in exports

"Unfortunately, we have never focused on exports. And if we do, it will help bring in dollars," he said, adding that Pakistan has always been at the mercy of the International Monetary Fund as export-led growth.

The prime minister thanked the government of China for launching water and solar projects in Balochsitan, particularly Gwadar.

“Pakistan can benefit from its strategic location and also from the expertise of its friend China which is the becoming an economic power in the region,” he said.

He also mentioned the technical education provided by China to the locals of Gwadar, which he said, would prove greatly helpful as the foreign investment grew in future.

"Gwadar will connect with Central Asia [...] We have already signed contracts with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan," he said, as he announced he would soon visit Uzbekistan.

Situation in Afghanistan

The prime minister said countries in the region had expressed interest in reaping the benefits offered by the Gwadar port.

In this scenario, he expressed concern over the law and situation in Afghanistan, which he said, was extremely important for the continuity of development.

"We all want peace and stability to prevail in Afghanistan [...] I spoke to Iran's president, and I told him that Afghanistan's neighbouring countries should push for a political settlement in the [war-torn] nation."

The premier highlighted that war would hurt Afghanistan the most, he said, adding that a civil war in Afghanistan would also have effects on its neighbouring countries.

Highlighting the importance of the Urdu language, the premier lauded Chief Minister Jam Kamal for his "excellent speech", but lamented that had he delivered it in Urdu, 90% of the population could have understood it better.

Prior to his arrival, the premier was given a detailed briefing on the progress of the South Balochistan Development Package in line with the government’s vision of developing Balochistan. 

On this occasion, various agreements are set to be signed on the solarisation of the area as well as the installation of a desalination plant to solve the problems of Gwadar related to water and electricity.

'Enemies targetting CEPC'

CPEC Authority Chairman Asim Saleem Bajwa, addressing the event in Gwadar, said Pakistan's enemies were targetting the CPEC project.

"I thank Prime Minister Imran Khan for personally monitoring the development of CPEC [...] The master plan for Gwadar has also been approved," Bajwa said.

The CPEC Authority chairman said a vocational institute was under development, adding that people would soon benefit from it.

— Additional input from APP