No demographic change in Balochistan: minister | Pakistan Today

No demographic change in Balochistan: minister

  • Ahsan says govt to protect social, economic and legal rights of people

Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Ahsan Iqbal on Sunday rejected the notion being projected by vicious elements suggesting a demographic change in Gwadar and other areas due to the influx of people in the coastal areas, saying the government will protect the social, economic and legal rights of the people of Balochistan province.

“The people of Balochistan have the right on their resources and the government will protect all rights of the people of the province. The notion being projected by vicious elements suggesting a demographic change in Gwadar and other coastal areas is a part of blatant lies,” he said while talking to the workers and youth activists of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) from Balochistan.

The minister hoped that Gwadar would soon be enlisted as a centre of modern education with completion of an international standard university in this port city. “The days are not far away when students from across Pakistan as well as other part of the world will get education and professional trainings in Pakistan especially in Balochistan,” he added.

Bringing industrial revolution and turning Pakistan into trade hub were the goals of the government which were set to be achieved under this multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “Projects in energy, infrastructure and port development will provide a base to industrialisation of the country,” he said, adding that “Made in Pakistan” would be considered as a sign of high quality and standard soon.

He stated that 85 million jobs were up for grabs in China due to relocation of the Chinese industry that has lost their competitive advantage because of rise in cost of operation. “The CPEC presents an opportunity to Pakistan to grab major share of the available jobs which can help employ the unemployed surplus labour. People particularly the educated youth should not care about the propaganda but try to grab this opportunity as much as possible,” he added.

He told the delegation that work on Gwadar Master Plan was in progress to make this city a world modern port city. “Like Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai, Gwadar will soon be a centre of world investors and business associations,” he said. The construction of the Gwadar Airport would be starting this year which would prove another milestone in the development of this remote region, he said.

The minister said that further Gwadar to Quetta and Gwadar to Rathodhero roads construction have ensured better connectivity and opened a new era of development in Balochistan. He said that the world narrative about Pakistan has completely changed with converting CPEC dream into a reality and transformation of Gwadar as a new centre of development in the region.

In 2013, enemies were terming Pakistan as the ‘most dangerous country’ and now they were hatching conspiracies to create hurdles and halt CPEC’s success but they will have to see a failure, he remarked. The whole nation has decided to protect the CPEC and the connectivity being provided through road infrastructure and development projects has ensured mainstreaming of Balochistan, leading to eradicate sense of deprivation of the people for the first time in the history, he said.

Ahsan stated that there was complete consensus among the federating units where the federal and the provincial governments were working jointly to ensure speedy implantation of CPEC projects which has brought a historic opportunity for the private enterprises of Pakistan. “It is their duty to take maximum advantage of the industrial cooperation being planned under CPEC. The establishment of economic zones would bring maximum employment for local youth,” he said.

“Enemies of CPEC are the enemies of Pakistan who cannot digest the remarkable success we achieved by converting CPEC agreement from a piece of paper into a billion dollars investment projects. The 50 billion dollars project has emerged as a leading project of regional cooperation, which is paving way for peace, prosperity and development of Pakistan and the Asia region,” he concluded.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]