Quetta/ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that development of Pakistan is directly linked to the development of Balochistan so his government would extend all possible cooperation to pull up this mineral-rich but under-developed province.

Imran Khan said that CPEC is being reviewed afresh to safeguard rights of all the provinces.

He expressed these views while chairing Balochistan Cabinet meeting in Quetta on Saturday. He assured all possible financial support to the province to overcome its financial crisis.

The prime minister said the federal government in collaboration with Balochistan authorities would end backwardness in the province.

Imran Khan said that a comprehensive strategy would be worked out for an early progress of Balochistan in the light of proposals to be submitted by the provincial government.

The prime minister asked members of the provincial assembly to do an effective legislation for resolving problems of the people in the province. He also stressed the need for taking measures on priority basis to meet the water scarcity in Quetta city.

The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhary Fawad Hussain, Federal Minister for Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Deputy Speaker National Assembly Qasim Khan Suri, and Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq and Special Assistant on Media Iftikhar Durrani were also in attendance.

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal welcomed the prime minister and expressed gratitude to him on taking special interest in situation of Balochistan.

Earlier, the provincial chief secretary briefed the prime minister on socio-economic development projects in the province.

During the visit, Prime Minister Imran Khan along with Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan and federal ministers visited headquarters of the Southern Command at Quetta Cantt. General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) received the prime minister at Quetta Airbase, said a press release issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

A detailed briefing on security situation of the province, challenges and response was given. The prime minister was also briefed about socio-economic development based Khushal Balochistan Programme, security of CPEC projects and progress of fencing along Pak-Afghan border.

The COAS said that having achieved stability in troubled areas of KP, lately our focus has been on Balochistan which is economic future of Pakistan.

The prime minister acknowledged and appreciated contributions of security forces towards improving peace, stability and socio-economic development of the province. The prime minister said that through a comprehensive national effort, cooperation between federal and provincial governments and assistance of the Army we shall realise the true potentials of Balochistan. He said that only a cohesive national effort shall Insha’Allah take provinces and the country to the rightful destination of peace, progress and prosperity.

The prime minister also held separate meetings with Balochistan Governor Justice (retd) Amanullah Khan and Chief Minister Jam Kamal, PM office media wing said in a press release.

During meetings, overall situation of the province especially the development and public welfare projects were discussed.

QUETTA NEEDS A CANCER HOSPITAL: PM

Prime Minister Imran said his government was committed to bring a positive change in lives of the people of Balochistan, as it believed that progress of the country’s largest province was directly linked to the prosperity of Pakistan.

Addressing a gathering of retired judges, members of civil society and senior officials at the Governor House in Quetta, he said his party was against the progress of a selected group of people, a particular area or a certain segment of society as it violated the basic principles of justice and equality.

Imran regretted the previous governments and different political parties exploited the deprivation of the people of Balochistan for their personal gains and did little in practical terms to improve the lives of the common man.

He asked the political leadership of Balochistan to rise to the occasion and bring about a real change. He mentioned success of his party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and attributed it to the success of its local government system.

Imran urged the local leaders to emulate the Village Council model of KP, saying they need to be provided funds directly to enable them serve the people and address their basic issues. The local leaders were the best judges of the problems of the people of their areas and they were needed to be empowered fully, he added.

He was appreciative of the commitment shown by Chief Minister Jam Kamal and his team and expressed confidence that they would fully exploit the potential of the resource-rich province and bring it at par with the developed areas of the country.

He said completion of Kaachi canal would irrigate 0.8 million acres of land and help the province and the country address its food security concerns. He extended full support of the federal government to the provincial government in addressing any shortcoming in building its capacity. He pointed to the brain drain from Balochistan due to acts of terrorism in past and said with improvement in situation, people would return.

He said there was an urgent need to establish a cancer hospital in Quetta so that the people did not have to travel far to get treated. He said he would soon chair a meeting for a feasibility of the project and send a team of Shaukat Khanum Hospital for initial study in this regard.

Imran said he had also discussed the issue of provision of health facilities with Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who had assured to assist the provincial government in meeting any shortage of doctors.

Imran said no nation could progress without eradicating corruption from all tiers of society. Corruption erodes national economy and destroys state institutions, he added. He said today Pakistan was under a heavy debt of Rs28,000 billion, up from Rs6,000 in 10 years, just because of rampant corrupt practices.

He cited the example of China which threw behind bars around 400 of its ministers and hundreds of thousands of government officials who were involved in corrupt practices.

He said today majority of the government-run corporations were running in losses of billions, because the previous governments appointed their cronies on hefty packages, without any consideration.

He said it was the time that the provincial government focuses on fully exploiting the estimated Rs 450 billion worth of minerals, besides benefiting from Gwadar Port and its oil and gas reserves.

He assured that Balochistan would get more than its due share in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor owing to its strategic location. He said he would keep in regular contact with the leadership of Balochistan to ensure that the dividends of progress reach out to each and every area of the province.