QUETTA -  Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday said former President Asif Ali Zardari wanted to take undue advantage from the prevailing political situation while his recent statements and speeches were nothing more than point-scoring.

The prime minister was talking to media persons here after chairing a high-level moot on security and uplift projects in the province. He said the federal government would provide every kind of cooperation and assistance to Balochistan as it wanted to see the province developed.  The premier dispelled the impression of confrontation among the state institutions. He was of the view that doors of dialogue on political issues among all political parties should not be closed. He hoped Asif Ali Zardari would certainly participate in dialogue.

He said key decisions had been taken to improve the law and order situation. It was stated the law and order situation was better in the province as compared to that in 2013. It was also decided at the meeting that development projects in the province would continue under the provincial and federal governments as announced by Nawaz Sharif during his tenure.

Abbasi said Nawaz Sharif had launched a plan to supply gas to every district headquarter at the cost of Rs 15 billion, adding it would be implemented in the current fiscal year.

The premier promised Balochistan farmers’ demand to shift tube-wells on solar energy would be met and completed in three phases. He said water was one of the key challenges Balochistan was facing, urging the authorities to quickly complete all such schemes.

He went on to say the much-awaited Kachhi Canal scheme had been completed by the government and hoped the project would become functional within 10 weeks, adding it would irrigate Balochistan’s 70,000 acres of land. The prime minister said the next phase of this project would be started soon.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the health card schemes launched by Nawaz Sharif in six districts of the province would be extended to other districts. Similarly, Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) would also be extended to the entire province so that the poor people could benefit from the scheme, averred the prime minister. He added the BISP chairperson would visit Balochistan next week in this regard.

Chief Secretary Aurangzeb Haque briefed the prime minister about the ongoing projects in the province.

Responding to a query of a journalist, the prime minister said they wanted to see the entire Pakistan developed.

He asserted the NAB references would be contested as each person had the right to defend himself and they would also do so.

Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, Federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Adviser on National Security Affairs Nasser Khan Janjua and several other lawmakers were also present.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who landed in Quetta for his one-day maiden visit to review the law and order situation and pace of uplift projects in the province affirmed protection of people’s lives would be ensured by eliminating the menace of terrorism from the country.

On his arrival, he was accorded a warm welcome at the airport by Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, Home Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti and others.

On this occasion, all key avenues in Quetta were closed owing to which a large number of commuters, including children, women and aged persons, had to stay on their way for hours and could move after the roads were opened.