ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed that connecting the long-neglected tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan with road infrastructure will usher in a new era of development and prosperity in the country, says TLTP.
Speaking at an inauguration ceremony of 293 kilometres long Hakla-Dera Ismail Khan Motorway on Wednesday, which is an important part of the Western route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the prime minister said that linking the tribal areas and Balochistan with road infrastructure will bring a revolution in the country and ensure a bright future.
Hakla-DI Khan motorway has 11 interchanges, 36 bridges, 33 flyovers and 119 underpasses. It would help in transforming D I Khan as one of the main business hubs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, linking South Punjab and Balochistan. It would also enable supply of agricultural produce to different parts of the country. The premier said the completion of the first phase of western route under the CPEC project would ensure economic development in the backward areas.
Khan stressed the need for inclusive development so that no region lags behind in development. He said the State of Madina was the most successful model in the world as it uplifted the common man and ensured rule of law and meritocracy.
He pointed out that regardless of inflation; the incumbent government completed the road infrastructure projects at less cost than the previous regime. He said previously the development of the country was confined only to GT road, Lahore, and onwards to Karachi
which was also called as Eastern route of the CPEC.
“But a country achieves progress if there is uniform development across its length and breadth. It is made possible due to long-term planning like China which has planned 30 years ahead,” he added.
He made it clear that future planning would envisage a roadmap towards progress, embracing all parts of the country.
The lack of facilities forced the inhabitants of D.I Khan and Mianwali to move to developed cities which also resulted in the brain drain and flight of talent, he added.
He expressed the confidence that the motorway would go a long way in raising the standards of living of these areas and by reducing the distance from seven hours to three hours from Islamabad to DIKhan.
The prime minister said that during the last 25 years, he had been consistently maintaining that corruption had been the biggest issue of Pakistan.
He regretted that roads were constructed in the past to mint money whilst ignoring regions such as Balochistan.
“Roads were constructed for making money. How come that roads during 2013 were constructed costly and now being completed at the lowest costs,” he expressed his wonder. The prime minister said construction of dual roads in the past cost double.
“About Rs1,000 billion had gone to the pockets of the corrupt, and it happened with a poor nation,” he regretted.
Commending efforts of the minister for communication, the prime minister said his ministry had been among the top three performing ministries.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed said that work on Hakla-Dera Ismail Khan Motorway had been completed with the deployment of NHA personnel.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, unlike the previous rulers, had completed work on road projects at half cost and also started work on additional roads network, he added. The minister said a true leader always thinks of the country and its people ahead of everything.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that uplift of the people of Balochistan is among the top priorities of his government.
Chairing a meeting to review the progress on Balochistan’s development projects on Wednesday, the prime minister said the government has prioritised projects according to their impact on livelihood of the people of Balochistan.
The prime minister said that infrastructural development, development in agriculture, fisheries and power sectors as well as subsidies on basic amenities including Ehsaas programmes are gradually gaining pace. He said that industrialisation and establishment of processing plants is being expedited for economic uplift of the locals. He said that protection of local fishermen by curbing illegal trawling activities is being ensured.
The meeting was given a comprehensive overview regarding improvement in governance structure, execution of government to government projects, fisheries sector, command area development, agriculture sector and establishment of nursing colleges.
A detailed briefing was also given on the road networks, power sector projects, projects by maritime affairs, IT and telecom sectors, industries and production, and development projects in Gwadar.
Regarding the governance, it was told that 59 out of the total 161 projects would be completed in the current fiscal year.
The prime minister said that expeditious execution of the projects should be ensured along with the establishment of a robust permanent structure that will ensure the development of deprived areas of Balochistan in the long run.
About road infrastructure, it was said that a total of 3,788 kilometres of roads are being developed in Balochistan to improve connectivity. The said projects are already ahead of the timelines ascertained for these projects. Moreover, the 796 kilometres Karachi-Quetta-Chaman road project is also underway and the ground work will commence very soon.
On the fisheries sector, it was said that one of the major concerns of the local fishermen was of the illegal fishing trawlers that has been addressed on a priority basis by improved patrolling by the agencies concerned. This has also resulted in the conservation of the fishing stock. In addition to that, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs in collaboration with Kamyab Jawan Programme is providing loans to local fishermen for improvement of techniques and their boats which include installation of Vehicle Monitoring system.
Discussing the command area development, the meeting was told that the Katchi canal project was near completion. In addition to the above, a Foot and Mouth Disease Free area is being established whereby not only the cattle will be vaccinated, but also proper facilities will be established to meet the international standards for export of processed meat. This will not only generate foreign exchange by increasing exports but also generates jobs.
Talking about the power and petroleum sector, it was told that distribution of 3,000 solar panels will commence soon. Along with that a subsidy on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is proposed that will help locals and resolve issues pertaining to energy demands.
The Ministry of Maritime Affairs informed the meeting about progress on import of virtual pipeline liquefied natural gas whereby licences are being granted that will further improve the gas situation in the province, especially in Gwadar.
Moreover, the project of establishment of the boat industry in Gwadar is under way with all stakeholders on board. The purpose of the project is to modernise the existing fleet of boats belonging to local fishermen.
The meeting was also informed about the establishment of a 1.2 million gallon water plant in Gwadar which is expected to be completed before summer this year.
The prime minister directed the stakeholders concerned to speed up the projects, especially those that have high impact on the livelihoods of the locals.
The meeting was attended by federal ministers Shaukat Fiaz Tarin, Fawad Chaudhary, Murad Saeed, Asad Umar, Hammad Azhar and Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bazenjo, SAPM on CPEC Khalid Mansoor and senior civil and military officers concerned.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that long-term planning is required for urban centres that will result in improved cities’ management, public service delivery and revenue generation.
The prime minister said this while chairing a meeting on Wednesday on road projects aimed at reducing vehicular traffic burden of Lahore city.
The prime minister said that Lahore has huge potential for generating revenue and emphasised on utilising prime urban lands that are presently not utilised and are only “dead capital”. He added that revenue generated from prime locations can be utilised for public welfare schemes.
The prime minister suggested that other urban projects in Lahore be operated on public-private partnership mode on the lines of Ravi Urban Development and Central Business District projects.
The meeting was briefed regarding the Punjab government’s “Elevated Expressway from Main Boulevard Gulberg to M2 Motorway” project. It was informed that the elevated expressway would provide an east-west route to commuters of Lahore and it is aimed at decreasing the huge burden of vehicles on existing roads.
The meeting was attended by federal ministers Shaukat Tareen, Shafqat Mehmood, Asad Umar and Fawad Hussain, and SAPM Dr Shehbaz Gill. Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, provincial ministers and senior officers joined the meeting via video link.
The monitoring desk adds: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday has said that he ‘welcomes’ the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) scrutiny of his party the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s (PTI) funding through donations from overseas Pakistanis.
The premier’s tweet comes a day after a report by the ECP’s scrutiny committee – investigating into the foreign funding of the PTI – on Tuesday unearthed that the party had concealed several accounts and around Rs310 million between 2008 and 2013 from the electoral body.
“The more our accounts are scrutinised the more factual clarity will emerge for [the] nation to see how [the] PTI is the only political party with proper donor base premised on proper political fundraising,” PM Imran stated.
He further said that he “looked forward” to similar scrutiny from the electoral watchdog on funding of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
According to the premier, this will allow the nation to see the “difference” between “proper” political funding and the “extortion of money from crony capitalists and vested interests in exchange for favours at nation’s expense”.
The scrutiny committee formed by the ECP to probe the foreign funding case against PTI found irregularities in the audit reports submitted by the ruling party.
In its report submitted to the election watchdog on Tuesday, the committee said, “as per the opinion of the Chartered Accountant Firms, the statement of Account fairly presents, in all material respects [sic], the cash receipt of PTI for each year mentioned in the table above [present in the report], on the basis of accounting described by the firm in its audit report. However, during the course scrutiny, the committee observed deviations in figures as the same do not reconcile with the bank statements.”
It further disclosed that the party had received $44,000 from 88 foreign donors during this period. The undisclosed accounts have been mentioned in a report by the State Bank of Pakistan. The scrutiny committee has also included its analysis of the bank accounts in the report.