Imran Khan-led PTI government has failed Gwadar residents miserably: Pak PM Shehbaz

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday denounced the previous government led by ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan for having “disappointingly failed the people of Gwadar, a day after visiting the Balochistan port city and inaugurating a six-lane highway built under the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor scheme.

Expressing his displeasure with the slow pace of work on the projects in Gwadar, the Prime Minister asserted that Pakistan’s development is linked to peace, stability and progress in Balochistan.

The coalition government aims to help Balochistan by working with the provincial government and local elders to chart the way forward, Sharif said in a tweet on Saturday.

“During my visit to Gwadar, I witnessed how the PTI government has failed the people of Gwadar miserably. no project to solve the water and electricity problems for the inhabitants who have made great sacrifices for Gwadar port,” he said.

During his one-day trip to Baluchistan on Friday, Sharif attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Eastbay highway and the inauguration of seven other development projects for Gwadar. A component of the CPEC, the six-lane Eastbay Highway would connect Gwadar Port to the Makran Coastal Highway, also providing a link to Karachi, The Express Tribune reported.

The Prime Minister also gave an overview of development projects including the ongoing Gwadar Airport which was being constructed with a Chinese grant and suffered a delay in completion.

A desalination plant will be installed and a hospital has been built for the residents of Gwadar, while 3,200 solar panels will be distributed to families here, he said.

He said that due to siltation, the depth of Gwadar seaport was decreasing and ordered it to be dredged to allow heavy vessel traffic.

The same goes for the Gwadar seaport and the construction of the Gwadar airport. No dredging has been done at the seaport and therefore no large cargo ships can be anchored. Ordered speedy completion of Gwadar University, airport and installation of desalination plant for drinking water, Sharif said in another tweet.

Earlier, while addressing officers during his visit to the Command and Staff College in Quetta, the Prime Minister stressed that the defense of the country was sacred and that security, sovereignty and the Pakistan’s integrity would be ensured at all costs.

Paying tribute to the forces’ achievements and sacrifices, he said, “Our successes in the wars on terror are unprecedented, duly recognized by the world.

The CPEC, which connects the port of Gwadar in Pakistan’s Baluchistan to China’s Xinjiang province, is the flagship project of China’s ambitious multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). CPEC is a collection of infrastructure and other projects under construction across Pakistan since 2013. Initially valued at $46 billion, the projects were worth $62 billion in 2017.

India has protested to China against the CPEC as it is set up across Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The BRI was launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he came to power in 2013. It aims to connect Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe through a network of land and sea routes. The BRI is seen as China’s attempt to boost its influence overseas with Chinese investment-funded infrastructure projects around the world.

The move has also led to allegations of smaller countries reeling from mounting Chinese debt, after Sri Lanka ceded its port of Hambantota as part of a debt swap with China in 2017 on a lease of 99 years old.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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