Uplift of Gwadar imperative for Pakistan

Islamabad: Chairman, Senate National Defence Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, has urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to personally meet Mama Qadeer Baloch and his team, and the Government can help resolve the issue by pursuing policies than can reverse wrongs of the past by stopping the repeated violations of human rights in Balochistan.

He was talking to the media outside Parliament House on Sunday to share his experiences of the first-ever visit of the parliamentary Defence Committee to the Balochistan coastal cities of Gwadar and Ormara.

The senator said Pakistan’s economic future lies in development of the Balochistan coast, particularly the port of Gwadar, and urged the Government to strengthen and upgrade Pakistan Navy, given its pivotal role in maritime security, development and national integration all along the 700- kilometre coastline.

Lauding the role of Pakistan Navy, Senator Mushahid Hussain said the Navy was promoting national cohesion through its people-friendly policies and it has opened its hospitals and educational institutions to the people of Balochistan. He said in the 21st century, defence through maritime security and development through trade and economy was necessary through effective use of sea-lanes as sea power was playing the most important role in the present times. Hence, the budget of the Pakistan Navy needs to be substantially enhanced to meet the new maritime challenges.

He said all members of the Senate National Defence Committee were highly impressed with the role of people living in coastal areas like Gwadar and Ormara, who are talented, hard-working and keen on education, and despite lacking basic facilities and infrastructure, the people there have demonstrated the zeal to excel.

He urged the Government to invest in the area, while welcoming the effort to revive the Gwadar Port after the commercial agreement with a Chinese company to run this deep-sea strategic port. Citing an example, if only there is investment in the rich fisheries sector, Pakistan’s exports could go up to $ 2 billion annually, which at present are a meagre $ 200 million annual exports in fisheries.

Responding to a question, Senator Hussain welcomed the arrival in Islamabad of the Balochistan Long March. He praised the Long Marchers courage, tenacity and determination, and expressed solidarity with the relatives of missing persons of Balochistan who have reached Islamabad through their historic Long March.

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