By Dr. Irfan Ashraf
Recently a seminar was organized in Quetta with the objective to bring together the intelligentsia of Balochistan, Tribal Chiefs, government representatives, writers and Television anchors to understand the sentiments of people of Balochistan about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
I being the host of the event invited top television anchors, writers and representatives of different thinks tanks to attend the seminar so they can also better understand the hopes and concerns of people of Balochistan regarding CPEC.
Most Pakistanis know the vital importance of the billion dollars China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) but very few understand the sentiments of people of Balochistan regarding the project, who are actually going to be the real beneficiaries of this project.
Over the past few months I have heard numerous people on television talk shows and social media platforms claiming that people of Balochistan are not supporting the project. The seminar provided an opportunity to representatives of media to understand the real sentiments of people of Balochistan regarding the project.
Among the prominent representatives were Mir Asim Kurd Gello, a current member of the provincial assembly and former ex finance Minister of Balochistan, Mir Mohabbat Khan Marri, Anwarul Haq Kakar, the spokesman for the Balochistan government, Manzoor Ahmed Kakar, Prof. Dr. Rukhsana Jabeen, Vice Chancellor Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University (SBKWU) and students from SBKWU.
Representatives of the media were requested to understand the sentiments of the people of the province though the speeches of the government representatives, Tribal chiefs and other speakers.
In his speech Mir Mohabbat Khan Marri welcomed the project and said that the project will bring prosperity in the province. Marri said that it is the certain Sardars and Nawabs of the province who are responsible for keeping the people uneducated and now they blame others for it. He questioned as to what the Sardars and Nawabs who have remained in power for years done for the people of the province? He said that it is time that we stop blaming others for our own mistakes and work for the prosperity of the country.
Mir Asim Kurd Gello while speaking said that India is using Afghan soil to sabotage the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) but added that people of province will foil such designs. He said that there is no presence of the militant Daesh in the province adding that groups such as Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) are being used by India and other hostile foreign agencies to create unrest in the province. He said that the people of the province will not let such tactics succeed and will defend their province to ensure a brighter future for the coming generations.
Manzoor Ahmed Kakar in his speech said that those opposing the project are actually opposing economic prosperity in the province. He said that the people of Balochistan are united and they will make the project a reality. He however appealed to the government to establish training institutes to ensure that the youth of the province take full advantage of the project by taking jobs created by the project.
Towards the end the stage was opened for media representatives who were of the view that locals should be prioritized in any project. They also lauded the role played by the Armed Forces and the provincial government for the development and security of the province.