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KARACHI: The National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA) organized a webinar on a very important topic “Development of Balochistan under CPEC”, to highlight the facts about CPEC and Chinese engagement in Gwadar and Balochistan. Chairman Senate Defence Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Director General NIMA, Vice Admiral Abdul Aleem HI (M) (Retd) the Chief Host, welcomed the Chief Guest, worthy speakers and other participants.

During his address, Director General NIMA, said that Balochistan despite being the largest province historically remained underdeveloped due to lack of socio-economic infrastructure, education and employment opportunities. Pak-China economic collaboration under the CPEC has brought great opportunity for improving socio-economic dynamics in Balochistan.

He also highlighted the efforts of Pakistan Navy in the development of coastal areas of Balochistan in providing health care facilities, education and training institutes for the local communities. Earlier Director NIMA Karachi Cdre Ali Abbas SI (M) (R), who was the moderator of the webinar, highlighted the salient points of the topic.

Speaking on the occasion, The Chief Guest Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that there was always a military driven security centric approach for Balochistan but due to CPEC, for the first time policy makers in Islamabad are looking at Balochistan with an economic lens. Gwadar is central in CPEC and for the development of Balochistan. At the heart of regional connectivity it will connect South Asia with Central Asia, China and Middle East.

As keynote speaker, President of Balochistan Economic Forum, Sardar Shaukat Popalzai highlighted the strategic and geographic importance of Balochistan and the potential in terms of natural resources that can attract the private and foreign investment in Balochistan. Sardar Popalzai also mentioned about the development plans running under the project of CPEC and emphasized on need of development at micro level, for the uplift of local communities.

The second speaker Ovais Vsh Baloch, Chief Operating Officer Visionary group and Vsh TV mentioned that people of Balochistan are in no way against any development activities they are always willing to participate in the development projects however there is a lack of trust deficit due to lack of development, education, health and employment opportunities for the local people of Balochistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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