Geostrategic Importance of Balochistan

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On the occasion of the inaugural ceremony of Sorab-Hoshab highway, the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that development of Balochistan means development of whole Pakistan. He highlighted that, “a new Pakistan is in making. Development of Balochistan means a new Pakistan”. To connect the entire Balochistan with Gwadar, this network of roads, motorways and highways will bring enormous opportunities to the people of Balochistan and will uplift the economy of Pakistan. The inaugurated highway was part of the development of Gwadar Port and CPEC.

The 3000km long route of CPEC will link Gwadar Port of Pakistan with Chinese autonomous region of Xinjiang. Apart from the 3000km road, there would be a vast network of roads across Pakistan, connecting with the main route of CPEC. This multi-billion project will open up new avenues of opportunities for the people of Balochistan. With estimated 7.1 billion initial investment through CPEC, Balochistan will be getting the second largest share from $62 billion according to the statistics of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform. Balochistan in general and Gwadar in particular is the linchpin of CPEC. The project will subsequently contribute to the development of Balochistan and will address various economic and social problems of the province. It is envisioned that Gwadar would soon be transformed into an economic hub.

Despite being rich in mineral resources, so far Balochistan’s contribution to the economy of Pakistan has not been high, which has consequently affected its development. One of the major reasons of this was the geographical roughness of the terrain and poor population. For instance, Turbat has a population of 180,000 people and has the most difficult terrain along the western route in Balochistan. Pangjur, another district with rough terrain in the west of Balochistan has a population of around 350,000 in its three tehsils. After the construction of western route of CPEC, the value of properties has increased rapidly in the areas where roads have been built. Other cities like Qalat, Quetta and Zhob will also become more vibrant with the completion of the planned network of roads, which will ultimately give a boost to economic activities and other development projects under CPEC.

Development of Gwadar, completion of CPEC and economic prosperity of people are connected with peace and stability in the province. Parliament and security forces of Pakistan have already done enough to bring peace and economic developments in the province. Now it is time for Provincial Government and people of Balochistan to stand against those miscreants who want to keep the province in darkness.

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