Dr. Mirza Ikhtiyar Baig (Industrialist): I think Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is giving special attention to development of Balochistan which is the largest province in terms of land mass. Hallmark of Balochistan is China Pakistan Economic Corridor. The current dispensation is very keen to develop the province of Balochistan. The major projects like Gwadar Port and Gwadar International Port can be successful only when the city and its residents are provided all facilities. It is a good development that government is working to provide clean drinking water to inhabitants of Gwadar. In addition, the Prime Minister has announced to allocate 200 acres of land for fishermen of Gwadar city as well as provision of engines for their boats. Giving importance to local populace will help the pace of development to expedite.
Dr. Fazal Rehman (Expert, Pak-China Study Centre): These steps should have been taken much earlier. Provision of facilities to native population of Gwadar is the most important step in the way of development of area. The Prime Minister also focused on issues being faced by population of Gwadar. The provision of clean drinking water, boat engines and residential facilities for fishermen will go a long way in uplift of the area. The hype around Gwadar revolves around its potential which also needs ground work. We also need to meet the expectations of people of the area. Development is happening in stages and work must be expedited to achieve the goals. The completion of these projects will take time, but these are essential for social empowerment of people.
Dr. Zahid Anwar Khan (Afghan Expert): Pakistan’s permanent representative at the UN Munir Akram reflected in his speech what is going on in the region, especially Afghanistan. He drew the attention of world towards the problems and humanitarian crises being faced by Afghan people. As far as Pakistan is concerned, our governments have always provided assistance and support to their Afghan brethren. Pakistan hosted an international conference in Islamabad to apprise the world about the precarious situation in Afghanistan. The world should do away with its animosity towards Taliban regime and rather engage with them to help Afghan people. An inclusive government comprising various ethnicities will bring peace and prosperity in the war torn country. International community should understand the ground realities and Afghan psyche to deal with the Taliban. Pakistan can play the role of a bridge between the world and Afghanistan.
Dr. A. Z. Hilali (IR Expert): Pakistan and Afghanistan are intertwined in deep bonds of religion, language, culture and values. For the last many decades, Afghanistan has been facing natural and man-made disasters. The gesture of Pakistan to providing relief assistance to Afghanistan is a step in the right direction. Afghans expect Pakistan to help their country as a brotherly neighbor. Pakistan has time and again urged the world community to help avert crisis like situation in Afghanistan. The UN has indicated that major reforms are needed in Afghanistan to improve the governance structure, writ of the government and institutions in the country. If a vacuum develops in Afghanistan, it could be filled by non-state actors and the country could again become a hotbed of anarchy and terrorism.