Senate’s National Defence Committee Chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain on Sunday urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to meet Mama Qadeer Baloch and his team.
He was talking to reporters outside the Parliament House to share his experience 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 Gwadar, and urged the government to strengthen and upgrade the Pakistan Navy (PN), given its pivotal role in maritime security, development and national integration all along the 700- kilometer coastline.
Lauding PN’s role, 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 needed to be substantially enhanced to meet the new maritime challenges.
He said all committee members were impressed with the role of people living in coastal areas like Gwadar and Ormara, who are talented, hard-working and despite lacking basic facilities and infrastructure, they have demonstrated the zeal to excel.
He urged the government to invest in the area, while welcoming the effort to revive Gwadar after an agreement with a Chinese company to run the 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.
To a question, Hussain welcomed the arrival of the long march in Islamabad. He praised their courage, tenacity and determination and expressed solidarity with the relatives of missing persons of Balochistan who have reached Islamabad through their historic long march.