Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Balochistan CM for amending laws to Control over natural resources

January 21, 2015 

Abrar Saeed

ISLAMABAD - Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has said that reforms and changes in the laws as well as rules of business were vital for optimal reaping of benefits of fiscal devolution under the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

Addressing the concluding session of the two-day Balochistan Development Forum organised by the Chief Minister Policy Reforms Unit here on Tuesday, Baloch said that the core objective of the forum was to share development priorities of the Balochistan coalition government that aims at addressing critical sectors of Balochistan’s economy and society. 

He said that Balochistan needed to have a three-pronged strategy for inclusive development in the province which included institutional development, infrastructure development and human resource development. 

He said that the Article 172(3), which empowers provinces to have a joint and equal ownership and control of natural resources, if followed up in its true sense by amending relevant laws, will not only help Balochistan overcome its historical deprivation in development but would also take it to the level where it can provide resources for the overall development of the country.

He also promised that institutional reform in the province by restructuring Public Services Commission to ensure merit based recruitment through credible and transparent processes will ensure efficient governance in the province. 

He urged that political and bureaucratic decision makers of Balochistan to make a commitment that they would root our poverty from Balochistan and would never have to say again that they are a poor province. 

He also urged the international community to share their technical knowledge and expertise besides investment into social sectors through coordinated efforts. 

Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, while speaking on the occasion, said that he will propose that each district in Pakistan should have a policy planning unit on the model developed by Chief Minister’s Policy Reform Unit with the technical assistance of UNDP.

He also supported the idea that Balochistan Higher Education Authority should be established so that education needs can be assessed and addressed at the local levels. He also expressed the hope that the issues related to Riko Deq will be resolved soon since he believed that the area can be a game changer for the development of Pakistan.

Earlier in the day during the technical working sessions various experts and political leadership continued to discuss various aspects of the development agenda for the province. Senator Hasil Bizenjo while talking at the session on “Post-18th amendment challenges and opportunities” that he co-chaired with Abu Rahim Zairatwal said it must be appreciated that the 18th amendment started addressing the historical wrongs committed with the federating units.

He pointed out that the current law and order situation is also a by-product of the economic conditions in the province. 

Earlier, Dr. Ishaq Baloch, Chief Minister’s coordinator to policy reform Unit, shared his views on how the 18th amendment had caused significant changes in the legislative, governance and political structures of the federation and how this can lead to increased harmony amongst the federating units. 

Chairman Gwadar Development Authority Dr. Sajjad Baloch shared the vision of the Authority for this strategic port. He said that the port can become the Asian energy hub for receipt, storage, processing and trans-shipment to S.E. Asia, Far East and even to US he also shared how under Pakistan China economic cooperation various road and rail links were being planned to connect to the port to other cities and also how important the Kashgar to Khunjerab and Gawadar corridor will be for the province. 

Ahmer Bilal Sufi, legal advisor to Government of Balochistan for international arbitration on Riko Deq, informed the audience that the proceedings so far in the International Court of Justice have opened up the possibility that GoB and Tythean Cooper Company can settle the issue out of the court and get the assets of the GoB released for further development.

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