|Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch (R) said legislation was needed to ensure the centre and provinces have an equal share in resources. PHOTO: PID|
ISLAMABAD: Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch on Wednesday said provinces should be prioritised according to their physical size for the next National Finance Commission (NFC) award.
Speaking at a news conference held at the conclusion of the two-day Balochistan Development Forum, he said he also wanted to include some legislative items in the agenda of the Council of Common Interests (CCI). These include enhancing the share of provinces in revenue from oil, gas and other natural resources.
The chief minister added that further legislation was needed to materialise the aim of article 172 of the Constitution which ensures that the centre and provinces have an equal share in natural resources.
Talking to reporters, Dr Malik said the Balochistan government has chalked out developmental and political initiatives to quell unrest in the province. He claimed there was significant improvement in law and order in 30 of Balochistan’s 32 districts.
“Save for Turbat and Panjgur, militancy has declined in all other districts,” he said.
The chief minister added that there will be visible improvement in the education and health sectors of Balochistan this year due to the reforms his government had introduced.
Dr Malik said the Balochistan Development Forum came up with a four-point agenda; institutional development, infrastructure development, human resource development and natural resources development.
In addition to better connectivity, development and preservation of water resources was of vital importance for Balochistan which is suffering from water scarcity, he said. “The underground water table is rapidly going down in our province. It might force people to relocate.”
He said his administration has identified over 200 sites where water resources can be built and for that the province would need financial help from the federal government.
Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz in his speech at the forum 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 hope that the issues related to Reko Diq will be resolved soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2015.