Delay in tough decisions hurting economy. Gwadar important for Pakistan, expressing concern over unrest. Protests in Gwadar sending wrong signals.

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(06 January 2023)

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said a delay in unpopular decisions and ignoring the demands of IMF is not benefiting the country but harming it.

According to the finance minister, the ninth and tenth reviews of the IMF will be held simultaneously, which indicates a delay in important matters, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that if the bitter pill of fiscal discipline is not swallowed, Pakistan will run out of time. Further investment in infrastructure projects that become white elephants should be stopped.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that Gwadar is very important for the country therefore unrest among the local population should be calmed urgently.

Gwadar is the second most important port after Karachi and Pakistan’s future is linked to it, therefore, the issues of the local population deserve the full attention of the authorities, he added.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the masses and the business community are concerned about the disturbing news from Gwadar where people are demanding their basic rights.

locals want access to fishing in their own waters, the inclusion of the locals in jobs, and the provision of proper healthcare and education facilities.

He said that the local population should be given preference in employment opportunities and their lifestyle should improve.

There is no justification in CPEC except Gwadar and this area is considered an indicator of progress on this flagship project, he added.

The business leader said that locals complain that hundreds of large trawlers continue to fish in deep waters without any check and they also catch the small fish depriving locals of fishing opportunities and resulting in poverty and hunger.

Local fishermen fear that poverty and hunger will increase, impacting the fishing communities of Gwadar, and the adjoining locations.

It may be recalled that locals were promised jobs and greater participation when the port became operational but it remained a promise.

Decisions on CPEC and Balochistan are made without taking into account the interest and priorities of the local residents therefore they see all such projects with scepticism.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that locals fear that the main beneficiaries of investments in Gwadar will be international investors. They will lose their advantage and may become a minority in their own district.

It is an open secret that several powers are CPEC and they are using all means including engaging frustrated elements to disrupt this project, therefore, the government should address these issues and engage with the communities, prove that they want to introduce meaningful reforms and that locals will not be cheated.

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