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Saifullah for Balochistan’s control of Gwadar port

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Salim Saifullah Khan on Saturday revealed that his ministry fully supported giving control of the Gwadar Port to Balochistan and had also made a recommendation to the government in this respect.

After launching the ministry’s website here, the minister said he had recommended to the government to hand over the port’s control to Balochistan to do away with the perception that it was being neglected.

He was strongly in favour of all the ports’ management going to the provinces, to which they belonged. The minister said the provinces had already sent such a proposal to the government and to his ministry.

Saifullah said in some countries, ports were the Centre’s subjects while in others, these belonged to the provinces, which independently handled their affairs.

About the revenue of ports, he said that seven per cent revenue generated by the Gwadar Port would now go to Balochistan, whereas Sindh received a much lesser share in the case of the Karachi Port.

Pleading for decentralisation of powers, he said that during his recent visit to China, he came to know that out of its 23 provinces, as many as 16 had their own airlines. Regarding review of the job quota for the NWFP, the minister that this issue was also on the agenda of the meeting of the Inter-Provincial Coordination Committee to be held in Quetta on July 09.

The minister said that his ministry had held out an assurance to the provinces that their job quota should be in accordance with their census-based statistics.

Saifullah added he had talked to Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz about clearing the stuck-up amounts payable to the federating units and the Prime minister had assured him of doing so.

Asked when the provincial autonomy bill would be moved in the National Assembly, he said they wanted to get a clearance from the Cabinet at the earliest so that it could be duly processed afterwards. He called for the opposition’s cooperation in getting the bill through the parliament.

The minister said that they would benefit from the provincial autonomy bills already submitted to the National Assembly by Pakistan Peoples Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement, as well as a detailed document on the subject prepared by Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party Chairman Mhemood Khan Achakzai. Dispelling the impression that the government wanted to gain political mileage with the introduction of the bill, he said the draft was the result of efforts spread over 4-5 years.

Earlier, after launching the website: www.ipc.gov.pk, the minister said that they had managed to resolve some major issues, such as giving fishing rights to the provinces and increasing Balochistan’s job quota. Secretary Sohail Safdar threw light on the achievements of the Inter-Provincial Coordination Division since September last year.

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