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  • FIA asked to investigate who made money from construction of roads: PM Imran

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    Prime Minister Imran Khan File photo Prime Minister Imran Khan

    Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had been tasked with investigating which individuals had siphoned funds from road construction projects in the country.

    Addressing a groundbreaking ceremony in Islamabad for the rehabilitation and upgradation of Balochistan's Jhaljao-Bela Road, the prime minister said the per kilometre cost for the project was cheaper than the cost in the PML-N's tenure despite inflation since then.

    "I am thinking if we had made roads at the same rate as today, how much money we would have saved for more roads. This is the loss to the nation that when corrupt people come [in power], they actually steal the nation's wealth.

    "I have tasked my team to fully investigate money stolen on [construction of] roads [...] I have also given the FIA the mandate to investigate and bring before the nation who is responsible and who made so much money," the prime minister said.

    He added that people should know how much they lose out on due to corruption.

    Regarding the project itself, the premier said it was very necessary for Balochistan. He said due to the vastness of Balochistan was, development could not be pursued there without first connecting the region.

    He attributed a major reason for the lack of Balochistan's development to the approach of past governments.

    "The government which [only] thinks of its five-year election will never develop Balochistan because in that [same] amount of money, it could spend on many places in central Punjab which have a high population and it thinks it is better for it to win the election."

    The premier said if Balochistan was to be developed, it would have to be seen as an overall part of Pakistan and all areas of the country would have to be raised up similarly. "We can raise [them] when development is funnelled to those areas which have been left behind," he added.

    He explained that raising neglected and backward areas up would not only benefit them but the entire country as well. "This thinking will only come when there is long-term planning in Pakistan [...] if you're just thinking about the election, then the country will never move forward," the prime minister said.

    The premier also held the province's politicians responsible for the situation, saying they too thought about promoting development in their constituencies for the sake of electoral success instead of thinking about Balochistan.

    Outlining his government's ideology, the prime minister said: "A country cannot become strong and move forward until there is equitable development which raises all [areas] of the country up. My government has tried since coming into power to help all those areas that have been left behind."

    Scorecard

    At the end of his tenure, the premier said he hoped to show a "scorecard", which would reflect that the federal and provincial governments had together achieved the kind of development in five years hitherto never done before in Balochistan's history.

    According to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the Jhaljao-Bela Road project will "facilitate the movement of the people of Balochistan to other areas and increase their economic, social, industrial, commercial, agricultural, tourism and cultural activities."

    It will also create around 3,000 job opportunities for locals, the statement added.

    "Jhaljao-Bela Road is also of special importance for the development of trade relations with Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asian states," the PMO said.