3 decades of economic efforts by BEF: Great achievement by son of soil

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Balochistan Economic Forum was established on 27 May 1992 has completed its 32 years with greater pride of achievement. This forum is headed by its most energetic President Sardar Shaukat Aziz Popalzai who has been working day and night for the up lift of Balochistan’s especially the neglected areas for years. Balochistan has the largest area as compared to other provinces but the population is the lowest around 12.3 Million. Their major complaint has been allocation of resources. The allocation is made according to the population whereas it should cater the huge area of Balochistan, this has resulted in slow development and failed to reduce the poverty graph. The Balochistan has been ignored economically. The biggest activity has been smuggling. People living were dependent on goods being brought from Afghanistan and Iran especially fuel. Question arises how long this system could go on. It was in this background that in 1992 Balochistan Economic Forum was established to ensure proper economic development. The man behind this forum was son of the soil Sardar Shaukat Aziz Popalzai. This was the time that he had no support from the government. Popalzai started motivating various people to come to province and invest for the betterment of province and people of other provinces. Popalzai success was his grand family background. His grandfather served as Governor in two provinces of pre partition of Pakistan while his father Sardar Abdul Aziz served in army as well as in police and enjoyed respect of elders. He would collect businessman trader’s diplomats and media persons for interactive sessions spending lot of money. The investors were reluctant to invest due to large scale smuggling from across the borders but BEF continued playing its role under the dynamic leadership of Sardar Shaukat Aziz Popalzai and in spite of smuggling mantra by the investors managed to motivate investors to invest in Balochistan.The region is full of natural resources including natural gas, and minerals copper and gold. Except gas remaining reserves remained unexplored. It was very unfortunate that Balochistan population province was denied provision of gas that was discovered in area Sui in early 50’s it was Gen Ziaul Haq Shaheed who provided them the gas. Balochistan has suffered a great setback as successive governments failed to develop infrastructure. Whatever development you find it has mostly been by the military rulers. However, Chinese engagement in Gwadar was the turning point for the Balochistan. Balochistan suffered due to lack of socio economic infrastructure, education and lack of job opportunities. Pak-China economic collaboration under the CPEC has brought great opportunity for improving socio-economic infrastructure and people have started availing this opportunity and working together for the uplift of the province. Gwadar shall provide regional connectivity it will connect South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and beyond. With the strategic and geographic importance of Balochistan and the potential in terms of natural resources that can attract the private and foreign investment in Balochistan. Sardar Popalzai is maintaining close liaison with the Chinese to ensure progress about the development plans running under the project of CPEC. He advocates development at micro level, people of Balochistan are in no way against any development activities they are always willing to participate in the development projects however there is a lack of trust deficit due to lack of development, education, health and employment share and opportunities for the local people of Balochistan, if this can be resolved properly Balochistan shall progress beyond expectations. We wish Sardar Popalzai President Business Economic Forum grand success in his efforts and future endeavors