Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif vowed Saturday to raise the issue of missing persons, as he promised to move Balochistan towards progress during his government’s tenure. “I held meetings with the leaders here and all of them said the same thing. They said that development projects are important, but it is the other problems, predominantly the issue of missing persons, that need to be solved first,” the premier said while speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the 330-km Khuzdar-Kuchlak sections of N-25 Chaman-Karachi National Highway. “Today, I’m making a promise. I will speak for missing persons along with you,” PM Shehbaz vowed. “We will raise the issue with powerful quarters. And we will talk to them on the basis of law, justice and merit.” He stressed that it was important to raise the issue because it would otherwise create an air of “disappointment” and “sadness” in the province. The prime minister was on his maiden visit to Quetta after assuming office, wherein he met the provincial leaders, reviewed the security situation, got briefed on development projects, and inaugurated a project as well. Following the event, he spoke to journalists alongside government officials, where he said that the time has come to turn Balochsitan’s deprivation into development. “I will serve Balocsitan to the fullest of my capacity […] we will deliver better than the governments in the past,” the prime minister vowed. While chairing a meeting to review the administrative situation of the province during his day-long trip to the province earlier, the prime had said that the development of Balochistan was among the top priorities of his government. The prime minister said that the talented manpower of the province had been a precious asset for the country and directed to ensure monitoring of the ongoing uplift projects in the province. Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Communication Maulana Asad Mehmood and Minister for Housing and Works Maulana Abdul Wasey, Minister for Narcotics Shahzain Bugti, Israr Tareen, Acting Governor Jan Muhammad Jamali, Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, provincial ministers, and relevant authorities attended the meeting. The chief secretary gave a detailed briefing to the prime minister on the ongoing development projects and the law and order situation. The prime minister was apprised that a huge chunk of the population in the province was living below the poverty line due to a lack of employment opportunities. The government was undertaking different development projects and giving priority to the locals in job opportunities, said the chief secretary. The participants of the meeting presented various proposals and suggested making an announcement over a comprehensive package for the province. The proposals also pertained to the promotion of tourism around the coastal highway, and the establishment of professional training institutions for imparting education and training to the local manpower. The meeting participants welcomed the prime minister on his first visit to the province and lauded him for including the development of the province among the government’s top priorities. The prime minister opined that through off-the-grid projects, the power shortage problem in the province could be resolved and assured that he would not rest till the province was brought at par with the rest of the provinces in terms of development. The prime minister also sought the cooperation of the provincial cabinet as it would ensure the implementation of the projects. Shehbaz said the people of Balochistan had rights over the natural resources, adding that he would also relaunch the stipend programme for the students of the province. He said that they would have to work for the collective uplift of the whole province, especially its backward areas.