ISLAMABAD - Speakers at an intellectual forum on Thursday stressed the need for projecting the issue of Balochistan in its true and correct perspective, clearing the wrong perceptions being propagated by some elements.“The ground realities are different and there is a misconception about the actual situation in the province,” said t alongside the Sardari system, poor governance, ethnic schisms and the territorial size of the province are the main causes of the backwardness of Balochistan. Shedding light on Pakistan Army’s role in the socio-economic development of Balochistan, they said that over 17,600 Baloch youth have recently been enrolled in the Army.The Frontier Works Organization (FWO) is constructing a road network in the province and to connect it with rest of the country, they said and added that mega projects, especially Lakpass Tunnel, Coastal Highway and Kachi Canal, would change the fate of the people of area. The speakers said that the Kachi Canal alone would irrigate 712,750 acres land in Dera Bugti, Nasirabad, Bolan and Jhal Magsi districts. About mineral exploration in the province, they said that Saindak, Rico Dik, Duki and Chamalang coal mines had created 73,000 jobs for the locals. On Pakistan Army’s role in promoting education and literacy in Balochistan, the speakers said more than 4,741 Baloch students are studying in Army Public schools in the province while the technical education institutions are imparting technical education to the youth to prepare them to be able to take up skilled jobs in the upcoming projects. Approx 1900 students have already benefitted from this education initiative. In addition, more than 500 students are studying in reputed schools across the country with excellent boarding andlodging facilities.The speakers said the mainstream media, both print and electronic, should give more coverage to Balochistan, specially highlighting positive aspects to counter the negative propaganda by anti-state elements in the province. “Absence of mainstream media has left a vacuum while militant media is taking advantage of this space and promoting hatred and mis-perceptionamong the people,” they added.They said that militant media is spreading hatred and promoting violence through magazines, websites, workshops and leaflets thrown in different areas.The speakers said 95 free medical camps set up by the Pakistan Army have been providing free medical care to civilians since 2006.They highlighted that 178 Army and FC personnel embraced Shahadat while over 500 received injuries during the operation against the militants and terrorists, in recent years.On the issue of missing persons, they said the list of missing persons has come down to 92, while a number of them, after investigations, were found involved in criminal activities and were not picked up by government agencies. Some of them have been reported to be sitting in neighbouring countries.The speakers said there are 86 ferrari camps which have employed upto 2000 ferraris, who are carrying out anti-state activities in Balochistan. They informed the forum that foreign intelligence agencies are also operating in Balochistan and their designs can be frustrated through unity and oneness.About the construction of cantonments in Balochistan, they said that the work on cantonments of Sui and Kohlu has been stopped. The Sui cantonment has been converted into an ‘Education City’, they added. They also made it clear that no army operation is going on in Balochistan and not a single soldier has been operationally deployed since the year 2008.A prominent educationist said that army has always acted in aid of civil authorities in Balochistan on the orders of the Federal Government. He pointed out that the Pakistan Army’s role in the development of Balochistan has not got much attention. The development projects undertaken in Balochistan by the Army need to be properly highlighted, he added.