QUETTA - Once again offering talks to Baloch separatists and militant religious groups, Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has said the provincial government wanted peace in the province.
The chief minister made this offer while talking to media after meeting Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party chief and MNA Mehmood Khan Achakzai at his residence, here on Sunday. He said Achakzai was his political companion and he was visiting him to extend Eid greetings.
To a question, CM Malik said the provincial cabinet has been completed and “we are moving ahead in accordance with the constitution”. “We will try to eliminate corruption from all departments in the province,” he vowed.
On the occasion, provincial minister and Mehmood Achakzai’s brother Dr Hamid Khan Achakzai said they had completed three phases of democracy amicably and they would come up to expectations of people in future as well. To query, he said they are in the parliament for serving the people, not for the ministries.
Meanwhile, the issue of Balochistan needs urgent attention of rulers to sort out an amicable solution for it as it is being internationalised more and more with each passing day as evident from European parliamentarians’ discussing the situation in this restive part of Pakistan at European Parliament in Belgium the other day.
The event, “Balochistan: Destiny Denied”, was hosted by the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament and Balochistan House. Besides the issues like backwardness, poverty, injustices and alleged Baloch genocide, the European legislators discussed ongoing insurgency in the province and Pakistani government’s response to it.
When contacted, Balochistan government spokesman Jan Muhammad Buledi said those who are concerned at the situation in the province should directly talk with political parties sitting in the parliament. “Sitting abroad and discussing Balochistan would make no change,” he said, adding that we have the true picture of Balochistan, its backwardness and others issues and could tell how they could be addressed.
Buledi said since inception of coalition government led by National Party (NP) Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch all key issues of Balochistan, including the alleged undeclared military operation, recovery of decomposed dead bodies and corruption, were being seriously addressed. “Not even a single decomposed dead body of any missing person has been recovered for last one month. It is a big achievement of provincial government and it should be acknowledged,” he said.
Jan Buledi said that incumbent government was paying more attention to missing persons issue from day one and the issue would be resolved soon. “We are trying to rehabilitate Internally Displaced Persons of Dera Bugti, who were displaced in military operation, and we have succeeded in it to some extent,” he claimed.
Referring to Pakistani government’s response to insurgency, Buledi said that no operation was being conducted in any part of the province, however, some parties were issuing statements in this regard just for point scoring. He said an All Parties Conference on Balochistan would be called soon. He said the government has repeatedly asked the resistance groups to come on the dialogue table. Despite it, he said, the militants were attacking security forces and government installations. “No positive response has come so far on part of the resistance groups,” he lamented.
During the event in Belgium, Ryzsard Czarnecki, an MEP from Poland, spoke about Balochistan’s potential riches from its natural resources and lamented the fact that Balochistan remains one of the poorest and least developed regions, with alarmingly high rates of infant mortality and illiteracy.
However, Balochistan government spokesman Buledi says the European countries should come forward against backwardness and poverty, and talk with the government. “The incumbent government is especially focusing on health and education sectors of the province and it has therefore allocated highest funds in the history of the provincial budget for both these sectors,” sectors.
Referring to barring international community and NGOs for assisting earthquake affectees in Awaran district, which was discussed in the Belgium event, Mr Buledi said the government managed to provide relief to earthquake affectees, and now for the rehabilitation of affectees the government has appealed to the international community.
“We appeal international community to support earthquake affectees directly or through provincial and federal institutions,” he said. He said that Awaran district was basically an insurgency-hit district therefore there are security concerns for NGOs, however if they come for carrying out rehabilitation of affectees the provincial government would provide them complete security. He also dispelled the impression that gunship helicopters were being used in Awaran against the militants, saying helicopters are merely airlifting relief goods to the affected areas.