Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Sunday that the government is ready for political dialogue with the estranged leaders of Balochistan in the larger national interest.
Speaking during a briefing here on the security situation in Balochistan, the prime minister appreciated efforts of the provincial government to improve law and order in the province. He was given the briefing by the federal interior minister, Balochistan’s finance minister, chief secretary and interior secretary.
Gilani stressed the need for enhancing coordination among the federal and provincial law enforcement agencies. He said that sharing of information among federal and provincial departments should be further strengthened.
The prime minister promised all possible assistance to the provincial government to improve the law and order situation. He said the federal law enforcement agencies would train provincial police and levies.
The federal government and the interior ministry will spend Rs1 billion each to modernise and equip the provincial law-enforcement agencies with weapons and provide them transport, he said. “We will work together for ensuring peace and security.” He said cross-border movement of Afghan refugees should be checked.
The premier said progress on the issue of missing persons is quite satisfactory. However, more efforts should be made for finding the remaining 38 persons. He was told that out of a total of 144 missing persons, 41 returned to their homes while false cases against 38 were withdrawn, while many other persons have been located.
Earlier, he met with a delegation of resident editors of newspapers, senior journalists, office-bearers of the Multan press club and newspaper hawkers. He said the PPP’s manifesto committee was working on the issue of a separate Seraiki province which would give due consideration to the sentiments of people.
He said his government had announced the best possible budget based on realities under the present circumstances to improve the national economy. He said the government was working hard to resolve the problems it had inherited after coming to power.
He said that it was the best possible budget amid challenges, including global recession, security situation and the cost of infrastructure revival in the post-flood situation. The prime minister said that the provinces had received more resources under the 7th NFC Award. He said the PPP was a symbol of national unity and the federation and it had rendered numerous sacrifices for the cause of democracy.
He said the PPP would not act during the budget session of the Punjab Assembly like the opposition which had made the National Assembly session noisy. “The party will not adopt an undemocratic behaviour which is contrary to parliamentary traditions,” he said, and added that it would prefer to set good traditions and norms. He also said that the party would not take any step to destabilise the Punjab government.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2011.