Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Tuesday reiterated his offer of holding talks and negotiating with Baloch nationalists, saying the nationalists should convey their concerns to the government as it is ready to address their reservations.
“Most of the people in Balochistan have become emotional due to injustice and discrimination in the past but the current government is serious in addressing their grievances and removing the sense of deprivation,” told party workers at the Governor House.
“I fulfilled my promise of holding a meeting of the federal cabinet in Quetta. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is an ideological party and stands on its promises. I have taken notice of lawlessness in Balochistan and have also asked the interior minister to ensure his presence in Balochistan every month to monitor the situation,” he said.
The prime minister will chair the first-ever federal cabinet meeting here on Wednesday in which participants will review the prevailing political situation in the country with a specific focus on the recent developments in Balochistan. Prime Minister Gilani and most of his cabinet members arrived here on Tuesday for a two-day visit to discuss Balochistan’s issues.
“The government is paying special attention in bringing about socio-economic sustainability in Balochistan by promoting trade and economic activities,” he said.
The prime minister also said that Pakistan wants to take part in Afghanistan negotiations at an equal level and is in talks with the US on this matter. “Pakistan wants friendly ties with its neighbours India, Afghanistan and Iran. We want a stable and strong Afghanistan which is also in the interest of Pakistan,” he said.
Prime Minister Gilani also held a meeting with a delegation of Balochistan Chamber of Commerce during which he said that the Afghan transit trade will help Pakistan’s economy.
He said that his visit to Balochistan was meant to keep a check on the performance of institutions engaged in development projects.
The prime minister was received at the airport by Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani and other provincial ministers.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2011.