If the interior minister felt he would win over hearts on Thursday, he was mistaken.
Conversely, unshaken and unimpressed, Baloch leaders lashed out at Interior Minister Rehman Malik soon after he announced that the government will withdraw cases against angry Baloch leaders and hold negotiations with them.
Nationalist parties said they do not trust Rehman Malik or government institutions, claiming that they have “betrayed the Baloch people” on several occasions in the past.
Balochistan National Party (BNP) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal questioned how the rulers could come up with solutions for Balochistan if they did not know the problem. As far as Rehman Malik is concerned, he added, no one takes his statements seriously in Balochistan.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Mengal said that, if the government was serious, it would have not asked Malik to announce its decision.
“Baloch leaders were implicated in fake cases. Therefore, the withdrawal of cases is not a big issue,” he said, adding that the prevailing trust deficit between rulers and Baloch leaders is because of the government and its functionaries’ discriminatory attitude towards the province.
“All the government is doing is giving an impression to America and Europe that they are ready for negotiations but Baloch leaders are refusing the offer. They must not fool themselves,” he added.
President of National Party (NP) Dr Malik told The Express Tribune that his party is yet to decide whether to participate in the APC recently called by the prime minister.
The interior minister said on Thursday that he had met Baloch leader Hyrbyiar Marri in London in an effort to start talks to resolve the issues related to his (Marri’s) family.
However, Marri categorically refuted that Malik held any meeting with him in London in the past four years. “We had a meeting in 2008 and it was not over the Balochistan issue,” he said. “I do not trust Mr Rehman Malik and no one in Balochistan takes him seriously. He is the killer of many Baloch political opponents.”
Chief of Balochistan National Party-Awami Sardar Israr Zehri said his party will not participate in the APC unless the murderers of MPA Mir Bakhtyar Domki’s wife and daughter are brought to book.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2012.