At a roundtable political leaders from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa voiced concerns at the ‘worrying’ situation in Balochistan and put forward some proposals to stablise the restive province.
Their recommendations were: 1.) All ‘missing’ persons should be released; 2.) The government should announce a compensation package for victims; 3.) And powers of spy agencies should be clipped.
The roundtable, titled Situation in Balochistan, Issues and Way Forward – was jointly hosted by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network (KPCSN) and Sungi Development Foundation at the Peshawar Press Club.
Politicians from all political parties, including Mir Hasil Bizenjo of the National Party (NP), attended the huddle.
Every politician gave his two cents’ worth on solving the issue. While many tried to say too much in veiled euphemisms, Bizenjo took everyone by surprise with his remarks. He simply denounced the security establishment for the ‘current mess’ not only in Balochistan but in the entire country.
“The basic issue in Balochistan is that you have resources, but you do not get any benefit,” he said, adding that about 85% of the province’s population has no access to natural gas, even though the Sui reserves were discovered in 1952.
Bizenjo said that they wanted a strong federation but what could they do if the ‘so-called owners’ did not want them to stay.
Views from K-P
PML-N’s provincial General Secretary Rehmat Salam Khattak said that use of power should be avoided in Balochistan because it would not solve any problem.
ANP’s provincial General Secretary Arbab Tahir said that violence was no solution and the present situation was the result of decades of deprivation. Tahir called on political parties to play active role instead of arranging press conferences in Islamabad.
PPP’s provincial Information Secretary Syed Ayub Shah said that poverty and unequal distribution of resources formed the basis of Pakistan’s problems.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2012.