The government’s fresh offer for dialogue will also be extended to separatist leaders – including Brahamdagh Bugti and Hyrbyair Marri, currently in self-imposed exile in Europe.
It remains to be seen, however, what incentives the government has to offer to the Baloch dissidents.
“It is for all … political leaders and rebels,” a federal minister told The Express Tribune on Wednesday as more details emerged of Tuesday’s meeting of the country’s top political and military leaders to tame an insurgency in Balochistan.
Science and Technology Minister Mir Changez Khan Jamali, a Baloch parliamentarian from the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), said Balochistan Republican Party (BRP) leader Brahamdagh Bugti and Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) leader Hyrbyair Marri will be approached for talks.
“When our committee starts the process, it will reach out to each and everyone,” said Jamali, who was one of the leaders from the province who attended the meeting. The members of the proposed panel are expected to be nominated shortly, Changez said, although the minister did not share the names of likely nominees.
The huddle, which was presided over by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and attended by both the military and intelligence chiefs, decided to form a six-member committee – consisting of three members each from the federal and provincial government – to spearhead the proposed talks.
But the huddle remained short of announcing what the country’s political leadership demanded last week during a seminar held by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) – a blanket amnesty for all those involved in the insurgency.
Brahamdagh, the grandson of slain Baloch chieftain Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, is currently in Switzerland. He sought asylum in the European state after spending some years in Afghanistan. Officials including Interior Minister Rehman Malik have blamed the separatist leader for pushing forward the insurgency in Balochistan. The Pakistani foreign ministry had also called for the extradition of Bugti when he was given asylum by Swiss authorities.
While the seeming change of heart may appear surprising, a serious Jamali said it was the only viable option under the current circumstances if the purpose of bringing harmony to Balochistan was to be achieved.
On the other hand, Hyrbyair — in exile in the UK — has received such offers in the recent past. In February this year, Malik announced that court cases against the dissident would be dropped if and when he returns to Pakistan.
According to reports, however, Hyrbyair spurned the offer because the situation in the troubled province was only worsening. It remains to be seen whether he will be willing to change his mind this time around.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2012.
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