The premier has invited Baloch dissidents to the table once again – and this time he wants to be better prepared for the dialogue.
On the eve of his visit to the capital of restive Balochistan, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani chaired a meeting on the law and order situation in the province and directed Law Minister Farooq H Naek to legislate vis-à-vis missing persons and make amendments to anti-terrorism laws to help counter security threats more efficiently.
The premier is embarking on a two-day visit to Quetta starting Sunday (today).
The meeting at the Prime Minister House was chaired by Gilani and attended by Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and other ministers and parliamentarians from Balochistan.
“Talks with dissident Baloch are inevitable … they should be started on a ‘now-or-never’ basis. We want to bring the dissidents on a single platform to kick off the dialogue process,” a senior lawmaker quoting the premier said.
The government has already decided to form a six-member committee to start fresh dialogue with dissident Baloch leaders while a parliamentary committee on national security is also considering enacting a time-bound, area-specific law to resolve the issue of enforced disappearances in the province.
Prime Minister Gilani also directed the interior ministry to issue instructions to law enforcement agencies within three days to stop issuing ‘rahdari’ for vehicles that have not paid custom duties.
All such permits currently issued will cease to exist and law enforcement agencies will be authorised to seize vehicles whose custom duties have not been paid.
Participants at the meeting also decided that no one will be allowed to drive vehicles with tinted glasses. The prime minister directed Malik and Raisani to meet regularly in order to review the law and order situation in Balochistan, especially in Quetta.
Malik was also directed to assess the logistic requirements, in consultation with Raisani, to enhance the capacity of law enforcement agencies.
“The prime minister will undertake a two-day visit to Balochistan from Sunday, June 3, where he will meet a cross-section of society,” said an official statement issued on Saturday.
The premier will address Staff College Quetta and meet with various political leaders at Governor House Balochistan, officials at PM House said. He will also visit Ormara Jinnah Naval Base.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MNA from Balochistan Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch was not hopeful about the premier’s visit. “I’m not optimistic that Mr. Gilani will be successful in bringing dissidents on a single platform,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2012.