Pledging to bring to an end the contentious pick, kill and dump incidents across Balochistan, newly-elected Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf – after summoning a special meeting – has directed the law ministry to expedite the process of drafting a law to address the issue of enforced disappearances blamed on secret agencies.
Ashraf directed Law Minister Farooq H Naek to hold an exclusive meeting to discuss the legal implications of dealing with the issue of missing persons. His directions came at a time when such incidents are on the rise in Balochistan — with over 203 bullet-riddled bodies surfacing in 2011 as opposed to the 103 found a year before.
“Bringing stability and prosperity in Balochistan would remain the top priority of my government,” pledged the premier while chairing a high-level meeting on Balochistan.
The prime minister revealed that he had invited the Baloch leadership for a dialogue to address their all grievances within the framework of the federation. He announced that he will soon visit Balochistan with a view to find out an acceptable solution of the problem after holding detailed discussion with all the stake holders.
“We have invited disgruntled Baloch leaders to start dialogue with the government to resolve the crisis at the earliest.”
Ashraf also called to deliberate upon the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan package, its development issues and the general law and order situation of the province.
“Primacy of political engagement is the only option to solve the Baloch issue,” he said while reaffirming the incumbent government’s commitment to follow a multi-pronged strategy to address the grievances of the Baloch people and end their sense of alienation.
Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee on national security is also preparing its recommendations to resolve the issue of missing persons — particularly working on a strategy to keep a check on intelligence agencies.
The prime minister asserted that this “self-styled independence” of the federal agencies is being kept under a check. “Federal agencies should not act independently. They should provide assistance to the provincial government as and when required.” The FC was also directed to seek guidance and instructions from the chief minister on the issues of internal security of the province.
Following the premier’s directives, Naek will convene meeting with the chief secretary of Balochistan, secretaries of defence, interior, law and justice, inspector generals of police and frontier corps, director general of the Intelligence Bureau and head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Balochistan Wing on Tuesday (today).
Premier Ashraf further revealed that the government has sanctioned 3,000 posts of the federal Levies forces for maintenance of law and order duties and highway security in Balochistan.
“We are also committed to providing funds worth Rs2 billion for the purchase of arms ammunition and communication equipments required by the police and Levies. The menace of kidnapping for ransom also needs to be curbed with iron hand,” he said.
With regards to the development of the province, the prime minister directed the Ministry of Finance and planning commission to prioritise the projects in Balochistan which have a direct bearing on the people of the province. He said that the road leading from Gawadar to Rato Dero, Kacchi Canal, RCD Highway and Solar Tube Well will be given due consideration.
Insisting that the government is committed to uplifting the province, the premier announced that the federal government has committed 6,000 scholarships for the youth of the province for higher studies within the country and abroad.
“We have also allocated Rs1 billion for the rehabilitation of IDPs of district Dera Bugti.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2012.
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