A Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senator in Balochistan has disclosed that Baloch insurgents are willing to negotiate with the government about the possibility of joining the federal framework.
While talking to the media here on Monday, Senator Haji Lashkari Raisani said that he was approached by a Baloch separatist leader – known to be involved in insurgency in the province – about entering the political mainstream.
“A separatist group, waging insurgency in Balochistan, contacted me and agreed to work out a peaceful struggle within the framework of Pakistan,” Lashkari told The Express Tribune, after speaking to the media.
Although the PPP Senator declined to name the Baloch leader, he said: “[It is] the leader who is in self-exile and is leading an insurgent group in Balochistan”. He also categorically stated that those who contacted him were not involved in targeted killings or the killing of innocent people.
“They did not impose any conditions or place any demand but expressed their willingness to continue their struggle within the framework of the Constitution,” said Raisani, who is also the former Balochistan PPP president.
The senator said that he sees the breakthrough as a major initiative that will help in normalising the situation in Balochistan. He added that he would hold a meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani soon to further discuss the matter.
“If this development is successful, other separatist leaders will also join the negotiations,” he predicted.
Balochistan is currently facing the fifth insurgency since Pakistan has come into being. Targeted killings and attacks on security forces and economic installations have intensified in the province after the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2006.
The government has repeatedly made claims of launching a reconciliation process in the province, but no such move has been substantially initiated.
Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Raisani, in a statement, welcomed the development and said it bode well for the future of Balochistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2011.
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