QUETTA: Interior Minister Rehman Malik came under heavy criticism on Wednesday’s session of the Balochistan Assembly over his statements regarding unregistered religious seminaries. The prime minister was also criticised, with members expressing fears that despite 2012 being labelled the year of Balochistan, it may prove to be the worst one yet.
Senior Provincial Minister Maulana Abdul Wasey of the Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam (JUI-F) lashed out at Malik for his statements that unregistered religious seminaries will be demolished.
“No one is happy with Rehman Malik and it seems he has been imposed forcibly on us as the interior minister against the will of the people,” he said and went on to claim that Malik was an ‘agent of Israel, America or England’.
“Whenever there is a process underway for religious harmony and unity, Mr Malik is there to sabotage the process. He has sabotaged the reconciliation process in Balochistan by his undesirable statements,” Wasay said, adding that Malik’s intention was ‘to sabotage the peace process in the region’.
The JUI-F leader said that democracy could not be strengthened in Pakistan if ‘dubious characters’ like Rehman Malik exist.
“The JUI-F always struggled for bringing the nationalists on one platform and will do so in future.”
Wasay also took a swipe at the Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s statement that 2012 will be declared the year of Balochistan. “No one should dream or be involved in wishful thinking that Balochistan in 2012 will be better because considering the situation it seems the 2012 will be the worst year,” he observed.
Development projects in Balochistan
The National Highway Authority (NHA) also came under fire in the Balochistan Assembly on Wednesday. The authority was criticised for not releasing funds for the completion of highways across the province. “The federal government released merely Rs7 billion out of Rs34 billion earmarked for highways in Balochistan. And it seems no funds will be released in 2012,” Maulana Wasay predicted.
Habibur Rehman Mohammad Hasani, a Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) backed Senior Minister, alleged that the NHA had been diverting funds away from Balochistan for projects elsewhere on one pretext or another.
“The NHA has diverted the funds allocated for Balochistan to Multan on the pretext of law and order situation,” he alleged. He added that areas of Mastung and Chaman were stable and peaceful and questioned why the NHA did not complete construction in those areas.
Begum Shama Parveen Magsi of the PML-Q said there was much that needed to be done in Balochistan, particularly construction of highways. “Many districts of Balochistan are deprived of even basic facilities like telephone connections,” she said.
Murder of Hafiz Qamar condemned
The Balochistan Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the recent killing of Hafiz Qamar in Karachi and demanded of the Sindh government to launch a transparent investigation into the matter.
JUI-F Minister Maulvi Mohammad Sarwar tabled a resolution in this regard.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2011.