QUETTA: On the first day of his two-day visit to Quetta, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif continued his recent press to highlight the Balochistan cause – proposing an All Parties Conference (APC) on the matter.
Addressing a press conference on Friday after holding meetings with some Baloch nationalist leaders, Nawaz cautioned that the Baloch leadership could soon become rebellious if the government didn’t take immediate steps to address the grievances of the province.
Nawaz called on National Party (NP) President Senator Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Vice President Mir Hasil Bizenjo and chief of his own faction of the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) Nawabzada Talal Bugti.
“Balochistan is burning and its issues need to be resolved urgently. All parties should seek out solutions to the problems faced by the province and the PML-N is ready to host this conference,” Nawaz said.
In order to bring Balochistan into the mainstream and to address its issues on a priority-basis, hosting an APC has become necessary, the PML-N chief said. “The Baloch leadership should also ponder over this offer and inform us of heir opinion so we can bring unity within our ranks. We have to learn from mistakes made in the past,” he said.
The government needs to safeguard the rights of the people of Balochistan, he further said, adding, “With bullet-riddled and mutilated bodies of Baloch youth being recovered almost on a daily-basis, the rise in targeted killings and the extra-judicial arrests of political activists, the situation in Balochistan is going from bad to worse.” Why don’t the president and prime minister take note of these issues, he questioned.
“Those who murdered Nawab Akbar Bugti are still at large. And the government has also failed to take action against those responsible for the Kharotabad incident. The administration must also tell us who is behind the targeted killing of police surgeon Dr Baqir Shah,” Nawaz stressed.
“I had advised the government that the Balochistan package would have no significant impact until some serious issues are resolved. Today, we do not see any positive impact of the much-publicised package. A democratic government should have the courage and power to pursue its agenda. But frankly, we do not see a government here speaking about Balochistan’s issues,” he told the media.
The PML-N strongly condemns the killings, whether it targets the Baloch, the Punjabi or the Hindus. “The government will face serious problems if it fails to address the long-standing grievances of the Baloch people and they end up becoming rebels,” Nawaz cautioned.
Referring to the creation of new provinces, Nawaz said his party would welcome the move as long as the provinces are carved out on an “administrative-basis”.
Censuring the agencies’ role in politics, Nawaz said, “The agencies are still playing their role in politics by asking political leaders to join parties of their choice … that must end.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2012.