Lawmakers are all set to voice their protests in the parliament as the National Assembly resumes its debate on disturbances in Balochistan, which they feel “is a direct threat to national sovereignty.”
“There is a long list of discrepancies not addressed yet despite the prime minister’s renewed assurances to hold talks with disgruntled Baloch leaders,” Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Mir Lashkari Raisani said.
Raisani said 19 key proposals could not be implemented even 27 months after the announcement of the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan (AHB) package. To show his displeasure, he said “I will not accept my medal of distinction on March 23.”
President Asif Ali Zardari nominated Lashkar Raisani for the medal of distinction last year. Lashkari, who is the younger brother of Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Aslam Raisani, has already resigned as the president of PPP-Balochistan in protest over the province’s deplorable law and order situation. “The issue of Balochistan is now also being taken up by the US Foreign Affairs Committee.”
PPP MNA Nasir Ali Shah from Quetta said he was on the verge of resigning from the national assembly. “Despite constant reassurances, nothing is being done to implement the package announced by the federal government. I’m thinking of quitting the national assembly as Prime Minister Gilani has failed to fulfill his promise made to me when I staged a sit-in outside the parliament.”
Senator Humayun Khan Mandokhel, who also staged a sit-in last month, recalled that a special parliamentary committee, formed to address violence in Karachi and Balochistan, could not visit Quetta despite a lapse of four months. The province’s home department informed Mandokhel that over 1,550 people were killed in 1,756 incidents over a span of five years. Over 1, 476 attacks have taken place on government offices, which include 36 bomb attacks, 68 explosions, 134 attacks on gas pipelines, 116 attacks on railways tracks, and 20 on electricity installations during the year. “Over 291 people were kidnapped in 2011,” he added.
“The solution to Balochistan’s problems should be found out by Pakistan; no other country has the right to discuss our issues,” Pakistan Muslim League MNA Abdul Qadir Baloch said.
Key proposals which remain unaddressed include the return of Baloch exiled leaders not involved in terrorism, implementation of assembly resolutions, a judicial commission and fact-finding mission to investigate the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti and other political leaders, and a special quota in HEC scholarships amongst others.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2012.