While the security forces continue to bear the brunt of the blame for enforced disappearances and absence of fundamental human rights in Balochistan, political parties are grappling to set aside their differences for an all-inclusive convention on the issue.
Senior PML-N spokesman, Senator Pervez Rasheed rubbished the notion that his party chief Nawaz Sharif’s call for an All Parties Conference (APC) has been shelved due to rumours of pressure from the army.
“This is a ridiculous perception. The APC on Balochistan is still on the cards.” Rasheed admitted the idea had been put on the back burner, but was quick to assert it was by no means abandoned and the party was only waiting for the “appropriate” time.
Choosing his words carefully, Rasheed refrained from singling other parties out. He, however, did imply that the political tussle between his and the ruling party was a hindrance. He also hinted that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan’s continuous potshots at PML-N was not conducive to political cordiality.
He stressed there is no point of the conference if each and every political party is not present. “We want all the parties to sit together and come to a negotiated settlement so that unanimous decisions can be taken to resolve the Balochistan crisis.”
Rasheed sees ongoing hearings in the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the subject of missing persons as another reason for the APC’s delay. He said his party wants to let the judiciary take its course so they can put forward more informed suggestions.
The PML-N senator said lawyers were also expected to contribute in efforts to restore peace and order in the restive province. “We have information that a top body of lawyers plans to hold a conference on the Balochistan issue in the next few weeks. We (PML-N) want to wait for the outcome of this conference.”
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has been continuously criticising security agencies for failing to address the issue and has also moved a resolution in the National Assembly regarding missing persons.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2012.