Insurgents alone do not represent Balochistan: Qamar

Published: August 12, 2012
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Cabinet’s special committee on Balochistan meets political, religious leaders on trip to Quetta.

Cabinet’s special committee on Balochistan meets political, religious leaders on trip to Quetta.

Cabinet’s special committee on Balochistan meets political, religious leaders on trip to Quetta. Defence Minister Syed Naveed Qamar chairs a meeting of the special committee of the cabinet in Quetta. PHOTO: APP
QUETTA: 

Defence Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, who is heading the special cabinet committee on Balochistan, said that a handful of armed insurgents who have taken positions on mountains do not represent the entire province.

“Our committee is approaching all other stakeholders, including nationalist leaders, to find an amicable solution to the festering issue,” Qamar told journalists after interactions with political leaders at the Chief Minister Secretariat on Saturday.

“We believe in dialogue. We do not mind visiting all those political and nationalist leaders – the genuine representatives of Balochistan – who did not show up today,” he added.

Other members of the committee, including Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Law Minister Farooq H Naek, Postal Services Minister Umer Gorgaij and the minister for science and technology, also attended the meeting.

“Though the Balochistan issue is complex, we are not hopeless,” Qamar said. He went on to add that a handful of disgruntled Baloch were not the real issue of Balochistan.

Referring to the fluid security situation in the province where highway robberies, kidnapping for ransom and targeted killings are rampant, Qamar said the federal government was determined to restore normalcy.

“We are aware of the injustices committed to Balochistan in the past. And we are here to identify the areas where we can work to heal the wounds with our sincere efforts to the province that belongs to Pakistan,” he added.

Qamar conceded that little had been done in the past for the people of Balochistan, but added that the PPP-led government was determined to win the hearts and minds of the disillusioned Baloch people.

He added that committees alone could not rectify the wrongs done to the Balochistan people over the last 60 years. “But we are still hopeful that things would be settled with the passage of time,” he said.

Another delegation, including JUI-F, BNP-Awami, Pashtunkhwa Mili Awami Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, met the cabinet committee and gave suggestions for steering the province out of the current mess.

Two mainstream Baloch nationalist parties boycotted the committee’s meeting claiming that such bodies were usually toothless.

Dr Malik of the National Party and Dr Jehanzeb of the Balochistan National Party called for creating an environment conducive for talks with the stakeholders.

Dr Jehanzeb claimed that the committee was consulting the non-Baloch in order to hoodwink the people. They demanded resolving the issue of missing persons.

JUI-F parliamentary leader in the Balochistan Assembly Maulana Abdul Wasay said they had no expectations from the special committee of the federal government on Balochistan. “Without accepting the constitutional rights of Balochistan its issue cannot be resolved,” he told media persons after meeting the committee.

Slogan of separation

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told the media that the central government was making serious efforts to address the grievances of Balochistan.

He recalled an apology from President Asif Zardari to the people of the province in his first address to the Parliament for the excesses of the past.

“The Cabinet committee’s visit to Quetta will focus on finding a durable solution to the Balochistan issue,” he added. He said the issue of provincial autonomy has been resolved but some people were shouting the slogans of an “independent Balochistan” which would not be tolerated.

The committee will present its interim report to the Cabinet on August 15.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • non-sense
    Aug 12, 2012 - 12:03PM

    Can’t our armed forces go to mountain too and bring them justice?

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  • Salma
    Aug 12, 2012 - 2:00PM

    Naveed and Qaira – this is not the point as to how many represent what?- if it is then go for referendum and plz d’on’t waste our time. Speaking the language of establishment u won’t get any far – what a wasted opportunity.

    Btw It’s our tradition that those who are aggrieved with so we visit them don’t call them to come and meet us – so you didn’t even get the basics right –
    .

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  • Nazir Ahmed
    Aug 12, 2012 - 3:08PM

    The terrorist groups can be neutarlised in very short time if Islamabad decideds to do so. Just make the district governments effective and place the Army at strategic places in disturbed areas to give support to district governments aginst terrorists. Enough funds are available with the provincial government to do so. Recently members of provincial assembly has been allocated 25 crores each apart from earlier allocations. This amount if spent to meet basic needs of sparsely populated disturbed areas, can bring overnight change in the attitudes of population.

    The trouble is confined to some pockets in Baluch inhabited areas. Pakhtun areas are not effected and were never affected during unrest in the past. The so called Sardars, who want to maintain status quo are responsible for present situation. There is need to impose Governor’s rule to reach out to the people in disturbed areas through the district governments.

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  • Abbas
    Aug 12, 2012 - 11:51PM

    @Nazeer Ahmad: Your comments reflect the traditional mindset which has brought Balochistan to this juncture. Army has created all the problems and you want more of Army to help district governments. Its simply senseless and manifests ignorance about the nature and dynamics of Balochistan conflict.

    The problem in Balochistan is a result of 65 years of tyranny and 5 military operations. If the Baloch were provided with the right to rule just like other ethnicity of Pakistan then today there would have been no problem in Balochistan. Its the time to Mend fences with Baloch people and it’s really sad to hear anyone talking about more military involvement. This simply won’t help and will result in losing the last opportunity available to keep Balochistan

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  • Aug 13, 2012 - 12:11AM

    I bet BLA would get more votes in Quetta, if people have to choose from BLA and Zardari!

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  • Nazir Ahmed
    Aug 13, 2012 - 11:43AM

    @Abbas:
    My comments are based on my interaction with the people during over eight years spent in Baluchistan in different capacities and different intervals extensively travelling through the length and breadth of the Province. I have to ask you and all those people who share your point of view, who is ruling the Province for last over four years? Who is sitting in the provincial assembly of Baluchistan for all these years? Who is stopping the Assembly Members to spent Rs 25 Crores given to each member recently in addition to earlier allocations to spend this amount on meeting basic needs of the people? Who has reverted the decision on status of ‘A’ and ‘B’ areas to restore levis’ system and its consequences?
    You have completely missed my main point i.e. to make the district governments under the LG Ordinance 2001 functional, giving people the resources and responsibility to meet their essential needs. And if some terrorist group tries to stop that process, have the Army available to deal with them. I have talked of locating the Army at suitable places to deal with the terrorist threats if required. Just placing the Army at suitable places will act as deterrent to reduce the need of its actual use. This is the reason there was lots of hue and cry against the plan of establishing small cantonments at various places in the vast, sparsely populated Baluch inhabited areas of the Province. How do you otherwise confront the terrorists if you do not want the Army’s presence in the area?
    About five military operations that is another falsifies story. I was part of one in 1973-74. Facts are far different than the perceptions. This space does not allow giving details.

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  • A J Khan
    Aug 13, 2012 - 12:16PM

    The contention of Dr Jehanzeb that the committee was consulting the non-Baloch in order to hoodwink the people. The fact of the matter is Pashtuns forms a very sizable population of Balochistan. They donot need blessings of the Baloch leadership. They are a complete entity on its own. Balochistan is not about Balochs only. As a matter of fact it is a misnomer.
    If Pashtuns are not to be consulted, then it should be called Baloch problem and not Balochistan problem.

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  • Nazir Ahmed
    Aug 13, 2012 - 5:02PM

    @A J Khan:

    “it should be called Baloch problem and not Balochistan problem.”

    I would go a step further. In 1948, it was problem of one person, Prince Abdul Karim against his brother’s decision to join Pakistan. In 1973-74 it was problem of Khair Bux Marri and who did not and still does not recognise Pakistan. He was then joined by Atta Ullah Mengal to create unrest in area around Wadh. Under Akbar Bugti, as Commander in Chief , the BLA got busy in disrupting communications and energy supply networks few years back but that also, affected only one twentieth part of the Province at best.
    The egalitarian society of Pukhtun area of baluchistan Province was never involved or affected by unrest. Nor were the large parts of Chaghi, Kharan, Mekran and the coastal areas affected during the past. I would say
    ” it is problem of some Baluch individuals and not even a Baluch problem”
    .
    Our actual ‘Problem’ is that Islamabad has always mishandled the situation and pandered to the wishes of few individuals rather than creating effective governance system responsive to common people’s needs.

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  • Tufan Agha
    Aug 13, 2012 - 5:35PM

    We stand with Pakistan, stand by Pakistan, live for Pakistan and can go to any limits to which the enemy of the people of Pakistan can go.

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  • Aug 14, 2012 - 9:27AM

    Pakistan is in a state of denial on the real issues of Balochistan; this is the root cause of all problems.

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