While the national media is still abuzz with rumours of a possible conflict between the judiciary and the military, the prime minister has sought to quash the impression of there being any clash between state institutions.
“All state institutions are working with the sole objective of serving the nation and building a strong Pakistan,” PM Raja Pervaiz Ashaf said at the inauguration of Gwadar Port Civic Centre.
Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Monday sought to counter a denunciation of the military in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on the Asghar Khan petition.
“No individual or institution has the monopoly to decide what is right or wrong in defining the ultimate national interest. It should emerge only through a consensus and all Pakistanis have a right to express their opinions,” a military statement cited him as saying.
The statement was seen by analysts as an apparent riposte to the Supreme Court orders against former army chief Gen Aslam Beg and ex-ISI chief Lt Gen Asad Durrani.
All mainstream politicians have called for complete harmony among all state institutions as, they believe, confrontation would be detrimental to the country’s future.
“We will have to understand who is interested in creating dissent and division among [state] institutions and who would gain from their division,” Premier Ashraf said.
He added that democracy has been derailed several times in Pakistan in the past and was back on track after numerous sacrifices. “Democracy is still nascent in Pakistan and may still have its weaknesses but is gaining strength,” he added.
Premier Ashraf, who is on a two-day trip, spent a busy day in Gwadar inaugurating development projects in the coastal city.
“We are passing through a phase of evolution and are trying to learn from our mistakes,” the prime minister added.
About Balochistan, the premier said no one should have any doubt about the province’s importance to the government and its place among national priorities. “Every single inch of Pakistan is important and precious for us,” he added.
Ashraf also inaugurated a fibre-optic project, worth Rs6 billion, for providing information technology facilities to the entire province.
At the inaugural ceremony, he announced that his government has started several development projects in Balochistan to address the sense of deprivation among its people and to bring them at par with the rest of the country.
The premier urged the people of Balochistan to forget the past and work for the prosperity of their province and Pakistan. “We have to forgive ourselves and we have to forgive others … We have to overlook the mistakes of our past,” he said, adding that “forgiving each other is the only way forward.”
The premier acknowledged that several acts and statements in the past had created misunderstanding between Balochistan and the centre. However, he said, all differences could be resolved with greater understanding.
He also extended an apology for all previous misunderstandings to the people of Balochistan on behalf of his PPP Co-chairman President Asif Ali Zardari. He assured them that the entire nation stood by Balochistan.
The prime minister also announced that the funds for Balochistan’s Public Sector Development Programme would be released soon.
Declaring Gwadar a ‘big city’, he announced the linking of the M-8 Motorway to the Gwadar Port, merger of Gwadar airport with the Gwadar Port Authority and the regularisation of all daily wagers at the ports and shipping department.
Meanwhile, participating in a Balochistan cabinet meeting in Gwadar on Friday, Premier Ashraf approved a plan to supply water to Gwadar from Mirani Dam.
The project, he said, would cost Rs4.5 billion, which would be jointly funded by the federal and provincial governments.
Ashraf renewed his commitment to linking Gwadar with rest of the country through a road network, and also announced to build a model township for Jiwani.
Diverting from bureaucratic tradition, all ministers, the prime minister and the chief minister sat on the floor during the meeting to observe, what some members claimed, was the tradition of Baloch and Pashtun people.
(APP With additional reporting by Muhammad Zafar in Quetta)
Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2012.