National security policy: Policy to tackle Balochistan unrest

Grappling with the province’s turmoil to be the key ingredient of new strategy.

Sumera Khan June 29, 2013
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: AFP


Quelling unrest in Balochistan will be given priority in the new National Security Policy, informed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the military establishment on Friday.

The National Security Policy, overseen by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, will be unveiled by the government in the near future.

The decision regarding Balochistan comes in the wake of the Ziarat incident in which miscreants blew up the Jinnah Residency that had been declared a national heritage.

“The federal government will support the Balochistan government in taking action against those responsible for the Ziarat incident,” said a federal government spokesman.

The policy will chalk out ways to thwart militant forces in the province; after it is formally introduced, Balochistan will witness a major change in the government’s conduct towards it, said sources.

To bring stability in the unrest-prone province, the prime minister has also solicited policy recommendations from the military, and promised to support them in achieving a long-term solution to Balochistan’s plight.

Nawaz is not in favour of deploying military contingents across the country and prefers detailed talks with military and intelligence heads to get to grips with the security situation in the country, added sources.

Law and order situation is deteriorating rapidly in Balochistan. Cases of missing persons, bomb blasts and recovery of bullet-riddled bodies are everyday affairs in the province.

A high official of cabinet confirmed the federal government’s new plans: “If the federal government would honestly implement its thoughts and plans in Balochistan aimed at restoring normalcy there, it is going to win the hearts and minds of people.”

“The Baloch are not against the federation but they want to get rid of terrorism, foreign conspiracies, slavery of Sardars, sectarian violence, massive corruption and deprivation.”

Federal government officials said that the previous government did nothing to address the grievances of Baloch people as Frontier Corps officials were engaged in some “nasty activities” owing to which locals distrust paramilitary forces in the province.

Officials also scoffed at the Pakistan People Party’s decision to restore the Balochistan Levies Force in 2010 which was disbanded and merged into the provincial police force by the Pervez Musharraf administration.

One of the military heads serving in Balochistan told The Express Tribune that Jundullah, the Balochistan Liberation Army and other militant factions have been fighting to segregate Balochistan.

The prime minister also appointed a new chief secretary for Gilgit-Baltistan. Younis Dhaga, the newly appointed chief secretary is directed by the premier to assist in the probe regarding the attack on the foreign tourists in Nanga Parbat and bring the culprits to justice.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2013.


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