Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has said that his administration will hold dialogue with all Baloch insurgent groups after Eidul Fitr. “A committee of the Balochistan Assembly will be formed for this purpose,” he told legislators on Monday. “The committee will make efforts to bring the insurgents back to the negotiating table.”
The chief minister also disclosed that he has ordered that all ‘unnecessary’ security checkpoints be removed from across the province. “These checkpoints have failed to stop violence in the province,” he said referring to the recent upsurge in sectarian and militant violence.
Allegations are rife that police stations in Balochistan are ‘auctioned to the highest bidders’. The chief minister didn’t deny the allegations and instead said that he would discuss the matter with the provincial police chief.
Dr Baloch promised that his administration would take stern action against law-breakers, particularly against any policeman found involved in criminal activities.
Referring to the chronic energy crisis, he said it was necessary to protect the electricity pylons to mitigate blackouts in the province. Earlier this month, saboteurs dynamited two high-power transmission lines, plunging 17 districts of the province into darkness.
“The Khuzdar-Dadu transmission line will be completed in the next two months which will help improve supplies to some parts of central Balochistan,” he said.
The chief minister revealed that he had recently met with the Iranian ambassador in Islamabad who said that his country was willing to export 1,000 megawatts at the rate of Rs9 per unit. “A committee has already been formed to study the possible import of electricity from Iran,” he added.
Leader of the Opposition Maulana Abdul Wasey said that rampant power outages have already destroyed the agriculture sector. He also deplored the volatile law and order situation in the province where, according to him, security forces were raiding the houses of law-abiding citizens instead of arresting criminals.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2013.