QUETTA: The Balochistan authorities have written a letter to the federal government seeking early repatriation of all Afghan refugees.
“The provincial government has written a letter to the centre asking it to send back the Afghan refugees as early as possible,” Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch said during the media talk at the Balochistan Assembly on Friday.
Pakistan’s Scapegoating of Afghans
“It’s not in my knowledge that the [Afghan] refugees are asking for a two-year extension but I am not in favour of their stay here anymore,” he added.
Answering a question about the Murree deal, Dr Malik said that the Murree accord is not an issue for him and for media it’s an issue, adding, “Whatever the central leadership decides I will accept it.”
Earlier in the assembly session, MPA of Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen Agha Muhammad Raza, while talking on a point of order, said thousands of Zaireen (pilgrims) are coming from across the country to visit Iran but they are being stopped in Qila Saifullah and Dera Allah Yar because of not holding an NOC (no-objection certificate).
Despite Bugti, a peaceful Balochistan will remain a distant dream
“Every year in the month of Moharram and Safar the Zaireen come for a visit to Iran but every year they face difficulties,” he pointed out.
The minister informed the house that around 6,000 Zaireen visit Iran in these two months and there are just three to four FIA officials who check them in the bordering town of Taftan which is not fair with the pilgrims. “The government should increase the number of the duty officials.”
Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said the provincial government made the policy in 2014 which said Zaireen do not need an NOC.
Meanwhile, the Balochistan assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution on trade between Pakistan and Iran, demanding elimination of the condition of health export certificate and allowing the samples of Pakistani rice to be examined in Zahedan city of Iran.
Crossing the border : Over 57,000 Afghan refugees repatriated
Acting speaker Abdul Qudus Bizinjo presided over the session.
Tabling the resolution, Agha Liaquat said the condition of health export certificate confirmation from Iran should be lifted, adding that there should be equal fees for a business visa in this regard.
“The trade of rice gives the province good earnings but unfortunately some people want to sabotage this business and close the factories in Balochistan,” he added.
However, Sheikh Jafar Khan Mandokhel said that the trade with Iran is affecting our markets. They charge tax on our grains, he said, adding, “There should be some tax imposed on the Iranian items as well.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2015.
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