ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Tuesday that it was his government’s sincere intention to create an enabling environment for the initiation of a dialogue with the disgruntled leadership of Balochistan.
He said this while chairing a high-level consultative meeting on the issue of missing persons and law and order situation in Balochistan with stakeholders.
For the implementation of reforms, he said a Cabinet Committee under the chairmanship of Senator Mian Raza Rabbani had been constituted. The committee was mandated to analyse the needs of Balochistan and to undertake a threadbare review of the situation and come up with practical recommendations to bring the people of Balochistan into the national mainstream with a view to reducing their sense of deprivation.
The Prime Minister said that many cases of political workers not involved in heinous crimes were withdrawn by the government and a number of missing persons were reunited with their families.
The Army was withdrawn and replaced by Frontier Constabulary. Directions were issued to IG FC Balochistan to seek guidance and instructions from the Chief Minister Balochistan on the issues of internal security of the province, he added. He said the demand of Balochistan for increase in its share in the NFC Award was also met. The share of Balochistan in the divisible pool was raised from 5.1 percent to 9.09 percent, while an amount of one billion rupees was allocated for the rehabilitation of IDPs from Dera Bugti. Additionally, an amount of Rs 120 million was also paid to the IDPs of Maula Bund Area.
The Prime Minister also constituted a six-member committee with equal representation from federal and provincial governments to resolve missing persons issue and work towards restoration of law and order situation in Balochistan. The committee will report to Prime Minister on a weekly basis.
The meeting at the PM House was attended by Balochistan’s Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi and Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, federal ministers, Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvaiz Kayani and Director General ISI Lt-General Muhammad Zaheer-ul-Islam. Director General Intelligence Bureau Aftab Sultan and Inspector General, Balochistan Karar Hussain also attended the meeting.
Later, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira briefed the media about the decisions taken at that high level meeting. According to him, it was a consultative meeting of all the stakeholders of Balochistan encompassing administrative, political, financial, constitutional, development and operational angles of the Balochistan problem.
He said the meeting developed consensus that ‘DRA’ mechanism would be adopted to resolve the issue. He explained that dialogue, Rule of Law and Provincial Autonomy would be the policy to restore peace and development in Balochistan.
“At first stage, law and order situation in urban areas of the province will be improved and Quetta will be the pilot project,” Kaira said. Quoting example of Swat, Kaira said Quetta would be awarded the same kind of political ownership to restore law and order.
To achieve the desired results in Balochistan, Prime Minister announced a two-fold strategy. Ministry of Interior was directed to improve investigation, prosecution, evidence acts and increase the number of courts in the province.
Besides, the anti-smuggling powers of Frontier Constabulary (FC) had been withdrawn. The FC was put under direct command of Chief Minister Balochistan. There future course of action would be determined by the chief minister. However, their primary task would be the security of transport on main highways in the province, Karia said.
Kaira said the amount of funds released to Balochistan under the divisible pool were also reviewed and new incentives were announced. Ministry of Finance will provide financial support to Provincial Government of Balochistan for the on-going schemes.
Prime Minister directed the Ministry of Finance to release the amount of subsidy which was given on tubewells. Earlier, the amount of subsidy was jointly given by federal government, provincial government and Wapda.
The federal government also released funds for completion of Ratodero-Gwadar link road. The project was stopped due to shortage of funds. Similarly, the cost of first phase of Kachhi Canal Project would be met by the federal government.
In the next federal budget, a provision would be incorporated which would allow the federal government to release funds for two out of nine dams.
The Prime Minister also approved a proposal to enhance financial support in term of salaries for 5000 employed youths of Balochistan from three year to five years.
The federal government would remove all deficiencies involved in the fulfilment of employment quota in different federal government departments by relaxing rules.
He said Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani assured the participants of the meeting that no army personnel or official of Frontier Constabulary would be involved in any kind of operation in Balochistan.
Kaira maintained that COAS also admitted that army operation was not a durable solution to Balochistan problem and it required a political solution. General Kayani appreciated the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan Package.
The Army Chief also assured the participants that army would provide all sort of security to international investors who were involved in mineral activities like Reko Diq Project.
The ministers and advisors included Changez Khan Jamali, Minister for Science and Technology, Farooq H. Naek, Minister for Law and Justice, Mir Israrullah Zehri, Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sardar Umer Gorgeij, Minister for Postal Services, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Advisor to PM on Human Rights, Senator Raza Rabbani, Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, Minister for Defence, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Finance, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Syed Khursheed Shah, Minister for Religious Affairs.
APP adds: The meeting at the PM House was attended by Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi and Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, federal ministers, Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Director General ISI Lt. General Muhammad Zaheer-ul-Islam.
Director General Intelligence Bureau Aftab Sultan and Inspector General, Balochistan Karar Hussain also attended the meeting.
The ministers and advisors, who attended the meeting, included Changez Khan Jamali, Minister for Science and Technology, Farooq H. Naek, Minister for Law and Justice, Mir Israrullah Zehri, Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sardar Umer Gorgeij, Minister for Postal Services, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Advisor to Prime Minister on Human Rights, Senator Raza Rabbani, Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, Minister for Defence, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Finance, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Syed Khursheed Shah, Minister for Religious Affairs.
The Prime Minister said the previous governments ignored Balochistan and the province was deprived of its rightful financial share.
Gilani said the government had the intention to create a conducive environment for dialogue with the leadership of Balochistan.
He said the government had lifted restriction on the recruitment of candidates who have domicile of Balochistan, in federal departments.
Efforts were also made to provide educational opportunities to intelligent students of the province in the best educational institutions of the country, he said, adding, “We want to bring stability and prosperity in Balochistan and in consultation with the leadership of Balochistan, we will implement the remaining package for the province.”
The Prime Minister expressed the hope that the issues of the people of Balochistan would be resolved with collective wisdom.
On this occasion, the Chief Secretary Balochistan gave a detailed briefing on the issues of the province.