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PM approves Balochistan govt dialogue with armed groups

Updated August 13, 2013
Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch had earlier announced holding of talks with all militant groups in the province. -File Photo
Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch had earlier announced holding of talks with all militant groups in the province. -File Photo

QUETTA: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has given the green signal to the coalition government in Balochistan to initiate meaningful negotiations with all armed groups in the province which has been plagued by sectarian violence and an insurgency.

Sources in Chief Minister Balochistan’s Secretariat told Dawn.com that Nawaz Sharif has favored the offer of CM Dr Abdul Malik Baloch for holding talks with all armed groups to find an amicable solution to issues relating to the province.

After the prime minister’s endorsement, the provincial government has decided to form a high level reconciliation and negotiation committee comprising seasoned Baloch, Pashtun and Sindhi leaders to initiate dialogue with Baloch separatists.

The high-powered committee would comprise of tribal elites in and out of the Balochistan Assembly.

“The committee is likely to be formed in the fast approaching session of the assembly,” a lawmaker who requested not to be named told Dawn.com.

Governor Balochistan Muhammad Khan Achakzai has convened the provincial assembly session on August 16 to discuss the worsening law and order situation in the province.

“Some Sindhi nationalists’ leaders would also be included in the committee,” he said.

Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch announced holding of talks with all militant groups in the province before Eid ul Fitar during the assembly session.

“We would hold dialogue with all militant groups, whether Balochs or sectarian,” Dr. Baloch announced on the floor of the house.

Members of the committee would hold dialogue with exiled- Baloch leaders including Hairbyar Marri, Barahamdagh Bugti, Khan of Kalat and Mir Javed Mengal for political solution to issues relating to the province.

“We would take confidence building measures to bring our angry brothers to the negotiating table,” the lawmaker said.

He said all out efforts would be made for the recovery of missing persons, an end to recovery of dead bodies and internally displaced persons from Dera Bugti and Kohlu would be resettled in their own districts.

Quetta and other parts of Balochistan have witnessed a sharp rise in suicide bombings, target killings and explosions.

A suicide bomber killed 30 people including Deputy Police Chief of Quetta Fayyaz Sumbal and other senior police officers on August 8th.

Armed militants gunned down 11 people when they opened fire at the convoy of former provincial minister Ali Madad Jattak at Jamia Farooqia. Most of the victims were people who were making their way to the mosque to offer Eid prayers.

Repeated incidents of violence have forced the present government to accelerate the process of dialogue with militant groups in Balochistan.