QUETTA: The chief minister of insurgency-hit Balochistan says that he cannot rule out the presence of Islamic State (IS) militants in the province.
In an exclusive interview with DawnNews on Wednesday, Chief Minister Dr Malik Baloch said that religious extremism and fanaticism had risen in the province during last three decades.
Dr Malik said religious fanatics had penetrated the Baloch society in the aftermath of the USSR's invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan.
“I cannot rule out presence of IS or any militant group in Balochistan,” he said when asked about the reports of presence of the extremist militant group in Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest and resource-rich province.
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Regarding missing persons' issue, the chief minister said that his government was determined and its top priority was to recover the missing persons.
He, however, admitted that so far “no considerable progress has been made with regard to missing persons.”
Dr Baloch said that prior to the establishment of his government, he had apprised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over the issue of missing persons.
“We have recovered eight missing persons from Turbat last week,” he said when asked about his government's efforts to trace the Baloch political workers.
Talking about the recovery of mutilated dead bodies in Turbat and other areas of Makran belt, he said the government had taken serious notice of the issue.
When asked about talks with disgruntled Baloch leadership, the chief minister underlined the need for negotiated settlements of issues relating to Balochistan. “I stand for addressing all issues through political means,” he said.
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Dr Malik did clarify that personally he had not held meetings with any exiled Baloch leader including Brahamdagh Bugti or Harbiyar Marri. He also reiterated that an all-party conference (APC) would be organised to sort out issues relating to Balochistan.
The chief minister stated that Balochistan faced four important issues which are Baloch insurgency, sectarianism, militant groups and tribal conflicts. He said good governance and transparency was the solution to all of these “complicated issues”.
Dr Malik said that Levies (tribal police force) was merged into police in four districts of Makran to ensure law and order situation the province. He added the decision was part of ongoing reforms in police force so that they could discharge their duties in the best possible manner.
The chief minister of Balochistan said division of the proscribed National Awami Party(NAP) was a major blow to smaller nationalist movements in the country.
He said that smaller nationalities need unity to acquire their rights.