QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has welcomed the statement of Brahmdagh Bugti, chief of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP), in which the self-exiled leader expressed willingness to hold talks with the government.

Terming it a breakthrough, the chief minister said on Thursday that Mr Bugti’s decision to hold talks with the government was a good omen because it would help to resolve the Balochistan issue politically.

Dr Baloch said that from the beginning he had been trying to ind a political solution of the problem.

He said a grand jirga would soon be sent abroad for initiating talks with the exiled Baloch leaders, including Mr Bugti and the Khan of Kalat.

“The grand jirga will comprise influential chieftains of the Baloch, Pakhtun, Hazara and all other tribes besides political leaders,” he said.

The chief minister said that both the political and military leaderships of the country wanted to resolve the Balochistan issue through dialogue and put the province on the path of development and prosperity.

“The military and civilian leaderships are on the same page on this issue,” he said.

Dr Baloch claimed that the Balochistan government did have the mandate to initiate negotiations with the exiled leaders, saying his government was ready to hold talks with any estranged leader.

“We are political people and believe in democracy. We want to resolve all issues in a democratic way.”

The chief minister said that political parties with roots in the masses should come forward and play their role in restoring peace in the province.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2015

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