QUETTA: Over 200 suspected Baloch militants, including seven commanders of different banned separatist organisations, laid down their weapons on Monday to Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri and announced that they had parted ways with their organisations and now joined mainstream politics to serve the country and the people.

The commanders and militants, who laid down their weapons at a ceremony held at the Chief Minister Secretariat, returned from Afghanistan after their long stay there where they had been working for different banned outfits.

A majority of these commanders and militants had been living in Nimroz province of Afghanistan.

In all, 202 militants attended the ceremony. Of these militants, 127 had surrendered themselves to security forces in different areas over the past six months.

On Monday, the militants and commanders received cheques for the second instalment of compensation announced by the provincial government for the militants laying down their arms under the government’s amnesty scheme named Pur-Amn Balochistan.

“Over 800 militants of different banned outfits have surrendered themselves since the provincial government announced its Pur-Amn Balochistan Policy in the province,” a senior official of the provincial government told Dawn, adding that they belonged to different Baloch tribes, including Marri, Bugti, Muhammad Hasni and Mengal.

He said that soon more militants and commanders would return to Pakistan. The militants and their commanders handed over their weapons to the chief minister in the presence of tribal chieftains Nawab Jangez Khan Marri, Nawab Muhammad Khan Shahwani, Nawab Ayaz Khan Jogezai, Sardar Aslam Bizenjo, Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti and Sheikh Jaffar Khan Mandokhel. Nawab Zehri and tribal elders handed over compensation cheques to 202 militants and their commanders.

Published in Dawn November 8th, 2016