Most militants ready to join mainstream, Senate panel told

Published November 9, 2018
Balochistan FC DIG says militants have rejected anti-state propaganda, need better facilities for livelihood. — AFP/File
Balochistan FC DIG says militants have rejected anti-state propaganda, need better facilities for livelihood. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Balochistan Frontier Corps DIG Brig Rizwan Baig claimed on Thursday that majority of the people [involved in militancy in the province], after having rejected anti-state elements’ propaganda, were willing to join the mainstream and, for this purpose, they needed government help for better facilities and chances of livelihood.

Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, which met at the Parliament House, Brig Rizwan, in response to a question about unrest in Balochistan, said that before the FC was deployed, there were lots of issues, but now the situation had started improving.

He said that the FC had in a bid to help the locals constructed several shops and handed them over to the locals free of cost for doing business, while several other such steps were being taken.

He said that the FC had proposed a date processing plant in Punjgur, while several development works had also been carried out, such as hospitals and schools for the locals.

Brig Rizwan said that the insurgency in Balochistan had the support of vested interests.

Briefing the committee, Frontier Corps DIG seeks more funds, helicopter for paramilitary force

He further said that the FC, despite limited capacity, had been providing security to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and pilgrims and making efforts to minimise the effect of Baloch militants’ propaganda and reject the insurgents’ anti-state narratives.

He also briefed the committee on FC’s organisational structure, achievements and budgetary provisions for enhancing its capacity as well as new and old checkposts.

In his presentation, Brig Rizwan told the committee that the FC needed a Cessna aircraft for operational exigencies such as recce, internal security operations and causality evacuation.

The committee meeting, presided over by Senator Rehman Malik and attended by, among others, senators Kulsoom Parveen, Javed Abbasi, Asad Junejo, Rana Maqbool and Shibli Faraz, appreciated the performance of the FC and observed that for countering terrorism, the measures taken by the FC and other law enforcement agencies were highly commendable.

The committee recommended early release of funds for FC’s projects and called upon the government to provide the paramilitary force modern equipment and helicopter on an urgent basis as it was in need of a helicopter to monitor large areas in Balochistan.

The committee also recommended fencing of of the Iran-Pakistan border.

The committee took notice of closure of flight operations from several cities of Balochistan and directed the Civil Aviation Authority to submit a report in this regard, as the committee members said that it was the right of the people of Balohistan to avail flight facilities in their native areas.

Banking data hacking

The committee also took notice of hacking of banking data and directed FIA cybercrime director retired Capt Mohammad Shoaib to submit a report on the issue at the next meeting. The FIA official said that his agency was in touch with the State Bank and the committee would be informed about the outcome of meetings between the two sides.

The committee chairman said that the Senate panel would be soon calling a meeting with representatives of banks, the FIA and State Bank.

Aasia Bibi case

In response to a question asked by Senator Javed Abbasi, the special secretary of the interior rejected media reports that the Christian woman recently acquitted of a blasphemy charge by the Supreme Court had left the country.

The official told the committee that Aasia Bibi was in the country and her name had not been placed on the Exit Control List nor the government wanted to do so.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

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