Steps under consideration to engage Baloch tribals

Published July 10, 2021
Senators Sarfaraz Bugti and Anwarul Haq Kakar meet Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Friday. — PID
Senators Sarfaraz Bugti and Anwarul Haq Kakar meet Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Friday. — PID

ISLAMABAD: A few days after hinting at initiating a dialogue with the disgruntled tribesmen who have been putting up resistance in Balochistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday asked lawmakers from the province including former home minister Sarfaraz Bugti and Anwarul Haq Kakar to create an atmosphere of harmony in the province.

The senators called on the premier and discussed the political situation of the province, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister Office.

Mr Khan continued to seek suggestions and updates from the legislators on law and order in Balochistan to bring permanent peace and prosperity in the province, besides discussing in detail matters pertaining to the impact of the recent development package on the economy and the life of the Baloch people.

Editorial: Success of talks with insurgents in Balochistan hinges on state recognising where it has gone wrong

A source privy to the meeting told Dawn that the prime minister asked party legislators to create an atmosphere of harmony to appease disgruntled tribes in the province.

It is expected that the government will soon form a high-powered committee comprising legislators and senior government officials to hold talks with the unhappy tribes.

A couple of days earlier, the PM appointed Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) chief Shahzain Bugti his special assistant on reconciliation and harmony in Balochistan and tasked him with holding talks with the tribes on behalf of the government.

Mr Khan during his Monday visit to Gwadar announced that he was considering “talking to insurgents” in Balochistan, explaining that the government would never have had to worry about insurgency if attention had been paid to its progress in the past.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Monday said the government was ready to hold talks with annoyed Baloch tribes to redress their grievances and ensure durable peace and progress in the province. “But those having links with India and involved in unrest in the province will not be considered for negotiations,” he declared.

The minister explained the federal government had planned to execute 131 projects worth Rs731 billion in Balochistan while the provincial government allocated Rs180bn for development programme during the current financial year. “Balochistan is close to Imran Khan’s heart,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Arif Alvi said India was using Afghanistan’s soil for terrorism in Balochistan and other parts of the country and urged the world community to take its notice.

Tribute to Fatima Jinnah

Earlier, PM Khan paid tribute to late Fatima Jinnah, the sister of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, calling her a “Woman of Strength and Iron Will”.

“Remembering Madr-e-Millat Fatima Jinnah: A woman of strength & iron will, she was a source of strength for her brother Quaid-e-Azam, till he breathed his last,” the prime minister tweeted on Friday as the nation observed her 54th death anniversary.

Fatima Jinnah passed away on July 9, 1967 in Karachi.

The prime minister said the late Fatima had valiantly fought for her brother’s vision of Pakistan even when she was old and at a time when dictatorship had taken over.

Also paying tribute to her, Mr Chaudhry in a tweet said it was a great honor for his family that his paternal uncle Chaudhry Altaf was one of the key leaders of her caravan in West Pakistan in the 1964 elections.

The minister shared a rare group photo of Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah on the occasion of her arrival in Jhelum and said this memorable picture was his family’s asset.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2021

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