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Rebel sardars ‘to be fixed’: Musharraf praises role of agencies, criticises media

Published Jul 21, 2006 12:00am

ISLAMABAD, July 20: President Gen Pervez Musharraf said on Thursvday the government was determined to re-establish its writ by force and ‘fix’ the oppressive sardars in Balochistan.

“We will protect national installations in Balochistan at all costs and ensure full security to the development activities and to foreign investors there,” he said in an address to the nation.

The president paid glowing tribute to security and intelligence agencies for establishing peace to carry out development works in the province.

He criticised the media for ‘misrepresenting the facts’. “But the bottom line is that the writ of the state will have to be established in Balochistan, Wana, etc. And I assure you that soon there will be peace in that province,” he promised.

The president said that for 40 years three Baloch sardars, who were opposed to development and perpetrating atrocities on their tribes, had been pampered unjustifiably in the name of political settlement, “but no more”.

He insisted that the operation against the ‘rebellious’ sardars was being conducted by the Levies and Frontier Constabulary and not by the army, though some 1,000 armymen were assisting the security forces.

A Baloch Constabulary was being raised, he announced.

He said all the Bugti commanders had surrendered and the so-called Nawab Akbar Bugti was on the run, adding that of the total 77 sardars in Balochistan only three — Bugti, Marri and Mengal — were opposing the government.

Gen Musharraf said over 16,000 sub-tribes of Bugti — Rahejas, Kalpars, Masouri — had returned to Dera Bugti after years of repression by sardars led by Nawab Bugti. “But I would not call him a Nawab as he is on the run”.

He said the government had no option but to take serious action in Balochistan where militants even possessed surface-to-air missiles and modern rocket launchers.

“But I can say with full authority that terrorism and anti-Pakistan activities have been drastically reduced following the government’s decision to take action against them.

“How could we keep quiet when bomb blasts became a daily routine and people are targeting national installations, like railway tracks and government buildings?” he asked.

He was hopeful that the economic deprivation in Balochistan would subside with the commissioning of over Rs130 billion development projects there.

Gen Musharraf said the situation in North and South Waziristan was also returning to normalcy after the government’s decision that no compromise would be made with anti-social and anti-Pakistan elements.

He stressed the need for eliminating extremism and warned people to be wary of the elements preaching hatred in society.

The president outlined short-term, mid-term and long-term strategies to overcome the power crisis, restrict inflation, reduce poverty and end unemployment.

He said the government would meet all requirements of the armed forces.

He said two new power plants would start producing 300megawatts of electricity by March 2007. The setting up of gas turbines and installation of power plants by the KESC would help generate 550MW by April 2007. Another power plant at Lakhra would start producing 100MW besides 50MW of power to be managed through wind.

“Through our mid-term strategy, 45 power plants will be set up which will produce 8,600MW of electricity and this job will be done during 2008-2010,” he said.

In the long term, he said, 31 projects would be executed to produce 19,150MW of hydel and nuclear power.

He regretted that price hike was causing problems for people. “I admit inflation has in-creased but this is due to an upsurge in development,” he said, referring to the substantial rise in manufacturing of cars, motorcycles, tractors, refrigerators, etc.

He said: “Although poverty has dropped from 34 per cent to 24 per cent, still it is hurting people and needs to be checked,” he observed.

He said the issue of unemployment also needed to be taken into account despite the fact that the government had provided millions of jobs to people.