QUETTA, Dec 9: President General Pervez Musharraf on Saturday announced amnesty in Balochistan for all those willing to surrender arms and said the government was ready for talks on peace and development.
He was speaking to newsmen at the Governor’s House on the conclusion of a three-day visit to Quetta.
"Our doors are open to everybody willing to negotiate for peace and development in Balochistan," he said, but added that as president, he would not beg anybody to come to the dialogue table.
"If somebody wants to meet me, he should come forward… I am ready to meet him," he said.
Former primer minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, Deputy Chairman Senate Mir Jan Mohammed Jamali, Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani, Chief Minister Jam Yousuf, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Mohammed Ali Durrani were present on the occasion.
The president said he wanted to develop the province of Balochistan, which had been neglected by all previous federal and provincial governments. “And for the purpose, I am ready to hold talks with anybody,” he said. To a question, President Musharraf said that Balochistan’s problems could not be resolved through short-term measures.
"I don’t believe in finding temporary solutions. I want permanent solutions to all issues," he said, adding that resolving issues on a permanent basis would benefit the people of the province in the long run.
He said his government would not stop nationalist parties of Balochistan from joining mainstream politics. However, he said that the government would never hold talks or compromise with ‘insincere elements’.
He said the government was ready to extend amnesty to all those willing to surrender. It would not take action against anybody without any justification, he added.
To a question, the president said that the federal government was giving substantial funds to the province to overcome its financial problems. He said before the year 2000, Balochistan was getting Rs2 billion for the PSDP, but the amount had now gone up to Rs30 billion.
He admitted that the province needed much more than that, adding that the financial position could be improved through better management of accounts. "The amount being spent on Balochistan is more than what is being spent on Punjab."
About the NFC award, he said that as president of Pakistan, he had announced an interim NFC award even though the chief ministers of the four provinces had failed to reach consensus.
"The NFC award cannot be announced until there is consensus among the four provinces," he said, adding that the interim NFC award had reduced the share of the centre in federal resources and increased the share of the provinces.
To a question, he said the law and order situation in Quetta and other areas of the province improved a lot. However, he admitted that there was need for further improvement ‘for which the government is making all-out efforts’.
"Incidents of rocket attacks and bomb blasts in the province have declined," he said.
These subversion activities were aimed at destabilising the government, he said, adding that the government knew how to deal with the elements involved in these activities.
“These elements are getting financial assistance from abroad, and included some locals as well,” he said.
He said he would inaugurate the night landing facility at the Quetta airport by March next.