ISLAMABAD, April 30: A committee on Balochistan formed by PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has decided to send a three-member team to Quetta for talks with local leaders, intellectuals and politicians before convening an all parties conference.

The committee’s mandate is to work out a constitutional formula to end insurgency in the province and bring all warring factions to the negotiating table.

In 2004, a parliamentary committee had been formed by PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain in his capacity as prime minister. It was divided into two sub-committees -- one headed by Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed and the other by Senator Wasim Sajjad.

While the Mushahid committee had prepared its recommendations on administrative issues, the Sajjad committee could not complete its report on a constitutional package.

Dr Babar Awan, secretary of the committee, held a meeting here on Wednesday with senators from Balochistan and informed them about procedures of the committee.

Deputy Chairman of Senate Mir Jan Mohammad Jamali, Mir Israrullah Zehri, Rehana Yahya, Kulsoom Parveen, Wali Mohammad Badini, Mohabbat Khan Marri, Mir Naseer Mengal, Parigul Agha and Saeed Hashmi attended the meeting.

Mr Awan told Dawn he had assured the senators that the coalition government was serious about resolving the Balochistan issue through dialogue.

He said that three members of the committee would pay a two-day visit to Quetta from Saturday. They will hold a meeting at the Quetta Press Club with local leaders, intellectuals, politicians and general public.

After the consultation process, he said, a package would be prepared for legislation in parliament.

Mr Jan Jamali stressed the need for resolving the issues of provincial autonomy and concurrent list.

Mr Marri said: “Balochistan does not belong to a few Sardars and the government should take all stakeholders on board while making peace efforts.”

The meeting also decided to include forces outside parliament in the consultation process.



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