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Over 1,100 people missing in Balochistan, says Malik

August 28, 2008

QUETTA/ISLAMABAD, Aug 27: The government will hold talks only with law-abiding people and not with law-breakers, says Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik.

“Militants must surrender,” he said while talking to newsmen after arriving in Quetta on Wednesday evening.He said that said that militants in tribal areas should surrender before law-enforcement agencies.

Mr Malik was received by Balochistan Minister for Information Mohammad Younus Malazai, Inspector-General of the Frontier Corps Maj-Gen Saleem Nawaz and Capital City Police Officer Mohammad Akbar.

“The writ of the government would be enforced across the country,” he said.

Referring to talks with militants in Balochistan, he said he could not say anything before meeting officials of the provincial government and law-enforcement agencies.

Commenting on the issue of missing people, Mr Malik said he had a list of 1,102 such people from Balochistan.

Describing the issue as important, he said the PPP-led government had released Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Gazin Marri and other Baloch leaders as part of reconciliation process in the province.

About the situation in tribal areas and the NWFP, Rehman Malik said that 300,000 people had been rendered homeless in Fata and the prime minister had allocated funds for rehabilitation of these people.

Earlier in Islamabad, Mr Malik said that the displaced people in Bajaur would be repatriated to their areas before Ramazan. “Over 16,000 families have already returned.”

Mr Malik claimed the situation was normalising in the NWFP, especially in Hangu district.

Regarding the Thursday night’s blast in a Sihala restaurant, Mr Malik rejected the reports that it had been caused by a gas cylinder explosion, and said that a young boy had left a bag full of potassium cholride near the gas pipeline, resulting in the blast. He said the investigation into the blast was progressing in the right direction.