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Afghan camps for Baloch militants shut: Malik

March 05, 2012

Interior Minister Rehman Malik. – File Photo by APP

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Sunday that Afghanistan had closed the training camps of Baloch separatists in that country, adding that this was done at the intervention of Afghan President Hamid Karzai who had admitted recently that some of the troubles in Balochistan were originating from his country.

“After we approached the honourable President of Afghanistan with facts and figures he was kind enough to look into the matter by promising to stop infiltration of miscreants from his side of the border,” the interior minister told newsmen during a visit to the National Press Club.

During his recent visit to Islamabad President Karzai was informed about infiltration of militants into Balochistan. Mr Malik said “President Karzai had promised to stop the infiltration from Kandahar into Balochistan”. And now Kabul has formally given an assurance that infiltration of militants into the border town of Chaman will be stopped.

The minister said: “There was a training camp of 5,000 people in Kandahar but it has been dismantled now and its operators have moved out of the area.”

He said the Afghan government had promised that insurgents would not be allowed to operate in Pakistan from Afghanistan. “We are monitoring the situation and those playing in the hands of foreign forces to destabilise the country will not be spared.”

At the same time, he said, the government was creating an environment conducive for talks with disgruntled Baloch leaders.

Mr Malik said that 135 cases had been registered against Baloch nationalists, but a number of cases were withdrawn when the Aghaz-i-Haqooq-i-Balochistan Package was launched and the process to quash the remaining cases was under way.

He said the interior ministry had written a letter to the Balochistan chief secretary to withdraw the cases.

“The relevant letters must have been dispatched to the commissioners for withdrawal of politically-motivated cases,” he said. “However, the cases filed by private citizens and families of a deceased will have to be settled in court.”

The minister said all disgruntled Baloch leaders would be welcome in Pakistan and he himself would receive them at the airport.

Mr Malik said that although the phenomenon of missing persons was a serious issue, it had been blown out of proportion.

He offered an in-camera briefing on the matter to a group of media persons.

“However, speaking on record I want to tell everybody that 6,000 persons had gone missing initially but now the Chief Minister’s office has estimated that around 800 were missing after some progress has been made on the issue. The Balochistan Liberation Army claims that 900 persons are missing and the list compiled at the Supreme Court indicates that 400 persons are missing.

The minister said two judicial commissions had been established, one said that 48 persons were missing while the other was still to complete the inquiry.

VISA TO US CITIZENS: The minister said Pakistan would not extend visas to American citizens without solid reasons.

“No American citizen will be allowed to enter Pakistan without valid documents. They will get entry only after receiving permission from the ministry of interior and Foreign Office.

Anybody with an expired visa is not allowed to enter the country.”

He said the interior ministry had been keeping a check on private security firms since 2008. “Their NoCs are being verified for better security and a strict code for their uniforms is being enforced.”

Mr Malik said strict monitoring of private security agencies was needed because many robberies and other criminal acts had reportedly been committed by their personnel.