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Caretaker Prime Minister retired Mir Hazar Khan Khoso at a meeting with notables from the different district of Balochistan at the Governor House. — Online Photo by Ahmad Kakar.

QUETTA: Prime Minister retired Justice Mir Hazar Khan Khoso has urged nationalist leaders to play their role in creating a conducive environment for holding free and transparent elections in Balochistan.

He was talking after his arrival here on Wednesday on a two-day visit to leaders of various parties, including the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Balochistan National Party-M’s Dr Jahanzaib Jamaldini, National Party’s Dr Abdul Malik Baloch and Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, PPP’s Jan Ali, Mir Amin Umrani and Mir Naseer Khan Mengal, PML-Q’s Saeed Ahmed Hashmi and Awami National Party’s Zamaruk Piralizai and Aurangzeb Kasi.

The prime minister said the government would ensure full security of the leaders of the parties and candidates taking part in the elections and take all possible steps for a smooth election process across the country.

According to sources, the leaders informed Mr Khoso about their reservations and apprehensions about the elections.

“The issues of missing persons, no go areas, release of Baloch political prisoners and military operation came under discussion,” they said.

The prime minister urged the nationalist leaders to play their role for promoting national harmony and brotherhood among all nationalities. “The nationalist political parties’ participation in general elections will help bring peace and prosperity in Balochistan,” he said.

He assured them that the federal and the provincial governments would take measures to remove their reservations about security, to abolish no go areas and resolve other issues.

He said he would personally monitor the implementation if the suggestions of Balochistan’s nationalist leaders presented in the meeting.

The prime minister said no one would be allowed to interfere in the elections and polling would be held in a peaceful environment.

He said a positive signal had gone to the world that all political parties, including the nationalist Baloch and Pakhtun parties, were participating in the elections. “The federal government wants to see the nationalist politicians in mainstream national politics.”

He said his Quetta visit was a message that the caretaker government was sincere in taking along all political and nationalist parties to contest free, fair and transparent elections in order to strengthen democracy.

Mr Khoso said he had asked the law enforcement agencies and authorities to take action against anti-peace elements and ensure a peaceful environment in all constituencies, particularly in sensitive areas, so that polling could be held smoothly.

He asked Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and Chief Minister Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Barozai to provide foolproof security and protection to the political leaders and ensure deployment of law enforcement personnel in adequate number in and around the polling stations.

Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad, Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani and Inspector General Mushtaq Sukhira briefed the premier on the law and order situation and measures being taken to maintain peace and order.

The prime minister asked the authorities to accelerate work on development projects in Balochistan and overcome procedural hurdles in this regard. He was briefed about various port, road and dam projects.

The Wapda chairman informed him that the Kachhi canal project would be completed by June 30 and its management had sought the services of Nespak for its efficient implementation. He said the Naulang dam would also be completed soon because sufficient funds had been released for it.

The prime minister highlighted the importance of the Ratodero-Khuzdar highway for connecting Gwadar port to the rest of the country urged the communications ministry to ensure its earlier completion.

The federal government would also look into the proposal for appointment of the chief minister of Balochistan as chairman of the Gwadar Port Authority, he said.

He was informed that expansion of the port would cost Rs25 billion, including establishment of a free trade zone, and land had been acquired for the purpose.