Balochistan's soil would not be allowed to be exploited for any subversive activity, Zardari said. — APP

QUETTA President Asif Ali Zardari announced on Friday a development package of Rs46.6 billion for Balochistan.

Speaking to tribal elders and notables at the Governor's House, he said that Rs36 billion would be spent on building four big dams and Rs2.5 billion on delay action dams in the province.

An amount of Rs3 billion will be spent on development of Quetta and Rs5 billion on laying two high-power transmission lines.

The president said the government would not allow militants to use Balochistan for terrorist activities.

'The best way of achieving rights is democracy, which is in the interest of every Pakistani,' the president said, adding that the government would take all steps to develop Balochistan and bring it on a par with other provinces.

He said grievances of the Baloch had been misused in the past and assured the elders that the government would address all problems now.

Later President Zardari, speaking at a press conference, said he had directed the provincial government to set up a parliamentary committee of its coalition partners to start talks with Baloch resistance groups in order to bring them into the mainstream.

He did not agree with a questioner that a general amnesty would help in resolving the Balochistan issue, recalling that amnesty had been given thrice in the past, but had not produced any positive result.

'We want a durable solution to the problems and need efforts to find out such solution.' Mr Zardari said problems that had accumulated over 60 years could not be solved in six months.

He said he had asked partners in the ruling coalition to prepare a resolution on issues being faced by Balochistan, discuss it in the provincial assembly and then send it to the federal government for necessary legislation.

'My government won't hesitate to make constitutional amendments in the light of legislators' recommendations to solve problems of the province.'

The president said the PPP-led government was committed to alleviating the misery of Balochistan and removing the sense of deprivation.

In reply to question about missing people, Mr Zardari said the governor and the chief minister had been asked to set up a committee to review the list.

About the kidnapped UN official, John Solecki, Mr Zardari said the interior ministry was in touch with the provincial authorities and the issue would be resolved soon.

The president said the government had distributed Rs2.3 billion among the people hit by last year's earthquake in Balochistan, assuring the affected that their grievances would be redressed.


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