Islamabad: Peace would remain elusive in Pakistan`s restive Balochistan province until the government takes steps to halt extra-judicial killings and address issues like forced disappearance, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif warned on Friday.
Sharif, the chief of the main opposition PML-N party,
strongly condemned a spate of kidnappings and extra-judicial
killings in Balochistan and said the federal government`s
development package for the southwestern province was
Peace would remain elusive in Balochistan till the
government takes steps to address issues like the "missing
persons" and the killing of nationalist leader Akbar Bugti in
a military operation in 2006, he said.
Sharif made the remarks while talking to reporters after
meeting Baloch nationalist leaders Abdul Malik Baloch and Mir
Hasi Bazenjo in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan.
The bodies of nearly 300 "mission persons", or people
detained without charge by security and intelligence agencies,
have been found across Balochistan since last year. Rights
groups have accused intelligence agencies of being involved in
these killings, a charge denied by the military.
"What steps has the Pakistan People`s Party-led
government taken to arrest those responsible for the gruesome
murder of Akbar Bugti?" Sharif said.
The government has not pursued Bugti`s case in courts, he
"Peace cannot be secured in Balochistan until
longstanding issues of the province are resolved," he said. A
strategy should be evolved to bring the people of Balochistan
back to the mainstream, he added.
"The PPP is in power at the centre and in the province
but they are silent spectators," said Sharif, who is currently
in Balochistan to drum up support for the PML-N.
Sharif said that all political and democratic forces will
have to be come together to heal the wounds of Balochistan.
"We are prepared to host a seminar in Islamabad at which
all political parties can hold discussions and learn of the
problems facing Balochistan," he said.
The Baloch nationalists in the province have for decades
waged a separatist struggle, accusing the central government
in Islamabad of exploiting the region by failing to give its
people the appropriate share of royalties from the gas
reserves, the country`s largest.
Sharif said the PPP, which came to power in the name of
democracy, had thrown the Charter of Democracy signed with the
PML-N in 2006 in the dustbin. He accused Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani of often changing his stand on key issues.
"The Prime Minister should talk openly and place the
truth before the people," he said.