Pak parties ask govt to solve Balochistan problems

Pakistan`s main political parties have asked the government to stop military operations in Balochistan.

Islamabad: Pakistan`s main political parties have asked the government to stop military operations in Balochistan and find a political solution to the numerous problems of the MKCMFBMJDFJF-hit province.

"The politics of the garrison should be replaced by civilian authorities that genuinely represent the will of the people (of Balochistan)," said a resolution adopted at a national conference on the province that was organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association and attended by all leading political parties yesterday.

"In parallel to political negotiations, all military and paramilitary operations are to be stopped forthwith and the army and Frontier Constabulary are to be called back to cantonment," said the resolution.

Political parties like the ruling Pakistan People`s Party, main opposition PML-N, Imran Khan`s Tehrik-e-Insaf and Jamaat-e-Islami attended the conference.

The leadership of these parties also urged the government to take steps to resolve pressing matters like the issue of "missing persons" or people detained without charge by security and intelligence agencies.

The meeting was addressed by PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, PPP leader Raza Rabbani, PML-Q Secretary General Mushahid Hussain Sayed and Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the former chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

Balochistan has been rocked by violence blamed on banned sectarian groups and Baloch nationalist groups in recent months.

Dozens of members of the minority Hazara Shia community have been killed by sectarian groups like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi while Baloch national groups demanding greater autonomy have carried out a string of bombings and attacks.

"The situation in Balochistan is complex and solutions too must be found in multiple directions, including renegotiation of the question of provincial autonomy with economic resources to the province.

"Nevertheless, the participants emphasised that the crisis was one which could only be resolved through political dialogue, negotiations and through building confidence between the people of Balochistan and the federal government," said the resolution adopted at the conference.

The political parties demanded the arrest and trial of
those responsible for the death of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti, who was killed during a military operation ordered by former President Pervez Musharraf in 2006.

The resolution said an effective mechanism should be set up to ensure that Balochistan`s natural resources "are under the control of people of the area, while peaceful negotiations continue to meet new challenges."

While commending the Supreme Court for taking up the issue of missing persons, the resolution said "those accused of heinous crimes of killings and disappearances should be brought to justice."

An inter-Parliamentary committee should prepare a white paper on human rights violations in Balochistan during the Musharraf regime to the present day and this should be discussed in Parliament, it added.

The resolution further demanded the release of all "political prisoners and missing persons in custody of different state agencies."

It called on religious leaders of different sects to "create the culture of tolerance and religious harmony."

In his address, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif held dictators responsible for Balochistan`s problems, saying their policies had forced people to take up arms.
He said the situation worsened after Akbar Bugti`s killing.

Sharif admitted that "directly or indirectly I was also part of what happened in Balochistan" but promised not to be "used by the military establishment" in future.

Imran Khan asked the government to announce an amnesty for Baloch activists, give provincial autonomy and introduce a local government system in Balochistan.
Senior PPP leader Raza Rabbani said the time had come to admit that "we have made mistakes" in Balochistan.

Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Yasin Azad said the situation in Balochistan was not very different from that of the erstwhile East Pakistan in 1971.
Former SCBA President Asma Jahangir said the time had come to decide whether "we want to have Balochistan or not because if we once again manipulate election results, we will lose the province."


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