Pak PM pledges 20,000 jobs in violent region

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 11:22

Quetta: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani Wednesday pledged to create thousands of jobs in insurgency-wracked Baluchistan as he admitted past neglect of the region had fuelled its troubles.

Unrest and sectarian strife plague the southwestern
province bordering Iran and Afghanistan and previous plans to
give it greater autonomy and inject more money into the area
have failed to fix its problems.

Gilani said 20,000 jobs in Baluchistan would be created through a range of development projects as he spoke at a passing out parade for nearly 5,000 army recruits from the area.

"Baluchistan was neglected in the past which triggered a sense of deprivation. Our government has planned to provide
20,000 jobs for the youth of this province," Gilani said at
the ceremony.

Gilani said that his government would create employment
through various projects including building colleges, water
supply schemes and an IT university.

He also announced a six per cent employment quota in some
federal government departments and the introduction of 3,000
jobs in the tribal police for Baluchistan residents.

But previous attempts at regional reform have failed to
raise the sparsely populated area from poverty and conflict.

In November 2009, the government announced a special
package of reforms in a bid to defuse separatist sentiment in
Baluchistan.

The measures included an increase in the provincial
budget as well as constitutional, administrative, political
and economic reforms in a bid to grant the province more
independence.

But there is dispute over how much of the deal ever came
to fruition. The government in an officially sponsored
newspaper advertisement claimed that 85 per cent of the
package had been implemented.

But an independent daily newspaper, the Express Tribune,
said 27 of its 61 proposals are yet to be carried out.

Hundreds of people have died since Baluch insurgents rose
up in 2004 demanding autonomy and a greater share of the
profits from natural resources in the mineral-rich province.
Disappearances and the discovery of bullet and
torture-riddled bodies in the province that the families of
victims blame on security and intelligence forces have led
human rights activists to call for investigations into the
killings.

Gilani described prosperity for Baluchistan as a top
priority for his government and urged dissidents to shun
violence.

"Some people have chosen the path of terrorism and are
bringing the country and Islam into disrepute. They should
come to the path of peace," he said.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 11:22

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