‘US’ Afghan troop surge would destabilise Balochistan’
Islamabad: As the US continues to ponder over whether to send more troops to Afghanistan to facilitate the ‘war on terror’ or not, Pakistan has raised apprehensions over the expected massive surge in the neighbouring country, saying it could destabilise its border regions.
Interacting with media persons during a press conference here, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said sending more troops to Afghanistan would further enhance problems in Balochistan.
“Our only concern is that when US sends more troops to Afghanistan’s Helmand area, if there will be influx of militants they will be moving to Balochistan,” The Nation quoted Gilani, as saying.
“This is the concern that we already discussed with the US administration, that influx of militants towards Balochistan should be taken care of otherwise that can destabilise Balochistan,” he added.
Gilani said peace and stability in Afghanistan was of much importance for Pakistan.
He said the Obama administration should take Islamabad on board in case it decides to redo its Afghan strategy, so that Pakistan can prepare itself to tackle the new challenges.
“We have asked US administration to consult us in case of any paradigm shift in the policy... so that we can formulate our strategy accordingly,” Gilani said.
Responding to a query regarding the Baloch issue, he said the government is ready for talks with Baloch leaders on ‘any terms within the ambit of the Constitution.’
The Prime Minister said all Baloch leaders, including Brahamdagh Bugti and Talal Bugti, have been invited for negotiations, and added that the government is pledged to bring back Baloch nationalists living in self-exile.
“Our government will make every effort to bring them back to country and include them into national mainstream,” he said.
Referring the special package for the troubled province, which was announced last week, Gilani said the package is meant to provide the Baloch people the same status that people in other provinces’ enjoy.
“The ‘Aghaz-e-Huqooq-e-Balochistan’ is not just a package, but a step forward for which the Baloch people were waiting for the last 63 years. Balochistan is a vital part of the country and deserves the same rights as other provinces,” he said.