Pakistan announces amnesty for Baloch nationalist militants

Pakistan's Balochistan province government has announced general amnesty for Baloch nationalists militants fighting for more autonomy and control over gas and mineral resources in the region.

Islamabad: Pakistan's Balochistan province government has announced general amnesty for Baloch nationalists militants fighting for more autonomy and control over gas and mineral resources in the region.

The provincial government yesterday unveiled an amnesty plan for local Balochs willing to renounce violence and start a peaceful life.

The plan, aimed at ending a low-level insurgency going on since 2005, was approved in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch.

The government said in an overnight statement that the meeting discussed the law and order in the province.

"It was decided that a peaceful, conciliatory Balochistan policy will be implemented so that the youngsters who want to lay down arms and join the mainstream can be granted amnesty and be encouraged to rehabilitate themselves," it said.

The militants will be paid Rs 500,000 under the scheme for laying down arms, while mid-level commanders will get Rs 1 million and top commanders will be paid Rs 1.5 million.

Addressing a cultural show, Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Nasir Janjua later urged the youths to accept the government offer.

"Those living in the mountains should leave that life and come back to live with their families," he said.

Janjua also warned them that there was no place for "militants, terrorists and separatists in Balochistan".

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