Govt announces amnesty for angry Baloch leaders -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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Govt announces amnesty for angry Baloch leaders

Shakeel Anjum

ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday announced amnesty for the Baloch leaders and decided to withdraw all cases against them.

Interior minister Rehman Malik made this announcement after a meeting with Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. He also announced the prime minister’s internship programme for educated Baloch youth.

Talking to media persons after chairing a high-level meeting, Rehman Malik said that in line with the reconciliation policy of the government, it has been decided to convince Baloch leaders, including Barahamdagh Bugti and Harbyar Marri, to return to Pakistan to take part in the political and development process. “I would personally receive them”, the minister said while announcing withdrawal of cases against the Baloch leaders living abroad.

Earlier, Rehman Malik chaired a high-level meeting to review the implementation of the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan package, which was attended by minister for science and technology, Changez Khan Jamali, Sardar Muhammad Umar Gorgaij, secretary interior, secretary information, secretary petroleum and natural resources, chief secretary Balochistan and other senior officials.

The minister, responding to a question, said he has withdrawn all cases against Harbyar Marri except one. He said the PPP government is determined to resolve the Balochistan issue through political means.

He dispelled the impression created by certain elements regarding the situation in the province, saying the government wanted to bring development in order to ensure stability and prosperity in the province. He said there were only 42 cases of missing persons in the province and the figure was exaggerated in the past. The authorities are trying to trace these persons and a Task Force has been constituted which is registering the missing persons’ cases, he added.

“I do not say the situation in the province is normal but the way it has been propagated and portrayed is not right,” he said while responding to another question. Regarding decisions taken during the meeting, he said in order to ensure education for Baloch children, 15,000 young graduates and postgraduates from Balochistan would be given employment under the Prime Minister’s Internship Programme.

The minister said Rs15000 per month internship stipend would be given to each intern who would work as schoolteacher in the province. He said the federal government would release Rs4 billion to WAPDA on account of its share of subsidy for farmers of Balochistan.

Moreover, Rehman Malik said, 2400 federal government’s jobs would be filled on merit with the assistance of Members of National Assembly (MNAs) and Senators from Balochistan. He said to encourage representation of provincial government officials at the Federal level any Baloch officer coming to Islamabad on deputation will be awarded one-step higher post.

It was decided to double the number of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) beneficiaries from 375,000 to 750,000. The strength of Federal Levis Force will also be increased through fresh recruitment (present strength is 3500), he said and added that free education currently being provided to 150 brilliant students from Balochistan will cover 500 students in the next academic year and an endowment fund of Rs5 billion will be created for its sustainability.

The minister said the Capital Development Authority (CDA) would give a suitable plot to the Balochistan government for construction of a students hostel and an officers’ hostel in Islamabad to resolve housing problems of students and officers from the province.

He said it was decided that FC Balochistan would not move in any district without permission of Deputy Commissioner. Rehman Malik further said that no check-post should be established by FC without permission of chief minister Balochistan. FC and Coast Guard will exercise powers under Customs Act and strictly in accordance with the law and will keep their deployment restricted to 10 km of the international border.

He said Pakistan Television (PTV) would air documentaries and programmes on the implementation of Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan regularly for general awareness and information. Secretary petroleum informed the media that under the package all departments of the ministry have provided employment to Baloch people more than the fixed quota.

He said out of total Rs120 billion to be given to Balochistan, Rs12 billion have already been released. Chief secretary Balochistan also spoke on the occasion and thanked the government for initiating Prime Minister Internship Programme to promote education in the province.

Source:The News