Senators say government lacks sincerity on Balochistan
By Ijaz Kakakhel
ISLAMABAD: The Upper House on Wednesday urged the government to take measures to restore law and order in Balochistan and regretted that the government totally failed to take sincere efforts in this regard.
Expressing serious concerns over deteriorating law and order in Balochistan, the senators said the federal government was not serious in addressing Balochistan issue, adding that it might lead to East Pakistan-like situation. The Awami National Party (ANP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senators walked out of the session over absence of federal ministers, particularly Interior Minister Rehman Malik. They said the Senate was debating such an important issue but no minister was present.
Opposition leader in the Senate Ishaq Dar said Malik had time and money to go to London, but had no time to come and listen to legislators. He regretted that the session was summoned only to administer oath to the interior minister. PML-N Senator Zafar Ali Shah suggested that the senators should seek police help to bring Malik to the House.
Senate Chairman Nayyar Hussain Bokhari expressed concern over the absence of the Interior Ministry officials. He urged leader of the House to ensure presence of ministers and their staff for taking notes. The chairman also suspended the proceedings for 15 minutes due to the absence of ministers.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rehman Malik showed up and told the session that he was busy in three other important meetings.
Opening debate on motion regarding law and order situation in Balochistan, JUI-F Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said that no serious efforts were being made to resolve the Balochistan issue. Haideri said that those people were invited for talks that have no connection with the issue. He said the situation had worsened after the assassination of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. Nawab Bugti who remained federal minister, governor and chief minister was alleged of being against the country and was unfortunately martyred, he observed.
He said that such elements should be exposed who wanted to create East Pakistan-like situation in the province.
Haideri said, “We have to remove the sense of deprivation of the people of the area. The issue cannot be addressed by merely announcing special packages and carrying out development work in the province.”
Talking part in the debate, Surraiya Amiruddin said more facilities should be given to the Baloch. She said further there was no denying the fact that the government had announced a special package, released hefty development funds and recruited as many as 4,500 teachers in the province, adding that the people were being kidnapped for ransom. She said that many committees were formed to give recommendations on the issue, but to no avail. She said that more employment opportunities should be given to the people.
Senator Kulsoom Parveen said that they had been discussing the issue in the House for the past 10 years, adding that the issue needs a concrete strategy and serious efforts. She said, “We have to bring round enraged Baloch people to sort out any pragmatic solution to the issue.”
She said that the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan Package was announced for Balochistan, but it was not implemented in letter and spirit.
Senator Hafiz Hamidullah said Balochistan had not only vast reserves of natural resources, but it also had five ports. Several international powers had interests in the province due to its geographical location, he added.