Sui cantonment turned into military college
By Saleem Shahid
SUI: The Pakistan Army has formally abandoned the newly-constructed controversial army cantonment in Sui and converted it into a military college.
Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani inaugurated the college at a ceremony on Monday and announced that 10,000 Baloch youths would be inducted into the army. Classes will commence in April, with 60 per cent seats reserved for Balochistan.
Former president Pervez Musharraf had constructed the cantonment in Sui town of Dera Bugti district, ignoring opposition by Baloch and Pakhtun nationalist parties. The Balochistan Assembly had also adopted a resolution against the construction of more army cantonments in the province.
However, the PPP government had dropped a plan to establish cantonments in Sui and Kohlu and decided to hand over both the garrisons to Frontier Corps.
Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Magsi, Chief Minister Aslam Raisani, Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Javed Zia and hundreds of Bugti tribesmen and elders attended the function.
The Army Chief said: “It is a gift from Pakistan Army to the people of Balochistan.” He said a military college was established in Jhelum 85 years ago, then another in 2008 in Murree and now the Army had decided to convert Sui cantonment into the third military college of the country.
“Now educational institutions will be established in Sui instead of cantonment areas,” Gen Kayani announced.
He said as there were reservations in Balochistan about establishing military cantonments, it was decided to convert the Sui cantonment into a military college. “An educated Balochistan will help make Pakistan stronger,” Gen Kayani said, adding that the Army and people could make the country stable and strong.
The Army chief said the people of Balochistan were patriot Pakistanis and he wanted that a maximum number of officers join the army from that province. He said it was the responsibility of all people to make Pakistan a developed country.
Gen Kayani highlighted the steps being taken by the Army in education, health and other sectors in Balochistan and said the Army and Frontier Corps were running 47 educational institutions in the province where around 23,000 students were acquiring education. Several thousands students from Balochistan were admitted to army’s educational institutions in Murree while the Army wanted to provide maximum educational and vocational training facilities to the students of Balochistan so that they could get jobs and contribute to the development and prosperity of the country.
Gen Kayani said 3,500 Baloch youths had joined different army units after completing training, while another 5,000 youths would start training in March.
He said Balochistan was rich in various resources that needed to be utilised for the development of the province. “People of Balochistan have first right on these resources,” he said, adding that if these resources were utilised properly, Balochistan would become the richest province in the country.
Chief Minister Aslam Raisani expressed pleasure over converting the Sui army cantonment into a military college and said that it would help in raise the standard of education in Balochistan.
However, he asked the Pakistan Petroleum Limited authorities to provide jobs to the youths of Dera Bugti district who had competed technical training in vocational institutions.
Mr Raisani announced construction of Sibi-Rakhani-Sangsilla road this year.
Sui Military College’s Commandant Brig Ali Tahir said Balochistan would get 60 per cent seats in the college, which would be affiliated with the federal board. He said classes would start in April.