ISLAMABAD: Advisor to Prime Minister on Interior, Rehman A. Malik Wednesday informed the Upper House of the Parliament that India is backing the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) for fuelling insurgency in the province and creating unrest.
“BLA was raised and funded by Russia during Soviet-Afghan war when Pakistan was supporting Afghanis and now India is backing its activities,”
he said, winding up debate on an adjournment motion, to discuss the Balochistan situation emerging out of recent killing of three Baloch leaders in Turbat.
“BLA remained dormant since the Afghan war ended but it was reactivated after killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti, whose grandson Barhamdagh Bugti has openly sought Indian and American support for independence of Balochistan in a recent interview,”
He said that Indian consulate in Iranian city, bordering Balochistan, was also involved in activities other than visa granting to people. The BLA Chief Barhamdagh Bugti, in his recent interview to a Pakistani channel has openly sought Indian support for independence of Balochistan, he added. “Barhamdagh Bugti is residing in Kabul just five kilometer away from President Karzai’s palace and Pakistan has continuously been asking the Afghan government for access to Barhamdagh,” he said.
However, he said, the Afghan Government has been denying Bugti’s presence in Afghanistan, though Pakistan repeatedly raised it with Afghanistan that their soil was being used against Pakistan. Rehman Malik said the law and order situation in Balochistan is a very serious issue and the government is engaged in sincere efforts to defuse the tension. “We have taken all the Parliament members onboard and assure to implement recommendations of the Parliament in true spirit.”
“There is a realization, on every part, that something should be done to redress the problems; to address the concerns and satisfy our Baloch brethren,” the advisor said. He said that the grievances of Balochs as well as Pakhtoons need to be identified and discussed to reach to a concrete solution. “Therefore, I want to sincerely brief the house on the facts on ground as we do not want to hide anything and want to clear the doubts, which people have in their minds,” Malik said.
Pakistan Peoples Party’s government, he said, from the very first day, has made efforts for redressing concerns of Balochs and undertake development projects in the province.“All cases against Mengals and Harbyar Marri were withdrawn in a bid to provide relief. Similarly, the negotiations with Bugti tribe were also held and I am in close contact with every son of Nawab Akbar Bugti,” Malik informed the House.
Earlier, he elaborated details of his meetings with Baloch Nationalist Leaders including former Chief Minister Akhtar Mengal in Balochistan and Harbayar Khan in London respectively. Malik said the government had also extended legal support to Harbyar Khan Marri for defence of case registered by the British government in London.
Meanwhile; he said, the demands of Balochs for share in the resources is genuine and the government; including President Asif Ali Zardari has agreed to take all steps according to aspirations of Balochistan people.
Similarly; another major demand for removal of 36 Frontier Constabulary (FC) checkposts, from different parts of the province was also fulfilled. “In addition, the federal government has directed FC to work under supervision of Police,” said the advisor. Besides President Zardari, the Prime Minister was personally interested in redressing concerns of Baloch people and he daily seeks update over the issue.
PM Yusuf Raza Gilani has approved Rs 70.5 billion loan grant for Balochistan on recommendations of the provincial chief minister, he added. “Recent visit of President Asif Zardari to province was landmark as he announced Rs. 46 billion development package for the province,” Malik said. The package announced by President Asif Ali Zardari was widely welcomed across the Balochistan.
The government was following three-pronged policy of Dialogue, Development and Deterrence and all maximum possible steps were ensured peace and stability, said the advisor. Rehman Malik said that there was no military operation in Balochistan since PPP took over reins of the country after February 18 general polls last year.
“I can say with authority and I am saying, neither there is military operation in Balochistan nor it would be launched,” repeated the advisor.
He said that Rs.7 billion were allocated for conversion of A areas into B areas and Rs. 5.1 billion have been spent for the purpose. However, the locals were demanding for restoration of Sardari system in the areas, he added.
Rehman Malik said all political prisoners except 36 were released. The cases of those 36 are under scrutiny at a special committee, as they are alleged to be involved in murder crimes.
Subsequently, employment, rehabilitation of displaced people and allocation of National Finance Commission (NFC) award were under consideration for Balochistan, he added. The martyrdom of former governor and chief minister Nawab Akbar Bugti aggravated the situation and created enormous problems for the country. Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) was reactivated by enemies of Pakistan in the mean time, he said.
BLA consists of 1,000 Baloch students, trained in Russia and spread in various parts of the province. They are demanding for independence of Balochistan, said the advisor. BLA chief Barhamdagh Bugti is present in Afghan capital Kabul just at distance of five miles from President Hamid Karzai’s palace but Afghan government was denying the fact despite proofs, Malik disclosed.
Barhamdagh, in his recent interview to a Pakistani TV channel, has sought Indian, American and UNO support for independence of Balochistan. “BLA chief denies provincial autonomy and 1973 constitution. He is pressing for complete freedom,” said Malik, adding, “had our ancestors achieved Pakistan for this purpose….No…None patriotic Pakistani can support such demand.”
Regarding missing persons, Malik informed that figure presented by various sources was inconsistent when the PPP government. “However; 6, 000 men and 140 women were reported missing on occasion of UN representative John Solecki’s abduction,” he said.
Meanwhile, the final figure of people missing from across the country is 831 including 270 from Balochistan. “220 people from missing 270 of Balochitsan, 20 out of 50 in Punjab and 45 out of 55 in Sindh, were traced; respectively,” he said, adding that 36 people were missing in NWFP out of which 23 have been recovered. Malik said that adduction of John Solecki, on the occasion when UN Secretary General was scheduled to arrive, harmed reputation of Pakistan globally.
He said that the abductors of Solecki had links with people in Afghanistan as telephone call from Kabul was traced. He said that the seven number used for calling were traced and the information was shared with President Karazi by Pakistan but he denied it as true. Later, Secretary General UNO appealed Karzai for efforts to release Solecki.
Malik said that Pakistan has repeatedly asked Afghanistan to stop supporting Barhamdagh and asked to hand over him to Islamabad under security for negotiations. “We conveyed through ministry of foreign affairs that we want to talk to Barhamdagh and know his grievances,” he added.
He said that India is enemy of Pakistan and involved in creating unrest in Balochistan. The government and people of Pakistan could not close the eyes from the reality. “None true Pakistani could support the independence of Balochistan and see repetition of incident like fall of Dhaka. Every Pakistani is ready to devote life for the homeland,” he maintained.
He said that killing of three Baloch people took place soon after visit of President Asif Ali Zardari and announcement of development package for the province. “At the time when Baloch people were praising package of President Zardari, the killing of political workers was grave conspiracy against Pakistan,” said Malik.
Condemning the killings, he informed the Upper House that a high-powered committee, headed by IGP Balochistan, was probing into the matter. “Three intelligence agencies are assisting the committee and those involved in the heinous act would be taken to task,” he added.
The advisor said the ministry of interior welcomed the guidelines of parliamentarians and he was ready to give the investigation committee under supervision of Senate; if they had reservations. He said that the killings were a big conspiracy as 14 settlers were killed, four bomb killings and three bomb blasts took place during the law and order situation created in wake of the incident.
He said people of Balochistan are peaceful and they could not carry bombs in their pockets, thus those involved were miscreants.
Malik requested the Baloch parliamentarians for cooperation to redress the problems and vowed that the government was ready for negotiations at all forums. He gave undertaking on behalf of the government for implementation of Senate committees’ and individual members recommendations regarding Balochistan too.
Meanwhile, the advisor disclosed that two of the murdered political workers Ghulam Muhammad and Sher Muhammad were Iranian nationalists. “Ghulam Muhammad was involved in terror activities in Iran and his name was third on the list for extradition of terrorists, sent by Tehran on March 16, 2009,” Malik said. Similarly, Sher Muhammad migrated from Charbihar area of Iran and got Pakistani nationality, he added.
Meanwhile, some Senate members including Raja Zafar-ul-Haq advised for in-camera briefing instead of disclosing confidential information as, they argued, it could create problems for sovereignty of the country. Later, the Chairman gave ruling for in-camera briefing to all members of the Upper House, which is scheduled tomorrow.-APP