QUETTA: Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Friday said that capable, honest and senior law enforcement agency officials would be posted to Balochistan to improve the law and order situation in the province.
Presiding over a meeting on law and order in the provincial capital, the prime minister said, “There should be integrated teamwork between the Balochistan government, institutions and law enforcement agencies to maintain law and order and restore peace in the province.” He added that personnel belonging to law enforcement agencies had laid down their lives to provide security and protection to the people of the province.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik, Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, Chief Minister Nawab Muhammad Aslam Raisani, Provincial Home Minister Mir Zafar Zehri, Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad, Home Secretary Nasibullah Bazai, IG Frontier Corps Major General Obaidullah Khatak, IG Police Tariq Umar Khatab and other senior officials also attended the meeting.
On Friday, Prime Minister Ashraf also extended a fresh olive branch to disgruntled Baloch leaders along with an offer to hold a dialogue with the government for an amicable solution to the crisis in the province.
Addressing a provincial cabinet meeting at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, the prime minister said that use of force was not the right way to handle any problem: “Only dialogue and constructive talks can steer the province out of the crisis,” he maintained.
However, he categorically rejected the possibility of negotiating with those who were against the sovereignty and independence of the country. “We have to identify forces [that] are supporting a handful of elements to create lawlessness in Balochistan,” he observed.
Prime Minister Ashraf said there were certain internal and external elements involved in fostering unrest in the province, and asserted that they could only be defeated with combined efforts and application of political wisdom. He said the prevailing law and order situation was the direct result of unwise and anti-Baloch policies launched by successive dictators, bringing the province to the verge of destruction. “Balochistan is on the priority list of the government,” he said, while reiterating the government’s pledge to remove the decades-long grievances of the people of the largest province of the country.
Referring to the initiation of mega projects by the federal government in the province, the prime minister said the PPP-led government was taking a serious interest in the development of Balochistan.
During the meeting, provincial ministers pointed out that the Reko Diq, Kacchi Canal, Gwadar-Rato Dero Road and Zhob-Dera Ismail Khan transmission line projects were all needed to be completed on a priority basis. The prime minister assured the ministers of completion of these various development projects at the earliest.
The issue of drinking water shortage was also raised on the occasion. Prime Minister Ashraf said that the completion of the Mirani Dam project would provide an additional 200 million gallons of drinking water to the people of the province.
The prime minister also said he would obtain an update on the steps being taken by the Pakistan Navy to meet the drinking water needs of the residents of Gwadar and Ormara.
Prime Minister Ashraf observed that Balochistan was enriched with natural resources, and had now been constitutionally empowered to reap the benefits of its own mines and minerals. “The local people should be the [beneficiaries] of the Reko Diq, copper and other mineral projects launched in Balochistan,” he said.
Touching upon the subject of law and order, the prime minister said the government was committed to resolving the Balochistan issue, and added that anti-peace elements would not succeed in their nefarious designs and would be dealt with an iron hand. “Law and order is a provincial subject, and the federal government will fully assist the provincial government in this regard,” he said, adding that the Frontier Corps could not work against the wishes of the Balochistan chief minister.
Stressing on the role of political parties in strengthening democracy, the premier urged them to address the many grievances of the common man. He further said that there were certain elements in the country which were obstructing the path of progress, and that it was imperative for the people of Pakistan to stand united and foil the attempts of those trying to sow the seeds of hatred. He added that there was a need to bring the alienated back into the mainstream.
The prime minister attributed the various ills of the province to the doings of dictators, and assured the meeting that the political leadership was now tackling matters in a prudent manner. He recalled the apology rendered by President Asif Ali Zardari to the people of Balochistan, and called for initiating a “new dawn” to bring peace, stability and prosperity to the province.
The prime minister said it was vital that all those who cared for Balochistan work in unison for its development. Commenting on the overall situation in Pakistan, the premier said the country was facing a number of challenges on multiple fronts. “The power of the public and sincerity of the government will help continue the process of prosperity,” he said. “It is my message to all who have affection for the country to come under the flag of Pakistan and play their role for the welfare of the country. We have a gift of love to win the hearts of the people.”
Earlier, Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani and several key cabinet members felicitated Prime Minister Ashraf on assuming the office of chief executive. The provincial chief secretary also provided a detailed briefing to the cabinet on the occasion.
Later in the day, the prime minister was briefed by a delegation of Pakistan Navy officials who called on him at the Governor House.The prime minister directed the authorities to make arrangements for the supply of water from Mirani Dam to Gwadar, as well as to increase the capacity of the Ankra Dam. He further ordered the installation of a water plant in the Hammer Head area of Gwadar, and directed the Navy to provide two ships loaded with drinking water to resolve the crisis in the coastal town.
The Pakistan Navy delegation told the premier that short and long term plans had been devised to solve the water crisis in Gwadar and other areas within the Makran division. Prime Minister Ashraf asked the Pakistan Navy to prepare a feasibility report on the proposed projects to provide Gwadar with access to water.
Meanwhile, two separate delegations of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Balochistan chapter, led by their leaders Mir Sadiq Umrani and Haji Ali Madad Jatak called on the premier at the Governor House.
Addressing the delegations, the premier said that President Zardari had faithfully followed the vision of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. “It was Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, his daughter Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and his sons who rendered their lives for the cause of democracy and the supremacy of parliament,” he maintained.
He added that party workers were assets of the PPP, and that the party was proud of them.The prime minister also announced that the federal government would bear 50 percent of the expenditure in setting up solar energy tubewells in Balochistan. He said this while talking to a delegation of the Balochistan Zamindar Action Committee who called on him at the Governor House. “The federal government has already been giving subsidy on 15,660 agriculture tubewells of Balochistan and will continue giving this subsidy in the future,” the premier told the delegation.
The prime minister condemned the blast that occurred at a political rally earlier in the day. He termed the killing of innocent people a brutal act, and appealed to law enforcement agencies not to be demoralised.