ISLAMABAD: President Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) Sardar Akhtar Mengal has claimed that the government does not have the power to hold talks with insurgents in Balochistan. He expressed doubts over the possibility of government’s dialogue with the insurgents in the province and termed it as non-starter, adding that he thought the government was not serious about the process. “There are two areas in the region where the establishment has kept powers to itself. One is occupied Kashmir, and the second is Balochistan,” said Mengal in an interview.
Prime Minister Imran Khan affirmed on Monday that the government was planning to reach out to the estranged Baloch youth for the sake of peace in Balochistan. He added that Pakistan’s foes had used those elements in the past, but the situation has entirely changed. Later, Khan appointed JWP chief MNA Shahzain Bugti as his Special Assistant on reconciliation and harmony in Balochistan.
In an interview, Sardar Mengal, who had also served as the Chief Minister of Balochistan in first term of Nawaz Sharif, recalled on Friday that the-then prime minister had only thought about it, not decided it, adding that a person’s thoughts could change at any time. The rulers in Pakistan change their decisions very often. “I don’t think the government is serious. These are not Muzakrat (dialogues), they are Mazak-raat,” he said, adding that the people of the province had been a victim of this “joke” since 1947.
“No political government has ever been given the power to resolve the issues of Balochistan,” Mengal said, adding that the ground realities needed to be accepted.
Referring to the issue of missing persons, he asked the government to address the problems being faced by the people. “You won’t need a ticket to London or Switzerland to achieve this,” said Mengal.
Mengal added that the work on the six-point agenda his party presented to the prime minister did not require permission from the establishment.
Another leader from Balochistan, National Party (NP) leader and former chief minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik, while holding former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf responsible for the current wave of militancy in the province, said that the province had been burning for the past 15 years. Malik said that his party had always advocated for talks with Baloch militants. “Let me tell you frankly, the political leadership does not have the solution for this. It lies with the military leadership,” he said.
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