Similarly, they should also be taken into confidence on the issue of Gwadar Port and given assurance that outsiders coming for commercial activity would never be allowed to undermine their rights. Indian intrigues from Afghanistan should be neutralised diplomatically.
Research think-tank MUSLIM Institute organised a roundtable discussion in Islamabad on prevailing Balochistan situation. The event was attended by analysts, professors, researchers, students from various universities and representatives of different think-tanks.
Expressing his thoughts on the occasion, PML-N Chairman Senator Raja Zafar ul Haq stated that during previous regime, Punjab government took many initiatives for people of Balochistan, particularly for students. His party then also tried to bring a presidential candidate from Balochistan and following its failure to find anyone, it nominated another candidate from a smaller province. Similarly, after formation of its government at federal level after recent elections, PML-N gave full opportunity to local parties of Balochistan to form their government in the province. Its decision to give Chief Ministership to Balochs and Governorship to Pashtoons — both hailing from Balochistan — may be seen in this backdrop. Due to such steps of the federal government, a goodwill between it and provincial government has been established which is likely to bring positive change in the province.
Former COAS General Mirza Aslam Beg in his address said that no serious efforts have been made in the past to handle Balochistan situation politically and civilian administration also did not fulfil its responsibilities in letter and spirit. Army established peace in the area but civilian governments ignored the region and never took its control in effective way.
MUSLIM Institute Chairman Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali, speaking on the occasion, said that Balochistan has become centre of attention at international level due to its geo-strategic location and rich natural resources. Its Gwadar Port has significance for the entire region. He further stated that civilian government needs to improve governance and strengthen infrastructure in the province.
Renowned Defence Analyst Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum said that due to failures of governments in the past, situation in Balochistan worsened. Baloch Sardars also did not allow spread of education to keep their grip firm on people. Another reason for aggravation of situation in Balochistan is ineffectiveness of law enforcement apparatus. Common Balochs do not talk of freedom; they simply demand their constitutional rights. The current government’s decision to bring forward a common Baloch and not a Sardar as Chief Minister is a laudable step. Similarly, Pak Army’s decision to open cadet colleges in Loralai and Sui is also a praiseworthy initiative.
Famous Analyst Rana Abdul Baqi stated that Gwadar Port has significance not only from trade point of view but also from defence perspective as it would reinforce capabilities of our Navy. Formation of government in Balochistan by nationalists makes it clear that people can assert their will through ballot.
Research Associate of MUSLIM Institute Usman Haasan said that the entire Balochistan, particularly Gwadar Port, has importance for trade of Russia, Central Asia and China. If hostile external elements succeed in further worsening situation in Balochistan, it will have serious adverse bearings for our neighbouring countries.
On the occasion it was proposed that the government should formulate a committee of all stakeholders to take stock of the situation objectively and recommend short-, mid- and long-term measures for handling situation in Balochistan. There is need for improving agriculture system in the province. Old ‘Karaiz’ system should be revived and also new water distribution projects are undertaken. Education and health sectors should be accorded priority. Overall infrastructure development initiatives should also be taken throughout the province, with extra focus on under-developed areas. Locals should be taken into confidence that they will get due benefits from mineral exploration process in the province. Similarly, they should also be taken into confidence on the issue of Gwadar Port and given assurance that outsiders coming for commercial activity would never be allowed to undermine their rights. Indian intrigues from Afghanistan should be neutralised diplomatically. Capacity of law enforcement apparatus should be bolstered to effectively respond to challenges prevailing in Baluchistan.