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Baloch leaders sceptical of Pak govt's plan for dialogue

ANI | Updated: Jul 09, 2021 23:15 IST


Balochistan [Pakistan], July 9 (ANI): Baloch leaders have expressed their doubts about the Imran Khan government's plan to engage with "insurgents" in the province, saying that the decision to do so lies with the country's military establishment only.

Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal, during a news show on Thursday night, said he was confused by the Pakistan PM’s recent statement where he said he was considering "talking to insurgents" in the province.

"If I am not wrong, he said he has only thought about it, not decided. And a person's thoughts can change at any time," Mengal said, as quoted by Dawn newspaper.

"I don't think the government is serious. These are not muzakrat (dialogue), they are mazakrat (a joke)," he said, adding that the people of the province have been a victim of this "joke" since 1947.

Mengal said that the Imran Khan government did not have the power or the authority to hold talks with "insurgents".  “No political government has ever been given the powers to resolve the issues of Balochistan,” Mengal said.

On Monday, Imran Khan said that he is deliberating to "hold talks with insurgents" in Balochistan as he blamed the previous administration for lack of development in the country's largest province.

Addressing a gathering during his Gwadar visit, Khan Pakistan PM said the federal government did not do justice with Balochistan and "neither did its politicians." The money that was supposed to be spent on the development of the province was spent by the politicians on themselves, he added.

Despite recent overtures by the Pakistan government for holding dialogue with the Baloch people to resolve their problems, there remains widespread scepticism about the initiative.

Writing in the Sindh Express, Omar Qazi notes that the Baloch have a long history of rulers ranging from former Pakistan Prime Minister Asif Zardari to former President Gen Pervez Musharraf, who make tall promises and ultimately not delivering.

He further points out that gas produced in Balochistan's Sui area was supplied to Punjab and Khyber Palchtunwa provinces but denied to households in Sui region in Balochistan.

According to Qazi, discrimination and injustice against the Baloch was further illustrated by the discrepancy between Balochistan's contribution to the Pakistan National Exchequer and the returns given to the region in terms of development.

He underlined that Balochistan meant much more than Gwadar Port with its borders with Iran and Afghanistan, particularly in the current scenario of withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. (ANI)

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