PM TRACKER
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Balochistan The focal point

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From SHAMIM AHMED RIZVI,
 Islamabad

 Apr 04 - 10, 2005
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The ongoing imbroglio in Balochistan was the focal point of activities of the Prime Minister, Shaukat Aziz last week. During the week, he addressed two press conferences besides making a policy statement in the National Assembly. He also had a meeting with Ch. Shujaat Hussain and the Chief Minister of Balochistan to discuss the prevailing situation.

He also held a meeting with Afghanistan President, Hamid Karzai, who was on two-day visit to Pakistan and witnessed the impressive parade as chief quest on Pakistan Day. The Prime Minister even addressed the annual passing out parade of Pakistan Air Force cadets.

In his address to the National Assembly, the Prime Minister assured that the recommendations of the parliamentary committee on Balochistan will be implemented with letter and spirit. "The writ of the government will, however, be ensured and projects and installation of national importance would be safeguarded at all cost," said the premier.

Winding up the debate on the Balochistan situation in the National Assembly on Thursday night he, assured the countrymen that nobody would be allowed to cast an evil eye on the country. He said each and every attempt and design or conspiracy against the integrity and solidarity of the country will be dealt with iron hand. He also gave the assurance that each and every national installation will be protected. He said no body can condone what ever damage was done to the vital installations through sabotage activities in the recent past. "Such actions are simply regrettable", he said.

He expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the visit of the Chairman of the Committee and President of Pakistan Muslim League (PML), Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Secretary General of the ruling party to Dera Bugti earlier in the day and meeting with Nawab Akbar Bugti. The Prime Minister said the meeting lasting some four hours was fruitful and beneficial. He appreciated both the sides for moving forward during the talks in the right direction. "This had generated a congenial and trustworthy atmosphere, which is bound to lead us towards a breakthrough," said Shaukat Aziz.

Talking to the Chief Minister of Balochistan, the Prime Minister assured that the government was keen to resolve the issue politically. Ruling out the use of force, the premier has said that the government is keen to resolve the Balochistan issue in an atmosphere of harmony and keep understanding through dialogue while ensuring the security of the national installations, life and property of the people of the Balochistan by enforcing the writ of the government.

Shaukat Aziz was of the opinion that following the talks between leadership of Pakistan Muslim League and Nawab Akbar Bugti, and formation of three-member committee, the situation in Dera Bugti and Sui would improve definitely.

 

 

A three-member committee, each representing the government, Nawab Akbar Bugti and unanimously agreed member of Senate Mushahid Husasain Syed will monitor the follow up of the agreement between government and Akbar Bugti. The constitution of the three-member committee stands for the development projects in the affected areas which could be completed without further delay for the welfare of the local population. The government desires to resolve all the issues through negotiation and reconciliation with mutual consultation to promote healthy political values in the country.

While addressing the passing out parade of the Pakistan Air Force cadets on Saturday, Prime Minister declared that Pakistan had no aggressive designs against any country. He appreciated the US decision to sell F-16 aircraft to Pakistan and termed it a "red-letter day" for the Pakistan Air Force.

"Pakistan does not harbour any aggressive designs against any country, but will continue to maintain minimum level of deterrence, needed to defend our homeland," he said in his address at the passing out parade of Pakistan Air Force cadets. He said the US decision was "good" and "very important", as the government believed that its armed forces should have credible equipment. Shaukat Aziz said a strong and professional Air Force was vital in determining the outcome of a conflict. He, however, reiterated "we have no aggressive designs but will protect country's integrity at all costs." Pakistan, he said, believes in peace and wished to live in harmony with its neighbours.

Prime Minister said Pakistan's defence based on five pillars which included economic sovereignty, credible defence capability, smooth functioning of political process, governance structure that ensures speedy justice and improved service delivery, and conducive international environment-friendlier Pakistan.

Talking to a group of British School students, Prime Minister said that the Kashmir issue cannot be put on the backburner and both India and Pakistan have to show courage to resolve it. He said that resolution of this long standing issue is necessary for lasting peace in the South Asian region.

Nawab Akbar Bugti, who is leading the aggrieved Baloch tribes, received the government delegation in Dera Bugti which indicates softening of the otherwise rigid positions. Pronouncements by the Prime Minister as well as the leaders of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League are also well timed and will marginalize lobbies that are trying to sell coercive methods to the government for subduing resistance. The President's declaration at his meeting with the ruling party parliamentarians, that there will be no military operation in Balochistan, also strengthens the hands of the government negotiators dealing with the agitated Baloch tribal chieftains.