Jun 17, 2008

Balochistan: BNP Sets Out Conditions for Talks

Sample ImageThe Balochistan National Party has agreed to participate in an all party conference on the region on the proviso that the military operation were halted, the army recalled from the region, cases registered against Baloch leaders withdrawn and the missing persons released.

Below is an article published by the Daily Times:

The Balochistan National Party (BNP) on Monday [16 June 2008] would forward its terms to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led federal and provincial governments for its participation in a proposed all-parties conference (APC) on Balochistan.

The terms were decided in a meeting of the central committee of the BNP and announced by BNP President Sardar Akhtar Mengal in a press conference at Mengal House. Mengal said no Baloch was conspiring against Pakistan, adding that they were struggling politically for the constitutional rights of the Baloch people.

Baloch nationalists will talk to the government if the military operation was halted, the army recalled from the region, cases registered against Baloch leaders withdrawn and the missing persons released.

“We do not question the sincerity of Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Muhammad Aslam Raisani or that of the PPP. We object to their lack of authority. The army and the intelligence agencies still have control,” he said. “Pervez Musharraf and Owais Ahmed Ghani, whom we view as the murders of the Baloch people, are still on their posts. How can the government provide us justice? Saying sorry does not heal our injuries.”

The BNP chief said that there was no change in the government’s ‘oppressive’ polices towards the Baloch. The government claims releasing some political workers, but then it is arresting the others.

Mengal alleged the intelligence agencies took in custody BNP Provincial Information Secretary Abdul Khaliq Baloch from Hub. Mengal said it was difficult to estimate the damage done to the federation by the five-year long military operation in Balochistan.

He said in certain areas the operation was still underway and the human rights organisations and the media were denied access there.

Once these areas are opened up it would be possible to know how many people have been killed and displaced, Mengal said.

UN: Mengal also demanded a United Nations probe into the military operation in Balochistan and compensation for the victims.

Mengal said the Baloch had ‘serious objections’ to Islamabad’s Afghan policy.

The Baloch are not consulted while formulating the country’s foreign policy, although it has serious implications for them, he said.

Mengal said, the government in the past caused demographic changes in Balochistan by housing the Afghan refugees in the province, adding that it was now supporting hard-line elements in order to curb Baloch nationalists.

“Islamabad should stop interfering into the matters of Afghanistan because such policies directly affected the peace of Balochistan. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s foreign policy has always been dictated by dollars rather than principles,” he remarked.

Mengal said he would go to the UK as the doctors had advised him for medical treatment, but he could not do so because his name was in the Exit Control List (ECL).