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Baloch leaders to boycott APC

20 February, 2012

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LAHORE: Senior Baloch nationalist leaders are likely to boycott the All Parties Conference (APC), being hosted by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, in the wake of a resolution on Balochistan, tabled in the US Congress recently.

Though the government is yet to announce the date for the APC on the Balochistan issue, this is going to be the second moot in the last five months which is likely to take place without senior Baloch leadership.

Expressing a clear no-confidence over the way the PPP government was handling the Balochistan situation, senior Baloch leaders like Akhtar Mengal, Hasil Bazinjo, Talal Bugti had boycotted the APC in September 2011 and the majority of the Baloch have once again decided not to attend it.

"The entire nation knows the level of government's seriousness in addressing the grievances of the Baloch. There is no use of attending any conference which is being held without any sincerity," said Sardar Akhtar Mengal, a former chief minister of Balochistan and president of Balochistan National Party while talking to our sources from Dubai.

Akhtar Mengal also said he was surprised to know that a lot of hue and cry was being raised in Pakistan about the US resolution calling for the right to self-determination of the Baloch, though it contained nothing new.

Mengal said a piece of paper read aloud in the US Congress had bothered the government so much that the PM had hurriedly announced an APC. But did the PM listen to the cries and woes of the Baloch families whose members are being murdered without any break and whose bullet-riddled bodies are found every other day, he asked.

About his party's stance on the US Congress resolution, Mengal said the draft was tabled just a couple of days ago in the US, but his party (BNP), which came into existence in 1988, had added the slogan of right to self-determination for the Baloch in its manifesto.

"I am really surprised that what is new in that resolution which has upset the rulers that much. They should have paid attention to the troubled province much before that piece of paper came to surface," said Mengal.

Senior Vice President of National Party and a senior parliamentarian, Senator Hasil Bazinjo, whose party had also boycotted the last APC, told our sources that he was perplexed as to why the government was holding the APC which would be nothing but a show of point scoring over Balochistan.

"What the APC will recommend, certainly that has already been promised by PM in his speech when he announced a package for Balochistan. "Therefore, there is a need to implement that package in letter and spirit, rather than going for merely rhetoric," added Hasil Bazinjo.

Bazinjo also asked whether the APC, as announced by the PM, would expose the elements responsible for killing of the people of Balochistan and address the issue of missing persons. He said if the government couldn't answer these questions, what's the use of convening an APC.

He also said that immediate attention was needed towards the law and order situation in Balochistan. Jameel Bugti, the son of former Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Akbar Bugti, when contacted also termed the announcement of APC by the PM merely wastage of time. He declared attending it out of question.

Shahzain Bugti, the senior leader of Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP), and grandson of Baloch leader the late Nawab Akbar Bugti, said that so far he had not received any invitation from the government regarding the APC, but he was sure that it would be held sans the true affectees of Balochistan.

Bugti, voicing concern over the targeting of the Baloch including women and children, said the recent murder of his close relatives in Karachi (wife and daughter of Bakhtiar Domki) was a clear reflection of the fact where does the country stand now.

He said the government would only gather people of his choice in the APC and would once again have no solution for the people of Balochistan, which was passing through the most critical phase.

End.

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