Balochistan moot demands bringing stakeholders to table
10 September, 2012
QUETTA: Speakers on Sunday said power and violence are not a solution to any issue and urged that it was the need of the hour to bring actual stakeholders of Balochistan to the dialogue table.
Representatives of various political and religious parties, lawyers, civil society and journalists addressed a one-day conference titled 'Balochistan Issue, Solution and Progress', organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA). Participants included Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, PPP, PML-N, Balochistan National Party-Mengal, National Party, JUI, JI, Pakhtunkwa Mili Awami Party, Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadis, and ANP.
Renowned human rights activist and former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Asma Jahangir on Sunday said the army wants to exploit the resources of Balochistan and snatch the right of ownership of the Baloch people. "I receive threats as to why I visit Balochistan and what relation do I have with them," she said.
Asma said, "I'm agonised whenever mutilated bodies appear as I too am a mother and can feel the pain." She said she had filed a petition in 2007 in the Supreme Court wherein she had asked the ISI and MI as to whom were they accountable and under which law did they operate. She said the same question was raised by Farhatullah Babar in the Senate, upon which he received a reply from the security agencies that they were accountable to the Defence Ministry in operational sense but other accountabilities were state secret that could not be disclosed.
She said thousands of people had come up with evidences on who picked up their loved ones, but no arrests had been made so far. Asma said the representatives of Balochistan roamed around in supermarkets of Islamabad, adding that if they could not handle the situation, and fear for their lives, they should resign from the government.
Suggesting a way forward, the veteran lawyer said, "It has to be decided who is going to rule in Balochistan: civilians or the khakis; elections are to be conducted free and fair or by the ISI or MI?" She demanded a 'high-powered commission' should be created with fullest mandate of reaching out to all stakeholders and implementing their suggestions.
She said the commission should have the authority to take decisions and tell the army chief, "Mr Kayani this is what we the civilians want and you will do it."
She recommended that the Supreme Court should monitor the upcoming elections so that they could be transparent and genuine leadership could come to the fore.
Former SCBA head Ali Ahmed Kurd said target killings had turned Balochistan in general and Quetta in particular into a highly volatile place, adding that those silent on such acts were a party to it. He said this conference would not yield any results until the responsible were made accountable.
Acting president of BNP-Mengal, Dr Jahanzaib Jamaldini, said the conference had a positive aspect that the invited guests from across the country acknowledged the appalling situation in Balochistan and the damaged infrastructure. He said the term "disgruntled Baloch" was a contemptuous word for the Baloch as the hatred was not for one day rather a result of 64 years of deprivations.
Voice for Baloch Missing Persons Chairman Nasarullah Baloch said some genuine stakeholders were missing from the conference whose presence was necessary, adding that 450 mutilated bodies had surfaced of students, doctors and political activists.