Governor's rule clamped on Balochistan
14 January, 2013
QUETTA: The government on Sunday night conceded to the demands of Quetta bombing victims and protesters across the country and announced to impose governor's rule in Balochistan, effective from today.
Talking to the protesters who had been staging a sit-in for the past three days in Quetta, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf announced in principal to invoke Article 234 of the constitution and impose governor's rule in the province, as demanded by the bereaved families and political and social circles.
According to reports, the PM announced on the night between Sunday and Monday that a notification of the decision would will be put forward on Monday morning.
He hoped that as an executive of the province, the governor would have the culprits involved in the bomb attacks arrested. He also said that the FC had been given all powers of police in the province.
The prime minister asked the protesters to inform the governor and the FC commander about their problems, adding that action would be taken immediately.
He assured the protesters that the federal government would fully cooperate with the governor.
He said that false cases registered against members of the Shia community would also be withdrawn.
The prime minister also offered Fateha for those who had lost their lives in the recent bomb blasts and other acts of terrorism.
Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira and other officials accompanied the prime minister on this occasion.
To a query regarding the deployment of army in the province, the prime minister said that army could be called in anytime for civilian administration's help.
Earlier, Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani and his entire cabinet said that they were ready to resign, but had requested the government not to impose governor's rule in the province. The chief minister said that he was prepared for in-house change but said that no unconstitutional measures be taken to bring about change.
Also on Sunday, MQM chief Altaf Hussain, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali and PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had all urged Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to impose governor's rule in Balochistan.
The PM had assured Altaf Hussain that governor's rule would be imposed, adding that he had also taken other coalition partners' proposals into consideration over the issue. Raja arrived in Quetta in the morning and had been holding consultations with coalition partners and other stakeholders to reach a consensus over the issue.
The premier had had telephonic conversation with Altaf Hussain, Nawaz Sharif, Asfandyar Wali, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Fazlur Rehman and BNP-A chief Senator Mir Israrullah Zehri.
During this conversation, the prime minister discussed with them in detail the prevailing situation in Balochistan with specific reference to the situation arising in the wake of terrorist attacks on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the leaders of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and members of the federal cabinet joined the chorus for the removal of Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani in the backdrop of unabated spree of violence in trouble-hit province.
Apart from resignation of Raisani, they demanded sacking of Balochistan police and FC inspectors general for their inability to control law and order in the province.
The demand by PPP leaders and members of the cabinet in a letter to President Asif Ali Zardari was triggered by over 85 killings in sectarian incidents in which Hazara community was targeted.
It was the latest one in the spate of demands already made by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and other opposition parties. Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Nadeem Afzal Chan, members of the federal cabinet Sheikh Waqas Akram, Mustafa Nawaz Kokhar and Ahmed Yar Hiraj, and PPP leader and special assistance to the Prime Minister Ch Fawad Hussain made the demand in the letter.
They had called Raisani a corrupt and incompetent person who could not understand issues of the province, and demanded that governor's rule be imposed in the province in case Raisani had refused to resign from his post. They said the provincial government had actually failed to maintain law and order in the province and even the Supreme Court had declared the provincial government illegal.
It is pertinent to mention that thousands of protesters have been braving chilly weather in Quetta to protest over killings of Hazara Shias in twin suicide attacks on Alamdar Road area of the city.
In sub-zero temperature, women and children spent two nights mourning the killings on the road, refusing to bury the bodies of the victims until the army takes control of the provincial capital.
Under Article 9 of the constitution, life is the fundamental right of every citizen of Pakistan, and the federal and provincial governments are duty bound to protect the life and liberty of the citizens.
The PM had arrived in the city to meet the families who had been refusing to bury their dead after the devastating bombings. Refusal to bury the dead is an extreme protest in Islam, where the deceased are normally buried the same day or the next day.
But families had said that they would not leave until their demands were met.
AFP had reported that up to 8,000 people, including women and children, had gathered at the protest and faced a cold night in the open with the coffins of more than 60 of the dead. "Quetta has become a killing field and we are protesting to stop target killings," said a protester who identified himself as Ali Raza.
"None of my relative was killed, but I am here to support the families who have lost their loved ones, and they have been sitting in the open in this harsh weather for the past 48 hours," Raza said.