Immediate steps needed to restore peace in Balochistan: Shahbaz
07 March, 2013
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that stressed the need for taking immediate steps to restore peace in Balochistan and remove the sense of deprivation of the Baloch people.
He was talking to a delegation of Baloch leaders, led by Nawab Haji Lashkari Raisani, who joined the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz the other day.
Speaking on the occasion, Shahbaz said that upholding human rights and improving the situation in Balochistan were of vital importance.
He said that grievances of the people of Balochistan should be redressed. "If given an opportunity, the problems of the province will be solved without wasting any time." He said that the Punjab government had increased the quota of reserved seats for Baloch students in educational institutions of Punjab by 160 percent.
He said that the PML-N would be strengthened further with the joining of Nawab Haji Lashkari Raisani and other Baloch leaders. The participants of the meeting discussed the overall political situation of the country, especially in Balochistan, and other matters of mutual interest.
Former member of the provincial assembly Ismail Gujar and patron-in-chief of Hindu Council Dr Ramesh Kumar were also present on the occasion.
Welcoming the decision of Lashkari Raisani and other political leaders of Balochistan to join the PML-N, the CM said that the Punjab government was striving for promoting national solidarity and removing the sense of deprivation from the people of Balochistan. He said that people of all units of Pakistan were united and "their hearts beat in unison". He said that the people of Punjab had always extended all-out help and assistance to the people of other provinces in the time of need, and played due role for the promotion of inter-provincial harmony. He said that Balochistan, Sindh and KP houses would be constructed in Punjab, and that land had already been allocated for the purpose.
He said that Punjab had set a noble example of love, sacrifice and brotherhood by giving its share of Rs 11 billion to Balochistan under the National Finance Commission Award. He said every patriotic Pakistani was concerned over the situation prevailing in Balochistan, and that there was a need to solve the issue with the consultation and consent of all Baloch leaders.
The chief minister informed the delegation that the government had increased 2,566 seats for Baloch students in the educational institutions of Punjab. He expressed hope that the number of Baloch students studying in Punjab would cross the figure of 20,000 during the next five years.
He said that the Punjab government had also included the students of Balochistan, Sindh, KP, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Islamabad in its Laptops Scheme, Ujala Programme and the Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF). He said that the volume of PEEF had been increased to Rs 10 billion and an increase of Rs 2 billion was being made every year. He said that more than 40,000 students were given educational scholarships from the PEEF during the last five years. He said that no future government would be able to abolish his welfare programmes and the time would come when the amount of this fund would increase to Rs 100 billion.
Lashkari Raisani thanked the CM for increasing the seats for Baloch students in Punjab and said that there was a need to evolve a multi-dimensional policy to solve the problems of Balochistan.