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Imran Khan pledges rights for Balochistan

21 April, 2012

QUETTA: Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Friday vowed that his party would give Balochistan its due rights, hold dialogue with Baloch leaders and bring the province at par with developed areas of the country.

The PTI chief said this while addressing a rally at the Ayub Stadium Hockey Ground, where a large number of people had gathered to hear his speech amid rain and inclement weather.

Khan said the PTI would bring the killers of Akbar Bugti to justice. He blamed the incumbent government and some opposition leaders for the deteriorating situation in the province.

The PTI chief advised the estranged Baloch leaders to hold negotiations to reach a mutual settlement of the Balochistan problem, pledging he would fulfil all his promises.

He expressed his shock and dismay over the extra-judicial arrests, killings in custody, recovery of mutilated and bullet-riddled bodies, target killings of innocent people, general lawlessness and kidnappings for ransom.

Khan said a sizable number of people had left Balochistan and migrated to other provinces in fear following target killings of people from all walks of life, mainly teachers and educationists.

He was of the view that Balochistan could not develop as a model province without peace and tranquility in the province and protection of citizens.

The PTI leader said no serious efforts had been made in the past to develop Balochistan and beat back its backwardness, adding that the government had laid more emphasis on launching military operations against its own people for no reason. All the past military operations in Balochistan had failed to provide any results, he said.

Khan said the rulers had always depended on military operations and were inefficient and incompetent to resolve the pressing problems of the people of Balochistan.

He blamed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif for the current situation in Balochistan. Khan alleged that Nawaz was instrumental in instigating the Baloch nationalists to boycott the past elections. Balochistan suffered the most for this decision, the PTI chief told his audience. If Baloch and Pakhtun parties had not boycotted the last general elections, the political situation would have changed on the ground, he observed. No one in this province would have been unsafe, he said. The Baloch, Pakhtuns and Hazara would have been living in peace and enjoying law and order in the province, the PTI leader added.

He defended the stand of some Baloch leaders, asking whom they should talk to for resolution of their issues and problems as no leader in the past had heard their issues. Now they were forced to seek complete independence, he said. Khan said Zardari, Gilani and Nawaz were incompetent rulers and they had failed to bring killers of Benazir Bhutto to justice. "If PTI got a chance to form a government, we will bring the killers of Akbar Bugti to justice," he told his audience in a firm manner.

"Nawaz Sharif is collecting people by distributing laptops and we will gather the people of Balochistan to bring lasting and durable peace," he added.

He claimed that some people had tried to scare him from visiting Quetta, adding that he had refused to submit to such false alarms and came to Balochistan to contribute his share in restoring peace in the province. "Where are the Rs 110 billion given to Balochistan under the NFC Award?" Khan posed a direct question to the provincial government. "Development of Balochistan is not possible as long as corrupt rulers are ruling this province and the country as a whole," he said.

The PTI chief promised to provide substantial development funds for Balochistan without any interruption, ensuring balanced development of the province. The process would continue till Balochistan is brought at par with other provinces, he said. "Development funds will not be handed over to MNAs or MPAs. They will not be granted any development funds. We will spend it directly on welfare of the people of Balochistan," he added. If the money received under the NFC Award was spent on the people of Balochistan, the ground situation would have been totally different, he said. Khan said he would bring justice to the entire country, adding that his plans would not be confined to Balochistan only. He said all the palaces built by the corrupt rulers would be converted into hospitals and educational institutions.

Khan said he was the first to raise voice against extra-judicial arrests and murders in custody as he believed that it would create hatred only and not serve any positive purpose. He said if PTI was given the opportunity, it would end the extra-judicial arrests and killings at once and the law of the land would be held supreme. The PTI leader invited the estranged Baloch leaders in self-exile to return to Pakistan and hold meaningful dialogue to resolve the pressing issues of Balochistan. He said he would fulfill all the promises he was making before the public gathering.

PTI president Makhdoom Javed Hashmi condemned the atrocities on the people of Balochistan, saying he remained a jail mate of Akbar Bugti during his political struggle. Akbar Bugti had announced to fight for the rights of Balochistan, Hashmi said. He advised Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Harbyar Marri, Brahmdagh Bugti and all other estranged Baloch leaders in self-exile to return and wage a struggle to liberate not only Balochistan but the whole Pakistan.


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