PM Ashraf offers dialogue to all Baloch leaders
10 October, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Tuesday said the government was ready to hold dialogue with all Baloch leaders with an open heart, but faith in the constitution and respect for the Pakistani flag were imperative.
Speaking during his first appearance in the Senate after taking oath as chief executive of the country, Raja said resolution of the Balochistan issue was his top priority and he had met with all the stakeholders in this regard.
"The Balochistan issue is a political as well as administrative one and I am cognizant of the matter. I reiterate the government's commitment of talking to all the Baloch leaders with an open heart. But let me add that conviction in the constitution and respect for the flag is also necessary," he said.
He asked the Baloch leadership to help resolve the Balochistan issue, and asked Baloch leaders to take part in the forthcoming electoral process as elected leaders were true representative of the Baloch people.
"I assure you that elections will be free, fair and transparent," he said, adding he had devised a transfer policy under which no officer from Grade 17 to Grade 22 would be promoted unless he/she had served in Balochistan for three years. He said the most talented officers had been appointed in most of the Balochistan districts and the process would be completed soon with the appointment of officers in all the districts.
Condemning the murders of Dr Dawood, Dr Abdul Hameed and others in Khuzdar district, the prime minister said he had already directed for administrative action. He asked the senators to either form a committee or formulate recommendations and the government would welcome such a move. He added he would be available for a meeting with the senators from Balochistan for devising a strategy to resolve the situation.
He said he had directed for releasing funds for Kachhi Canal project, which would provide water to 100,000 acres of agricultural land in the province. This project would be completed by next March.
Raja welcomed the proposal for a zero hour and said he would be happy to answer questions in any House of parliament during the zero hour, as he was answerable to both the Houses. He also directed release of development funds for parliamentarians, which had lapsed last year and said despite financial constraints the parliamentarians would be accommodated.
About OGRA, he said the regulatory body was deciding petroleum prices on a weekly basis in line with the international market practice. The government, he said, was still providing subsidy of billions of rupees on POL prices. However, he said he had directed for targeted subsidy in order to provide relief to the poor.