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PM Gilani confident of mainstreaming Baloch

05 June, 2012

QUETTA: Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani receiving Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani at Staff College Quetta.
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QUETTA: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Monday said the government has opened engagement with Baloch leadership, and hopes to mainstream them in national politics.

Speaking at the Command and Staff College, Gilani said the people of Balochistan were patriots and talented, and they only needed opportunities, for which the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) was making efforts. To a question about the maintenance of peace and resolution of the grievances of the people of Balochistan, he said the incumbent government attaches great importance to Balochistan and considers it heart of the country.

"On the demand of the Balochistan government, we increased their share in the 7th NFC Award to Rs 120 billion from Rs 40 billion, gave provincial autonomy under the 18th Amendment in the constitution, initiated Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan through which thousands of jobless youth of Balochistan were given jobs, and took practical steps for empowering the people of Balochistan on their resources," Gilani stated.

He said he has instructed the Balochistan chief secretary to identify 35,000 graduates of Balochistan who will be given jobs by the government. He noted that 1,500 jobs of Federal Levies Force have already been provided to Balochistan, while 1,500 more would be sanctioned for the Baloch youth. The prime minister said the federal government has allocated Rs 6 billion for scholarships to Baloch youth and created opportunities for them to get education in prime institutes of the country.

The premier said economic growth, national security, and democratic pluralism were government's top priorities. Referring to the rise in the petroleum products' prices in the country, he said economic development and national stability were correlative and noted that change in prices of petroleum products, like other countries, had also affected Pakistan.

On the US-Pakistan relations, Gilani said, "We are trying to have an open, transparent, and mutually beneficial relationship with the US based on our national interests." "We have improved our relations with all our neighbours including Afghanistan, India and Iran," he said, adding, "We want to play our role in the stability and peace in Afghanistan."

The prime minister observed Pakistan was paying special attention to making its neighbourhood peaceful, stable, and prosperous. He, however, made it clear that the country has an important role to play in the region and it should be taken on board on the decision-making process about the future of Afghanistan. He said a thriving, prosperous, transparent, and peaceful Afghanistan was in the interest of Pakistan.

The prime minister said Pakistan was facing many challenges including terrorism and security, which were country's most important issues. "Ongoing spate of terror has caused billions of dollars losses to Pakistan," he said and mentioned that over 30,000 soldiers and law enforcement personnel and 5,000 civilians had laid down their lives in the fight against global and regional terrorism. Gilani said nations prosper under democracies and thrive in the strength of their democratic institutions. "Parliament, executive, and judiciary, all have to work well within their given domains for people's will," he said.


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