Current Affairs(20 Dec 2009 NewAgeIslam.Com)
Pakistan amends Baloch policy in a bid to end Baloch alienation

The 45-point package approved by Pakistan's Parliament on November 24 for Balochistan is an admission by the country's elected representatives that this province has suffered injustices which are responsible for the present insurgency.

On the face of it, the package, called "Aghaaz Haqook-e-Balochistan" (the beginning of the rights of Balochistan), reflects the parliamentarians' sincere desire to end Baloch alienation at any cost. Some of the demands of the common Baloch are: withdraw the Army from the province; produce the missing Baloch people; accept the rights of the Baloch to the natural wealth of the province; stop work at Gwadar Port and stop the construction of Army cantonment in the areas of Dera Bugti and Kohlu, which are worst hit by Baloch resistance. --Samuel Baid

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The Other Voice - Meanwhile Pakistan amends Baloch policy

By Samuel Baid

It appears the Obama effect is compelling Pakistan to reconsider its Balochistan position and discard Musharraf's policy of using only brute force; late November saw fresh initiatives taken by Pakistan's Parliament to work out a political solution

The 45-point package approved by Pakistan's Parliament on November 24 for Balochistan is an admission by the country's elected representatives that this province has suffered injustices which are responsible for the present insurgency.

On the face of it, the package, called "Aghaaz Haqook-e-Balochistan" (the beginning of the rights of Balochistan), reflects the parliamentarians' sincere desire to end Baloch alienation at any cost. Some of the demands of the common Baloch are: withdraw the Army from the province; produce the missing Baloch people; accept the rights of the Baloch to the natural wealth of the province; stop work at Gwadar Port and stop the construction of Army cantonment in the areas of Dera Bugti and Kohlu, which are worst hit by Baloch resistance.

Under the leadership of Nawab Akbar Bugti, the Baloch were demanding their political and economic rights and due human dignity. An , alliance of four Baloch political parties, which met a Special Parliamentary Committee, headed by ruling Quaid Muslim League Secretary-General Mushahid Hussain in 2004, had, in addition to the above mentioned demands, wanted cases against Baloch political leaders and activists withdrawn, general amnesty for those accused of anti-State activities and stoppage of work on mega projects.

Hussain returned to Islamabad and wrote his recommendations, which, if accepted, would have brought peace to Balochistan. But ; General Pervez Musharraf, who was obviously inspired by the devastating affect of the United States' firepower used in Afghanistan and Iraq, decided his own firepower to , bomb the Baloch demands forever. He got Akbar Bugti and his men killed in August 2006. Thus, a movement for political and economic rights became a violent movement for separation of Balochistan from Pakistan. The present Pakistan People's Party-led Government and parliamentarians are trying to win over Sullen Baloch. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani constituted a committee under the leadership of Senator Raza Rabbani to visit Balochistan and make proposals for ending the insurgency. The Baloch nationalists boycotted the visit because, they said, the committee included only non-Baloch nationalists. Thus, Senator Raza Rabbani's proposals, which he put in Parliament on November 24, had no support from the Baloch nationalists.

Raza Rabbani's proposals, which reportedly had the Army's approval, announced that the Army would be replaced in Sui district with the Frontier Corps (FC) in Balochistan. This proposal sounds like a revolutionary concession to the angry people of Balochistan. But, they say, only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches: the Rabbani Committee seemed to have overlooked Baloch resentment against FC, too. According to them, both the Army and the FC are equally hostile to the Baloch population.

The Rabbani Committee does not say how its proposal will remove the Baloch complaints against the ISI's activities such as quietly killing Baloch leaders and activists and causing disappearances. It says a committee, under a retired High Court judge will be appointed to identify missing persons but it does not say how ISI's anti-Baloch activities will be stopped. ISI's activities in Balochistan seem beyond the oversight of world's human rights organisations. A few years ago, former Chief Minister of Balochistan Akhtar Mengal was caught and put in a cage in Karachi for many days. Pakistan's human rights organisations protested, but within the constraints of Musharraf's military rule and a captive judiciary.

In April this year, three Baloch leaders who were consulting their lawyers in their chambers in Turbat, were tied with ropes by alleged ISI operatives and dragged out of the lawyers' chambers like animals. A week later, their mutilated bodies were found in a nullah.

There were prolonged agitations -- to no avail.

Nawab Akbar Bugti's campaign, for which he was killed, was not for secession but economic and political rights. The province was very irregularly paid royalty for its natural resources like gas much of which came from Bugti's fields. How irregular the royalty payment was reflects in Parliament's approval of paying Rs 120 billion as gas royalty for 30 years from 1954 to 1992.

The Rabbani proposals, as recommended by Parliament, also promise to compensate denial of political rights by giving Balochistan provincial autonomy. This is a confusing promise. The 1973 Constitution already provides for provincial autonomy. But in the past 36 years no government has honoured this provision. The Rabbani proposals don't make it clear whether the Government intends to honour the existing constitutional provision for provincial autonomy in respect of Balochistan or give this province a special status. The latter choice may invoke bitter opposition especially in Punjab where sixty years of negative propaganda has given Baloch an image of traitors to Pakistan.

The negative propaganda describes Baloch Sardars as exploiters who are held responsible for the poverty of their people. The Bugti, the Marri and the Mengal Sardars are called trouble makers.

This propaganda, which might have been designed and sponsored by the Army and its intelligence agencies, claims the Baloch already have a government-in-exile established by militants in 2005 with headquarters in Jerusalem. According to this propaganda, the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) has its headquarters in Kandhar where it has the support of RAW and CIA.

Source: http://www.dailypioneer.com

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