Monday, January 31, 2005

Strike call for Feb 12

Shujaat resumes talks today

By Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI, Jan 30: Pakistan Muslim League president Chaudhry Shujaat Husain is due here on Monday. Besides offering condolences to the Soomro family on the passing away of veteran politician Rahim Bukhsh Soomro , the PML chief is likely to resume talks with Baloch leaders he had met last week and see other important people.

During his last visit to Karachi, Chaudhry Shujaat held a meeting with Sardar Attaullah Khan Mengal, who advised him to see Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti to sort out the Sui issue.

The PML chief also held a meeting with another veteran Politician, Sardar Sherbaz Khan Mazari, to persuade him to use his good offices for arranging his meeting with Nawab Bugti.

However, informed sources told Dawn that Nawab Bugti, reacting to a statement made by ISPR chief Major General Shaukat Sultan, had declined to receive the PML delegation. But, the sources said, attempts were being made to find some other route to Dera Bugti.

Our correspondent in Quetta adds: Nawab Bugti has suggested that a committee comprising independent and impartial journalists, Ayaz Amir, Irshad Hussain Haqqani and Mushahid Hussain Syed, be set up to hear the viewpoints of the concerned parties on allegations levelled by the ISPR chief.

The JWP leader said that Mushahid Hussain in his capacity as a journalist, and not as a politician, should act as judge and Ayaz Amir and Irshad Hussain Haqqani as members of the jury investigate the allegations.

Govt to root out violence: Sherpao - Talks on with Baloch leaders

By Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, Jan 30: Federal Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao has said the government is determined to protect national assets.

Speaking to party workers at his residence here on Sunday, he said the government was trying hard to find a political solution to the Balochistan problem.

The government had already started negotiations with Baloch leaders to defuse tension and restore normality, the minister added. He emphasized that the government would not tolerate any violence in the province and was striving to find a peaceful and negotiated solution of the situation, he added.

Mr Sherpao said that Pakistan was trying to get rid of terrorism for which it had extended all-out support to the international community. He said his brother, Hayat Mohammad Khan, had been a victim of terrorism.

He urged workers of his party who were making preparations for the 30th death anniversary of Hayat Mohammad Khan Sherpao to forge unity in their ranks and prepare themselves for the next local bodies elections.

Mr Sherpao said his party would defeat the Awami National Party in the polls as it had done in the previous elections. A large number of party workers attended the meeting.

ANP vows not to allow construction of dam: Army operation in Sui alleged

By Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, Jan 30: The Awami National Party (ANP) has vowed not to allow construction of the controversial Kalabagh Dam and accept the hegemony of Punjab.

Speaking at a public meeting at Chowk Yadgar on Saturday, party central president Senator Asfandyar Wali alleged that the Kalabagh project had been planned for the prosperity and progress of Punjab.

The meeting was organised to commemorate the 17th death anniversary of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who led a non-violence movement against British colonialism in the sub-continent. The venue was decorated with party flags and banners.

"We are followers of Bachaa Khan and believe in non-violence, but will not allow any power to build Kalabagh Dam," Asfandyar remarked. He warned that no one could construct Kalabagh Dam and destroy Pukhtuns for the economic prosperity of others.

The ANP leader said the Kalabagh project was technically unsound, and asked the government not to waste time and resources on it. Asfandyar Wali accused the government of launching an unannounced military operation in Balochistan.

"On the one hand the government talks about a peaceful settlement of the issues while on the other it has initiated a military operation in Sui against Balochs." "They (government) targeted Pukhtuns in South Waziristan Agency and now has started an operation against Balochs in Sui and other parts of Balochistan.

The rulers should not forget the East Pakistan tragedy as the ongoing situation can lead the country to another debacle," he warned. He held out an assurance that the ANP would fully support Balochs in their struggle to secure their constitutional rights.

Paying tribute to Bachaa Khan, he said Ghafar Khan wanted peace in the subcontinent and always preached the philosophy of non-violence. Pakistan was holding talks with India, but when Abdul Ghafar Khan had suggested that the Kashmir dispute should be solved through negotiations, he had been declared a 'traitor', he said.

ANP senior vice-president Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour claimed that Pakistan had got independence as a result of long struggle led by Ghafar Khan. Criticising the MMA government policy, he said the NWFP Assembly had passed a Shariat bill, but did not implement Islamic laws in the province.

The meeting passed resolutions demanding that the government should cancel privatisation of Wapda and end the military operation in Balochistan.

Strike call for Feb 12

By Our Correspondent

QUETTA, Jan 30: The alliance of four Baloch nationalist parties has given a call for a strike in the province on Feb 12 in protest against deployment of army in Sui and looting of Balochistan's resources.

The alliance has also demanded the arrest of the security forces officials involved in assault on a lady doctor. The Pukhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party had earlier given a strike call for the same day on the drought issue. The alliance and the PMAP have agreed to protest jointly on the Sui and drought issues.

Speaking at a press conference at the press club, Balochistan National Party (Mengal) Secretary Habib Jalib Baloch, Jamhoori Watan Party General Secretary Sardar Naiz Breach and Dr Ishaque Baloch of the National Party criticized the provincial government for handing over the security of Sui to federal forces.

They alleged that the federal government had planned to evacuate 500 villages in Sui and establish a cantonment and it had used the pretext of protection of installations to deploy army for the purpose.

They refuted the Inter-Services Public Relations' claim that tribesmen had sold the land to the government and maintained that the Dera Bugti district nazim and local tribal elders had denied that the 400 acres had been sold.

The leaders claimed that the government wanted to establish cantonments to complete the Gwadar project and explore untapped resources in the province despite the fact that the Balochistan Assembly had unanimously adopted a resolution against such a move.

Ponam opposes cantonments in Balochistan

By Our Correspondent

SUKKUR, Jan 30: Speakers at a public meeting held under the auspices of the Pakistan Oppressed Nations' Movement on Sunday called upon the government to immediately withdraw troops from Balochistan and stop construction of cantonments in the province.

The central leader of the Pukhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Mr Mehmood Khan Achakzai, said the country was virtually under martial law and provinces were being run by corps commanders.

He said the main cause of disharmony in the country was the government's spending of income of small provinces on Punjab. He demanded that resources be distributed judiciously among all provinces.

Sindh National Front chief Mumtaz Bhutto described the federal system as the source of all ills and called for a change of basic nature in the system. He said that democracy and solidarity required every person to get his rights.

He said the army rule was being nurtured through the so-called democracy in the country. He also said that cantonments were not needed in the country. He said he feared that after Wana and Balochistan, an operation would be launched in Sindh and Rangers had already been deployed in Shikarpur, Garhi Yasin, Jacobabad and other towns of the province.

He alleged that Sindh police officials kept in touch with outlaws on mobile phones. He said almost half of the armed forces and personnel of other agencies were being used to provide security for two VVIPs while the common people had been left at the mercy of bandits.

Mr Mumtaz Bhutto said the two major parties of the country, the PPP and the Muslim League always joined hands with the establishment. Qadir Magsi called upon all the oppressed nationalities to join hands to get rid of the army rule.

He said the oppressed people could not get their rights till the army rule was ended. He said all hostels of the Sindh University had been vacated on the eve of Gen Musharraf's visit to Jamshoro. Zain Shah, Qamar Bhatti, Maulana Azizullah Bohio, Azhar Jatoi and Majeed Kanjoo also spoke on the occasion.

RESOLUTIONS: Resolutions adopted at the meeting criticized the army action against the people of Balochistan. They demanded that work on the Gwadar seaport be stopped and the project be handed over to the Balochistan government.

They called for resolving the Balochistan issue through dialogue. They condemned the Sui assault incident and demanded exemplary punishment of the culprits. They opposed the Kalabagh dam and Thal canal projects. Another resolution demanded autonomy for the Sindhi, Balochi, Pukhtun and Seraiki people in accordance with the 1940 resolution.

JWP sets terms for peace

By Our Correspondent

QUETTA, Jan 30: The information secretary of the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP), Senator Amanullah Kanrani, has said that withdrawal of army from Sui, arrest of criminals involved in the assault on a lady doctor and putting a stop to the campaign of character assassination of Baloch leaders are needed for building trust and restoring peace in Balochistan.

Speaking at a press conference at the press club here on Sunday, he said that denial of full autonomy to federating units, establishment of checkpoints and refusal to register an FIR against security forces who killed five tribesmen and wounded 23 others were some of the issues causing disharmony between the Baloch people and the federation.

Mr Kanrani rejected government's assertion that army deployment was aimed at protecting gas installations. He said that the government was not sincere in resolving the issue through dialogue and the Sui incident was a pre-planned drama to sabotage the efforts of the parliamentary committee and prepare ground for army deployment in the area.

He said tanks were used against enemies but moving them into Sui against civilians was a warning to tribesmen, either to keep quite or face the wrath troops. Senator Kanrani said that at present the main issue for the Baloch people was to protect their honour and until the Sui incident culprits were arrested and troops were withdrawn from Sui, negotiations would be meaningless.

He accused officials of the Sui police station of being biased in refusing to register an FIR on behalf of tribal elders against the DSG and FC men for killing five tribesmen and injuring 23 others.

The JWP senator said that the leadership of his party would not succumb to pressures and never compromise on the rights of the Baloch people. He said that they would continue their struggle against oppressors.

Weapons seized: The Kharan Rifles, a wing of the Frontier Corps, has seized arms and ammunition from the general Patuk area, but has made no arrests. Frontier Corps sources here said on Sunday that militiamen, acting on a tip, had raided the area and found weapons concealed under-ground.

The seized weapons include 12 RPG-7 rocket, six anti-tank mines, one air defence missile, five rocket launcher fuse, one Kalashnikov, one sub-machine gun, 12 7-MM guns, 765 rounds, 14.5-MM guns, 47 rounds and five mortar bombs.


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