Thursday, April 07, 2005

Four rockets hit Kohlu ,Musharraf wants more autonomy for Balochistan

Four rockets hit Kohlu

QUETTA: Four rockets slammed into Kohlu on Wednesday, shattering windows at several homes, an official said. No one was reported injured in the attack.

Two rockets landed in a field near the homes of Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) workers in Kohlu, said Frontier Corps Lt Col Rizwan Malik. The two other rockets hit a wall around the houses. The blasts shattered windows but no one was injured, he added.

No one claimed responsibility and Lt Col Malik would not speculate who might be behind the attack.

Separately, saboteurs destroyed four power transformers by shooting at them in the Nushki area on Wednesday, resulting in a complete power blackout. The saboteurs managed to escape.

Concerned authorities are working to restore electricity to the area. ap

JAC seminar slams army role in Balochistan

Staff Report

LAHORE: Speakers at a seminar on Wednesday condemned the establishment of cantonments in Balochistan and military operations in the province.

The people of Balochistan have been denied their rights for many years, said IA Rehman, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan director, at the seminar titled ‘Balochistan issue and our responsibilities’. He said that the tribal system in Balochistan was a non-issue. He said the government was making lame excuses and the issue was really about provincial autonomy and human rights.

The seminar was arranged by the Joint Action Committee for Peoples’ Rights at the Dorab Patel Auditorium of the HRCP.

Meanwhile, a statement issued on Wednesday by the HRCP recounted recent instances in which leaders of opposition parties, including parliamentarians in Sindh and Punjab, had been booked under terrorism laws and said that it was “deeply disturbed” by the information. The statement said, “The HRCP believes that the draconian law is being used in an attempt to intimidate members of the political opposition and prevent them from participating in public rallies. Reports that threats have also been made that anyone participating in a protest will be tried under Anti Terrorism Act provisions add to our concern.”

Musharraf wants more autonomy for Balochistan’

* Shujaat says decision on Sindh’s political crisis in 48 hours

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League (PML) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said on Wednesday that the government would not allow anyone to commit excesses against the people of Balochistan.

“President Pervez Musharraf is in favour of giving more autonomy to Balochistan apart from its due share of rights,” Chaudhry Shujaat told Sher Ali Mazari, Nawab Akbar Bugti’s nominee for the three-member Bugti-government committee set up to implement the recommendations of the parliamentary committee on Balochistan, on Wednesday.

Recalling his meeting with Akbar Bugti, Chaudhry Shujaat said all three rounds were successful and “we have agreed to move the process forward”. He also reiterated that the government had given priority to developing Pakistan’s largest federating unit in comparison to the other three provinces.

“No efforts will be spared to remove the deprivations of the Balochis. However, the objections and suspicions of some circles of our efforts to tackle Balochistan’s problems are regrettable,” he added.

The government was taking all steps to settle Balochistan and the opposition should not politicise the issue for political gain, he said, adding that Balochistan would be prioritised in future development projects and the province’s people would not be ignored.

He also made it clear that national installations countrywide including in Sui would be protected at all cost. Chaudhry Shujaat and PML Secretary General Mushahid Hussain called on President Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday. They briefed the president about their tour of India and their meetings with Indian leaders in New Delhi. They also told the president about the progress of the parliamentary committee’s political consultations on Balochistan.

A decision regarding Sindh’s political crisis would be announced within the next forty-eight hours, PML president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain told a 300-member delegation of the PML’s Karachi chapter at Punjab House in Islamabad on Wednesday.

About PML Karachi’s president Bostan Ali Hoti and general secretary Aman Paracha’s resignation, Shujaat told activists not to be disappointed and the central leadership would take decisions on its workers’ problems on priority.

He praised the party’s “coordination at grass root level in Karachi” as a historical achievement, adding that the centre would sponsor Karachi division at all levels. Disciplinary action would be taken against anyone trying to raise a parallel party organisation, he warned.

PML general secretary Mushahid Hussain Sayyed said that a decision had been taken about Sindh’s political standoff, adding, “ A Karachi organisation has been established with the consultation of the centre.” He said the delegation was ample evidence that PML Karachi served as role model in party organisation. agencies

No compromise on Baloch rights: Bugti

ISLAMABAD: Nawab Akbar Bugti, Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) president, on Wednesday said he would not compromise on the rights of Balochis despite continuing talks with Pakistan Muslim League (PML) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and PML Secretary General Mushahid Hussain Syed. Bugti told BBC that a monitoring and implementation committee had been set up to resolve the crisis, but he would not disclose the details so that no one could derail the process. He said the committee led by Mushahid Hussain had started work and would review the proposals before making a final decision. Mushahid Hussain, while talking to BBC, also refused to reveal the details of the five-hour talks he and Chaudhry Shujaat held with Bugti for the third time. However, he said they had decided to form a three-member committee which would implement the decisions taken during the negotiations. Mushahid said Sher Ali Mazari would represent Bugti on the committee while the deputy inspector general of the Frontier Corps would represent the government. The third member of the committee will be the person whom both parties trust, he added. Mushahid, who is also a senator of the ruling PML, said both sides – the government and Bugti – had decided not to make their discussions public unless all issues related to the situation in Dera Bugti and Sui had been finalised. He said the general public was anxious to know if the tension in Balochistan had been defused and peace had been restored in the province. “All these things are happening. There was a crisis but it has been averted,” Mushahid added. sana

Biggest gas terminal in Quetta planned

By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, April 6: The biggest gas terminal of the country is being established in Quetta for supplying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to the rest of the country after finalizing a gas import project with Turkmenistan.

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Mir Mohammad Yousuf disclosed this during a meeting with the director general, National Logistic Cell (NLC), Major Gen Khalid Zaheer Akhtar, here on Wednesday.

He said that with the establishment of a gas terminal in Quetta over 1,500 local people would get jobs while LPG would be sent all over the country through NLC tankers. He said that the NLC would also launch container service for sending goods from Gwadar port to the Central Asian States.

The provincial chief minister said that Balochistan would prove to be the hub of economic and business activities in future and would also play an important role in boosting international trade due to its geographic importance.

He said that boosting of international trade from Gwadar to Taftan and Chaman was an important project of the country and for this purpose trade stations and warehouses would be constructed at various points on the Taftan-Quetta and Gwadar-Quetta highways.

"Around 3,000 jobs would be available with the establishment of trade stations and warehouses in Balochistan," Jam Yousuf said in the meeting. He said that trade centres would also be set up in Chaman and Taftan, and he added that land had been acquired in the border town of Chaman for establishing a trade centre and soon construction work on it would start.

He said that the federal government would provide funds and the provincial government would acquire land for these trade centres. The Balochistan chief minister said that Quetta would be the hub of trade and business activities as trade would be increased with neighbouring countries after completion of the Gwadar port and import of LPG from Turkmenistan.

He said that the government was also taking steps for constructing and repairing important national highways in the province so that trade activities could be boosted. The director general, NLC, briefed the meeting about its projects being launched in the province.

The additional chief secretary, Planning and Development, Major (retd) Nadir Ali; the senior member, Board of Revenue; the secretary, Communication, and other officials concerned also attended the meeting.

Rehabilitation project for Balochistan planned: Areas facing problems because of refugees

By Our Staff Correspondent

QUETTA, April 6: Federal Minister for States and Frontier Region (Safron) Sardar Yar Mohammad Rind has said a rehabilitation programme will soon be launched in areas which have faced problems because of Afghan refugees.

He was talking to newsmen on Wednesday at the ceremony of handing over 200 tents by UNHCR Pakistan Chief Guenete Guebre Christos donated for flood affected people of Dhadar area of Balochistan.

The minister said the government was making all out efforts for the early repatriation of Afghan refugees to their homeland. He said the influx of Afghan refugees had put a great burden on the economy and had increased the problems of local people.

"Residential areas were badly affected because of the presence of Afghan refugees in various cities and towns of Pakistan for the last 25 years," Sardar Rind said, adding that the UNHCR has for the first time promised to extend financial assistance and cooperation to the government for the rehabilitation of local population.

He said that other international donors would also join hands with the UNHCR in the rehabilitation work and soon a conference would be organized in Islamabad. Earlier, the UNHCR country chief said that the UN organization would provide all possible help for the rehabilitation of the people affected by the presence of Afghan refugees. He said the UNHCR would also cooperate in the completion of two water projects in Bolan district.

VIOLATION: The Balochistan Bar Association has demanded that the government should strictly implement the verdict of Supreme Court in the elevation of judges for the apex court in order to uphold the merit of seniority list.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday Mohammad Wasay Tareen president of the BBA said that government should respect the Supreme Court's unanimous judgment of 1996 in Al-Jihad trust judges case that has determined the appointment in the apex court.

"The government in violation of the judgment of Supreme Court has elevated two judges from NWFP and Sindh that deprived the senior most Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court to be promoted as judge in the Supreme Court," Mr Wasay claimed.

He said that President Musharraf and other high officials of the federal government have verbally committed to allay the deprivation in Balochistan but in practice the government negates its promises while referring to recent promotions in Supreme Court.

The president of BBA claimed that violation of the seniority list in elevation of judges would badly affect the junior judges of BHC to be promoted as chief justice in the court.

He also regretted over the remarks expressed by the chief justice of Supreme Court and senior most judge of the court in today's newspapers on the elevation of judges stating that government and judges should honour the verdict of the court in judges case.

POLICEMAN KILLED: A police constable was killed and another injured when unknown armed men opened indiscriminate fire on them near Nawan Killi area, late Tuesday night.

According to police sources, constables Habibullah and Tariq Javed caught from Bashirbad area involved in motorcycle snatching. When the policemen were taking the accused to airport police station two armed men intercepted them near Nawan Killi and opened fire with automatic weapons, injuring the policemen seriously.

The armed men fled. The senior police officers took both the injured policemen to civil hospital where Habibullah died. The condition of constable Tariq Javed is also serious.

Recovery of Baloch activists demanded

By Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI, April 6: The Balochistan Yekjehti Committee has appealed to the chief justice of Sindh High Court to take suo moto notice for the recovery of Dr Imdad Baloch, chairman, Balochistan Students Organization (Muttahida), and his colleagues

Imdad Baloch and Yusuf Baloch, Ghulam Rasool Allah Nazar, Naseem Baloch, Nawaz Ali, Akhtar Nadeem and others were arrested by the law-enforcement on the night between March 24 and 25 from Gulistan-i-Jauhar and were shifted to unknown place.

The committee, comprising Jamhoori Watan Party, National Workers Party, Communist Mazdoor Kisan Party, Communist Party of Pakistan, Labour Party, Mazdoor Kisan Party, Baloch National Movement, Baloch Rights Council, BSO Alliance, and Christian Democratic Union, pointed out that even after 13 days of their arrest, their whereabouts are still unknown and they have not been produced in any court.

Speaking at a press conference at Karachi Press Club on Wednesday, BYC leaders Ghulam Mohammad, Mohammad Salem Baloch, Omar Baloch, Salem Akhtar, Alta Ahmad, and Afar Galician said they were being threatened by agencies.

They made an appeal to the people to take up the Balochistan issue seriously and expose the repression of the people of Balochistan as it was no more an issue of Dera Bugti alone, but of entire of Pakistan.

On one side, the government was holding talks with Baloch leaders and on the other, their colleagues were being kidnapped. Terming the recovery of arms of Rs 50 million and siege of 350 soldiers in Dera as a conspiracy to pit Pakistani people against each other, they said the conscientious people of Pakistan would not be hoodwinked by the government.

They said that recent army action in Dera Bugti, where army had been brought during last two and half years, 67 people were killed including 32 Hindus. Accusing the government of unleashing state sponsored terrorism, they held the government responsible for the situation in Dera Bugti while Baloch people had so far adopted positive attitude.

"The government has been preparing for invasion by blocking supply of food and other eatable items in Kohlu and Kahan area. Those who were arrested on the eve of PONM strike on March 31 were yet to be released while launching army operation in Kali Qambrani, Misri camps women and children were being harassed and dozens of labourers were arrested.

These actions of the administration had created a new wave of unrest in Balochistan." They warned that construction of cantonments, Gwadar Port and so-called development projects the people of Balochistan were being forced to launch their resistance movement for attainment of their rights.

They said people of Balochistan did not need more cantonments as they wanted that instead of spending billions of rupees on mega projects, these should be utilized for providing basic amenities to the people who were more in need of roads, potable water, health and education facilities.

Arrest of Ponam workers criticized

By Bureau report

PESHAWAR, April 6: The Awami National Party has condemned the arrests of political workers during the strike called by the Pakistan Oppressed Nations' Movement on March 31.

According to a press release issued here on Wednesday, ANP's provincial organizing secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain alleged that the operators of secret agencies had ransacked private property on the University Road on the strike day.

He claimed that agencies' operators on purpose tried to make the event unsuccessful. He said the ANP took part in the strike "just for the goodwill of the poor masses". He paid tribute to volunteers who had "made the strike successful".

He said the government failed in its duty to provide security to the people. Raising voice for their demands was the basic right of the poor people, who were the main victims of price hike, he said. Suppressing the voice of people was an undemocratic act, he added. He demanded immediate release of all the detained activists.

KARACHI: Writ of law in Lyari demanded

By Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI, April 6: Speakers at a conference urged the government to take effective measures for the restoration of peaceful conditions in Lyari Town.

Entitled Peace and Lyari, the conference was organized by the Sindh National Council and chaired by its leader Dr Dodo Mehri.

The speakers attributed the ongoing gang-war and lawlessness in Lyari to the 'crime mafias' indulged in promoting drug trafficking. At the same time, they argued, the government could not absolve itself from the responsibility to establish it's writ. They said that the recurring incidents of killings and lawlessness had forced many families to move out of the area.

They regretted that the image of the locality was being tarnished and a false impression was being created that "it is a haven for criminal elements." In fact, they said, the locality had always been an 'island of peace' which had produced great personalities like Sir Haji Abdullah Haroon and Maulana Obaidullah Sindhi.

After the Partition also, Lyari had played a significant role in the struggle of democracy and towards achieving national rights for Sindh and Balochistan. The speakers criticized the role of political parties which, they said, had failed to perform their duties. They stressed the need for unity among people to foil conspiracies being hatched by vested interests to pit them against each other.

They were of the view that the performance of elected representatives was not up to the mark, and claimed that they were merely interested in minting money and seeking privileges while their constituencies still lacking essential basic facilities like water and power.

Those who spoke at the conference included Hussain Bakhsh Thebo, Bagh Ali Bughio and Lal Bakhsh Rind alias Comrade Lala Rind. In his concluding remarks, Dr Dodo Mehri highlighted the importance of Lyari Town and role of its people in the freedom movement and struggle for democracy.

He observed that crime mafias had hatched a conspiracy to destroy peaceful conditions in Lyari so that people of the locality could not play any role in the struggle of Sindh and Balochistan for their rights.

He urged youth of the locality to come forward and expose anti- people conspiracies by holding peace rallies in the area. The conference also adopted a number of resolutions demanding effective measures against unemployment among the youth and water shortage in Lyari. It also opposed the division of Hyderabad into four districts and urged people foil conspiracies against Sindh with full unity.

QUETTA: ATC sends 35 PMAP men to jail

By Our Correspondent

QUETTA, April 6: The Anti-Terrorism Court No1 has sent 35 members of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) on judicial remand to jail for creating chaos on the streets during the wheel-jam strike in Pishin.

The police submitted the charge sheet against 38 people and 35 of them were produced before the court on Wednesday. The judge, Muhammad Shaukat Rakshani, declared the remaining three people nominated in the case as proclaimed offenders for not appearing before the court.

The Pishin police had arrested PMAP activists on March 31 on the charges that they attempted to block the road when the governor was going to Yaro to inaugurate the foundation of a private university.

Meanwhile, the Quetta police the other day released 31 workers of the Balochistan National Party (Mengal) who had been arrested on the day of the wheel-jam strike from Sariab for burning tyres on the road and pelting stones on vehicles.

The master mediator

Ch Shujaat Hussain has made a third visit to Dera Bugti. A fortnight back, he had announced he would continue to hold daily sessions of the Senate committee on Balochistan till its report was finalized. Next day, he left for India leaving the committee high and dry. Instead of calling the committee meeting on his return, he again embarked on his shuttle diplomacy. Whatever results it has produced so far continue to be secret on his insistence.
Ch Shujaat might think he can resolve the China-Taiwan conflict during his forthcoming visit to Beijing, but he is likely to discover soon that he has lost credibility even with his late father's benefactor Nawab Akbar Bugti. The way the Chaudhry has been treated by those who matter in Islamabad has made him lose face a number of times and few think he is capable of delivering anything as far as Balochistan is concerned.
As Bugti has himself put it, the PML chief is sincere but does not have authority. The most recent example of his lack of leverage with those ruling from Islamabad is the failure to stop the ongoing friendly fire in Sindh. The threats to strip both Arbab Rahim and Sheikh Imtiaz from their party positions have turned out to be empty. The Arbab who enjoys the support of powerful quarters has continued with registering cases against the party president's protégé, who has found out that Ch Shujaat is a big cipher.
Over-the last few years the Chaudhry from Gujrat has tried to resolve political disputes in his favourite way of secret negotiations with a number of parties including the MQM, MMA, PPP, PML(N) and various factions of Muslim League.
The impression he has invariably conveyed is that he has little understanding of issues involved and no influence among those who send him for talks. The MMA was led to believe by him that General Musharraf would leave the military office by December 31 provided it supported the 17th Amendment. The alliance, which was desperately looking for some face saving device to continue to enjoy the government's favours readily agreed. It soon found it had been outmaneouvred by the wily general. Finally it concluded that the Chaudhry was no more than a decoy and broke off relations with him.
The master negotiator's attempts to rope in the PPP soon after the elections failed because the party thought it was no use talking to agents when it could directly bargain with the principals. It is indicative of his plight that while the regime has maintained contacts with the PPP over the last several years, it has not cared to take the PML president into confidence. That explains why he was taken by surprise when Sh Rashid maintained that talks had been held with Ms Bhuto's party for seats adjustment in the next election. First he denied this, then said perhaps the government was involved in the dialogue but the PPP leadership will have to talk to the PML before anything is finalized, little realizing that the role assigned to his party is to obediently follow the decisions made elsewhere.
Well briefed by the Indian Foreign Office about his real worth, the Congress leadership which had invited him did not care to send any party official to receive the PML delegation at Delhi airport. Another rebuff awaited him on his return to Pakistan. He told the press, as he had presumably told the Indians that he met, that clinging to UN resolution on Kashmir by Pakistan was sheer hypocrisy. Pat came the FO response: Pakistan's position on the core issue is still based on the UN resolutions and there could be no compromise on the basic position. This was an egg on his face.
He sometimes mumbles about the parliamentary committee headed by him not being allowed to work independently. Hidden hands, sometime in Islamabad, sometime in Balochistan have foiled whatever progress it had made. Secret diplomacy, which he considers his forte has however restrained him from disclosing their identity or the a committee's ground-breaking recommendations. Many think any recommendation not favoured by those who matter will always remain secret while those made public might be rejected by the nationalist parties in Balochistan. Mr Bugti might soon find he had been taken along the garden path much like the MMA.
Every meeting between Ch Shujaat and Bugti has been described as a breakthrough by the former. Little concrete however has so far emerged from the unending talks. Despite two sessions of parleys over the last two weeks and subsequent claims that the deadlock is over, the FC and the armed tribesmen face each other in eyeball to eyeball confrontation.
The Chaudhry says he has been given free hand by the President to work out a package. On several occasions he has promised like a potentate that Balochistan would get more than its people dream of. He has claimed his proposals have been accepted by the President and a surprise package is about to be announced. Four months have passed since the deadline given to his committee to finalize the recommendations elapsed. The people of Balochistan have been fed on promises without a single grievance having been redressed. In the meanwhile secret diplomacy continues.
The empty promises have added to the unrest in the province, which expresses itself both in militant acts and peaceful protests. Rail tracks and gas pipelines are being blown up, power transmission set up blasted, and rockets fired on FC posts. There is hardly a town in the province, which has not seen strikes and processions.
The opening ceremony of the Gwadar port, the government's showpiece in Balochistan, scheduled during the Chinese Premier recent visit has been postponed because of the precarious security situation in the area. The President says Bugti is only the chief of his tribe and has no right to speak on behalf of Balochistan. The Nawab retorts that the general has no business outside the GHQ.
Blissfully unaffected by all this Ch Shujaat continues his secret mission. He reports to the President what Bugti says and conveys to Bugti what General Musharraf wants. The arrangement suits those in control of Islamabad as this allows them time to create dissension in Balochistan, between tribal chiefs, nationalist parties and ethnic groups in order to continue to deny the province its rights. Many think he is no more than a letter box

Hail Chaudhry Sahib!

Where does power reside? In Dera Bugti or in Islamabad? Who should know better than Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain!
Chaudhry Sahib, a known patriot as he is, has been keen to settle the unrest in Balochistan. If this meant seeking an audience with the Bugti chief, he was ready for it. But the trouble was that the Nawab wouldn't agree to receive him. Why, because he was skeptical of his credibility. That he lacked authority. Later when the situation got worse and a bloody clash had occurred between Bugti warriors and the semi-military forces and a parliamentary group had called on him, Mr Bugti agreed to meet Shujaat Sahib along with Mushahid Hussain.
Now Shujaat Sahib has already made three visits to the Dera, which reportedly have resulted in some sort of an agreement. The terms of the deal have been kept secret as these have yet to be cleared by the "boss". Bugti has also desired that as a part of the agreement, a monitoring team would also be appointed to ensure that the government of Pakistan keeps its word.
Amazing to see how the mighty government of Pakistan has had to stoop so low to see that its writs runs in a small part of the country. It is now an old story the way the rape incident was allowed to linger on, how the provincial government more or less remained a mere spectator (although law and order is essentially a provincial subject). Where did the government go wrong? It let things drift from bad to worse because power is concentrated in the hands of practically one man.
Neither the Prime Minister nor the parliament can take any significant decisions on their own. And the provincial government as I said is in no position to make any meaningful contribution to a problem, which is constitutionally within its bailiwick. Does it behove the top leader of the ruling party to shuttle back and forth between Dera Bugti and Islamabad and act virtually as a go-between creating an impression that a local lord is as (if not more) powerful as the combined governments of Pakistan and Balochistan. Obviously something is very wrong with the kingdom of "Denmark" as Shakespeare put it.
If this episode was indicative of a come down on the part of Mr Shujaat, his recent yatra to New Delhi projected him a larger than life politician. It was interesting to see him assume the posture of a mature politician commanding a lot of weight and prestige. We all know what his position is, how much authority he really enjoys and how he is authorized to take a stand on matters of importance. And yet he spoke in India with great confidence on matters of high policy. Here I will focus on his observations on the Kashmir issue.
Chaudhry Sahib stated that Pakistan should give up its "hypocrisy" about the United Nations Resolutions on Kashmir. By saying so, wasn't he speaking India's language on the issue? After all what is the basis of Pakistan's case on Kashmir? If you take out the UN Security Council's resolutions, what are you left with? Our whole justification for our involvement with the fate and future of Kashmiris springs from our internationally recognized position as a legitimate party to the dispute relating to the occupied state.
Only someone ignorant of this hard fact can even hint at doing away with the UN resolutions. What more would Indian like to have in the matter from a Pakistani leader? If we wash our hands off our locus standi, why should India talk to us at all. On what grounds? India already considers Kashmir its internal matter. I wonder if Shujaat Sahib is even remotely cognizant of the damage he unwittingly has done to Pakistan's case on Kashmir.
This is not all. Our great leader went one step further. While the Indian leaders he met were telling him to stop the alleged cross-border terrorism he was hasty enough to respond with the remark, at a reception in New Delhi that we, both Indians and Pakistanis should not be afraid of terrorists. By implication conceding that those struggling for freedom in Kashmir are terrorists.
This must have been music to Indian ears. It appears that Ali Shah Geelani's plaints expressed during his meeting with the Q league leader fell flat on him. Does Mr Shujaat know what is presently going on in the occupied state? Is he aware of the fact that India has stepped up the brutal repression in Kashmir? Iftikhar Gilani, a credible journalist writing in a Pakistan weekly has given a graphic account of the increase in the atrocities perpetrated by the Indian troops there.
The excitement about the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Bus Service, he writes, has been dampened with the return of search operations and crackdowns in many parts of the state. And the new mopping up operations have started even though according to the state home minister, incidents of violations have decreased by 50% since 2002. India has also, reports Iftikhar, begun hunting political leaders.
According to him a list of 5000 people has been prepared for arresting them under PSA - the Public Safety Act. Ali Shah Geelani's frustration was not without reason. He has cause to be aggrieved at the unending atrocities and the arrests of his close colleagues. No wonder he stayed away from the reception at the Pakistan Embassy on March 23.
Chaudhry Shujaat while talking to senior journalists in Lahore on return from Delhi has said that he was very much impressed by the fact that on vital issues of national interest, the entire Indian elite - the government and the opposition "are united and speak with one voice", while "we lack such unity and consensus".
A good point but have you Chaudhry Sahib, ever done some thinking as to why it is so? Why in the face of intransigence and inflexibility on the part of Indian leadership did you unnecessarily show flexibility on issues of vital national importance? Do you think you were voicing the feelings of the people of Pakistan when you were dropping broad hints of abdicating our historic and vital stand on Kashmir flowing from unanimous UN Security Council Resolutions?
Was it politic on your part to echo the Indian position on the struggle going on in Kashmir? Did you realize that the government and the opposition in India have launched a vigorous and vicious campaign to keep us militarily weak by pressuring Washington not to sell F-16s to us?
Did you tell the Indians to be reasonable about the Baglihar dam and show some flexibility and not to go ahead with yet another dam on Kishan Ganga? Was it necessary for you to request Mr L K Advani to lay the foundation stone of a temple in Lahore while the Indians wouldn't even allow us to avail of the Quaid-i-Azam's Bombay house for the Pakistan consulate?
Let us have peace and normalisation with India by all means, Chaudhry Sahib but not entirely on India's terms and not at the expense of the poor Kashmiris and our vital national interests.

Balochs should not be deprived of their rights’

By Our Correspondent

HUMAN Rights Commission of Pakistan Director IA Rehman said there was a dire need to provide a sigh of relief to the people of Balochistan by allowing them to live a life of their own choice instead of depriving them of their basic rights.

He said this while addressing a seminar on ‘Balochistan’s situation and our responsibilities’ Wednesday under the auspices of Joint Action Committee for Peoples’ Rights.

He said necessary steps are yet to be taken to stop atrocities being perpetrated on the people of Balochistan.

Mazhar Leghari, programme officer South Asia Paternership, said in the wake of 27 large housing schemes being planned and built, the locals are not only being displaced from the Gwadar town but from the adjoining areas of Sur Bandar as well.

Gwadar Port Trust run by the uniformed people has cancelled the New Town housing scheme, the only scheme introduced by the district government for the fishermen. He said the old fish harbour has been evacuated and the fishermen have no place to park their boats and off load catch.

Deep-sea fishing rights have been contracted out solely to the trawlers mafia associated with the retired and working military officers.

Fishermen operating individually are barred from fishing into deep sea. Since last four years, fishermen have been restricted to fish within the limits of 12 nautical miles, he further maintained.

The population of Gwadar has increased from 52,000 to 100,000. The newcomers were mostly non-Baloch. The entire local population will be displaced as the projects allied to the port will be undertaken in the couple of years. There was no rehabilitation plan for those displaced.

He said estimates suggest the port city will attract million outsiders during the coming decade and in the following decade Gwadar will be a city of 5 million people mostly outsiders. He said this kind of development was giving rise to the perception among locals that they will be systematically turned into a minority in their own homeland just in one go.


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