Saturday, April 17, 2010

National Conference on ways to end woes of Balochistan started

By Saad Saud

ISLAMABAD—The national conference on the problems of Balochistan organized by Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) and Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) was inaugurated by Mir Baz Khan Khetran, member PPPP CEC and senior vice President.
After words of welcome by Dr Maqsudul Hassan Nuri, Acting President IPRI, Dr Martin Axmann, Resident Representative HSF, in his opening remarks welcomed the wind of change that was visible in the shape of the NFC Award, Aghaz-e-Balochistan Package and the ongoing discussion centering on Balochistan and the 18th Constitutional Amendment. He said that though elements in Balochistan were suspicious about the implementation of these important steps it can easily be seen that things were changing for the better.

Mr Baz Khan Khetran in his presidential address blamed the centre for maltreatment of the Province since independence. Conspiracies were made against the province from the centre he maintained.

The alleged London Plan and the military operation that the Balochistan governor Bugti asked Mr Bhutto to launch were some of these. He said that the Haqooq-e-Balochistan Package launched by the PPP will face problems of implementation and in this connection mentioned the machinations of same hidden hands which he did not identify. He suspected that the wave of target killings that was going on was not the work of the BLA, neither Baloch dissidents, but the work of the hidden hands. He said most people who have been handling Balochistan problems have no knowledge about the province where there have been no land settlement and ownership of land belongs to tribes and clans, not to individuals. He said that like Afghanistan the power of the warlords was increasing and the youth were hostile to the federation. He concluded his speech by saying that the Baloch wanted a better, not greater Balochistan.
Abdul Basit Mujahid, lecturer in History, presenting his paper on Federalism and Centre-Province Relationship traced the history of the development of federalism in the advanced countries and attributed the weakness of Pakistani federation to the crisis of identity in Pakistan.

He said the ethnic diversity of the province must be appreciated and consultations must be held with all stake holders. He complained that one reason of unrest in Balochistan was the deprivation of the Pushtuns from political and administrative seats of power.

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