An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan convicted former Balochistan Chief Minister Sardar Akhtar Mengal of taking two army personnel hostage and sent him to police custody till January 5, 2007.
Mengal's sentence was confirmed by defence counsel Wazeer Hussain Khoso after the court pronounced the verdict yesterday, the Daily Times reported.
A large number of supporters of Mengal, who heads the Balochistan National Party, staged a protest against the verdict, overseen by the BNP (Mengal) in Karachi.
Mengal and his four employees were charged with abducting two army personnel, Havaldar Qurban Hussain and Lance Naik Fayaz Ahmed, taking them hostage at the Chief Minister's residence in Karachi's Darakshan neighbourhood and torturing with the intention of killing them on April 5, 2006.
The hostages were released after police raided the house.
The court had issued non-bailable warrants for life against the BNP leader. On December 9, Mengal's employees Nasarullah Mengal, Ghulam Hyder Langah, Mehboob Ali Satti and Ghulam Qadir were sentenced to an aggregate of 45 years in prison after they were found guilty of taking the armymen hostage and torturing them.
The appeal against the conviction of the employees is pending in the Sindh High Court.
Mengal was the Chief Minister of Balochistan when Pakistan conducted the nuclear tests in 1998.
The government was considering to grant voting rights to outsiders only if they stayed there for 50 years, Dawn reported.
The federal government is also studying a proposal to bring uniformity in gas prices across the country for the calculation of gas development surcharge to increase Balochistan's share, it said.
Some of these proposals of the parliamentary committee on Balochistan, led by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, were discussed last week with Baloch parties. The response to the proposals was positive, Baloch Finance Minister Syed Ehsan Shah said.
He said the committee considered the proposal that non-Baloch workers, investors or others should neither be given voting rights for 50 years in Balochistan nor should they be allowed to obtain national identity cards based on addresses in the province.
A senior government official said the federal ministries for law, interior and inter-provincial coordination would do their homework on legal parameters of the move before the Shujaat committee makes any firm commitment.