Pakistan offers amnesty to rebel leaders to resolve Baloch issue
In what is being seen as last ditch attempts to save Balochistan province sliding into an all out civil war situation, the Pakistan government has offered amnesty to the leaders of the insurgency if they return to the country. Interior minister Rehman Malik told newsmen this week that, “all cases will be withdrawn against Baloch leaders if they return." Imtiaz Ahmad reports.world Updated: Feb 24, 2012 23:14 IST
In what is being seen as last ditch attempts to save Balochistan province sliding into an all out civil war situation, the Pakistan government has offered amnesty to the leaders of the insurgency if they return to the country. Interior minister Rehman Malik told newsmen this week that, “all cases will be withdrawn against Baloch leaders if they return."
The offer has been made to Baloch leaders Brahamdagh Bugti and Hyrbyiar Marri. It is a follow up to government attempts to bring the leaders of the insurgency to the negotiation table. On behalf of prime minister Gilani, interior minister Malik said that the government has invited the Jamhoori Watan Party, which is one of the maor parties of the province, to nominate representatives for initiating talks with the government.
"We want a political solution of the Balochistan issue," said Malik.
"Both Brahamdagh Bugti and Hyrbyiar Marri should take part in the political and development process and I will personally receive them," he added.
Brahamdagh Bugti, who currently lives in exile in Switzerland, went underground when his grandfather Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed in a military operation in 2006. Brahamadagh accuses General Musharraf, who was then president, of ordering the killing.
Several dissidents from Balochistan, namely Khan of Kalat Mir Suleman Dawood, Hyrbyiar Marri, a son of veteran nationalist leader Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, and former leader of the opposition in the Balochistan Assembly Kachkol Ali Baloch have all succeeded in getting political asylum overseas.
In response to the offer, dissident leaders have said that they will not accept it because Rehman Malik "does not call the shots in Balochistan." This was in reference to the role of the Pakistan Army and its intelligence agencies, who have de-facto control of the province since 2006, after the death of Nawab Bugti. They said that they feared of being kidnapped or killed if they returned to Pakistan. Earlier this year, the sister and neice of Brahamdagh were killed in what is being seen to be a hit by intelligence agencies.
At the same time, hundreds of cases of missing persons remain unresolved. Some 48 new cases came to light from various districts of Balochistan in recent months, according to officials associated with a special task force working under the auspices of the interior ministry.
The task force is responsible for collecting data regarding missing persons across the country, with the help of the National Crisis Management Cell (NACTA).
First Published: Feb 24, 2012 23:11 IST