External powers behind Balochistan crisis: Malik
ISLAMABAD, Feb 10: Absolving the army and paramilitary forces of the charges of abducting and killing people in Balochistan, Interior Minister Rehman Malik held on Friday a third force responsible for the volatile situation in the province.
“Not the Army or the Frontier Corps (FC), but a third force is disturbing law and order situation in Balochistan,” Mr Malik told the Senate.
He said some external powers were conspiring to detach Balochistan from Pakistan.
He said 85 per cent of the Aghaz-i-Huqooq-i-Balochistan package announced by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had been implemented and work on remaining components of the package was under way.
Mr Malik said that a detailed presentation would be given next week to parliamentarians hailing from Balochistan on the government’s policy about the province and implementation of the package.
He said that 48,928 FC personnel and 2,057 Coast Guard men had been deployed in the province which had incurred Rs14.59 billion during the last financial year.
He said the government was committed to equipping security personnel with the latest gadgets to enhance their capabilities to defend the country and its people.
The disclosure by US Ambassador Cameron Munter that Pakistan’s airspace was being used for Nato supplies sparked resentment in the house, prompting a walkout by senators belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI).
“The house has a right to know as to who allowed Nato supply through Pakistan’s airspace,” said Senator Zafar Ali Shah of the PML-N, asking the government to explain if it was done by the president, prime minister or the army chief.
Prof Khurshid Ahmad of JI said it was an important point because the country’s land and airspace were sacrosanct.
“We have been assured that both these routes were not being used for transportation of Nato supplies to Afghanistan”.
Terming it a case of ‘treacherous involvement’ with foreign powers, he called for halting steps against sovereignty and independence of the country.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said it was a subject related to the foreign ministry, but it was beyond comprehension for the US planes to first come to Karachi or Lahore while transporting goods to Afghanistan.
He said that no supply was being allowed to take place from Pakistan and no airport or airbase was being used for the purpose.
“The supply has been cut off and has not been restored. Nobody has allowed it as the entire nation was united over the issue of cutting off Nato supply,” he said.
The minister said he would request either the foreign minister or the defence minister to give a policy statement on the issue in the house on Monday.
Soon after the minister’s statement, Senate’s deputy chairman Jan Mohammad Jamali read out the presidential order to prorogue the house for an indefinite period.
By Iftikhar A. Khan