Former Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the issue of the Baloch missing persons is shameful for Pakistan and called for giving rights to the people of Balochistan. He also emphasized the supremacy of the Constitution to bring an end to the prevailing political and economic crises in the country.
The ex-premier expressed these views while speaking in an event titled: ‘Reimagining Pakistan’, which was organized by the Balochistan Peace Forum chief Haji Lashkari Raisani in Quetta to discuss ways for a political settlement of issues related to Balochistan and Pakistan. Prominent attendees included former Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, MPA Aslam Raisani, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Lashkari Raisani among others.
“Lawmakers in the National Assembly and the Senate have to go for an open debate on serious issues confronting Pakistan today”, the ex-PM said.
He urged the political parties to stop the incessant mud-slinging and come together to bring the country out of the prevailing situation.
Abbasi said when victors of the elections are ‘selected’ by a clique of powerful people, pollical and economic issues cannot be resolved. He said that Pakistan’s problems would be solved when democracy would prevail: when there would be elections, not ‘selections’, when parties formed overnight would not sweep into power, and when corrupt politicians would not bribe their way into the Senate.
Abbasi said that the parliament is supposed to be the forum of the representatives of the people, but it is being used to hurl insults at each other. The genuine issues of the country are not discussed, and there is no other forum where we could put our heads together and find a way out of the ongoing political crises. He said that the political setup of Pakistan is not strong enough to resolve the current issues.
Abbasi also commented on the issues of Balochistan, saying that the people there have the most resources, but they are still the poorest in the region. He touched upon various issues, including the issue of Baloch missing persons. He said that the issue of missing persons is shameful for Pakistan.
“Solution to all the problems of Balochistan from utilities, to Gawadar, is in the constitution,” the former PM said, “however, as long as senators come to power by paying crores of rupees, nothing will change.”
Provincial Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Zamrak Khan Achakzai, said that some political leaders in Balochistan have a “certificate of patriotism”, and we are still counted among the so-called “traitors.”
He said that when we demand basic rights, we are labelled as “traitors.” When our people are not given their fundamental rights, they rise up against the government or go to the mountains.
He said that Balochistan’s mountains are overflowing with natural resources, but the centre has always wrested our resources. Aslam Raisani personally told me that he was offered a large sum of money to okay the Reko Diq deal during his tenure as the CM, but he denied it, Achakzai said.
Analyst Rafiullah Kakar said that Balochistan’s problems cannot be resolved with economic packages. He said that Akhtar Mengal, Aslam Raisani and Dr Malik Baloch are the last links between Balochistan and Pakistan.
He said that the centre allocates a 70 billion rupees package for safeguarding the “peace and security” of Balochistan, but it shows no results. Balochistan is more unstable than ever. Instead of wasting all that money, the centre should give it to the people as a cheque.
VBMP Chairman Nasrullah Baloch said that Balochistan is deprived of all the basic facilities of life. He said that thousands of people are missing and ‘enforced disappearances’ are only on the rise. He said that people in the Makran region and Dera Bugti are migrating out of their hometowns due to security issues.
Former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Muhammad Aslam Raisani called for an end to injustices being done with Balochistan and reiterated the demand for the implementation of the Pakistan Resolution to bring the country out of the prevailing crisis.
Other politicians from Balochistan also lashed out at the centre for what they called “step-motherly” treatment. They said that the federal government has bypassed Balochistan in all the important deals and agreements regarding the Reko Diq mining project, the CPEC, and the Saindak project.
“Residents of Gwadar are protesting for their rights,” Hussain Wadela, the leader of the Gwadar Movement said. Wadhela strongly criticized the security forces for their rough treatment of peaceful protestors in Gwadar.