BNP-M vows to resist IDPs’ settlement in Balochistan
* Former senator Sanaullah Baloch says PPP government should not snub the Baloch while taking major decisions
QUETTA: The Balochistan National Party – Mengal (BNP-Ml) has expressed its concern over a reported government plan to settle around 80,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Bajaur in Balochistan and warned to resist the move ‘tooth and nail’.
Former senator Sanaullah Baloch, the party’s central secretary information, told Daily Times on Tuesday that he had recently met with the party’s chief and veteran Baloch nationalist leader Sardar Attaullah Mengal at his residence in Wadh area of Khuzdar district. He said he shared the alarm with his party chief regarding reports that the government had recently asked a reputed international humanitarian organisation to prepare the ground in Balochistan for 80,000 IDPs - whose number would later rise to 200,00 - from Bajaur Agency. “We are extremely concerned about such moves as they amount to creating a demographic imbalance in the Baloch-majority province,” said the BNP secretary information, adding that the Baloch would strongly resist the government’s plans to bring more outsiders to the least populated province of the country where the presence of a large number of Afghan refugees has for long been described as the main source of growing religious fundamentalism and suicide bombings.
“International organisations have repeatedly pointed out the state of Baloch IDPs languishing in different parts of the country but Islamabad has not provided them with even a single tent,” said Baloch, adding that they demanded the repatriation of the Afghan refuges who came to Balochistan in 1979 and 2001 as Balochistan could not afford to host more refuges or IDPs.
“If Islamabad is truly concerned about the plight of the IDPs then it should settle them in cities, such as Islamabad or Lahore, that are capable of coping up with this humanitarian issue,” the former senator suggested. PPP government: He said his party wanted the PPP government to unveil its political and economic roadmap for Balochistan, as the Baloch were apprehensive that the democratic government was snubbing them while taking major decisions on key issues, such as the multi-billion dollar Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project. “Skirting the Baloch in major decisions would surely convince them not to trust the federal government,” he added.
He quoted his party chief Sardar Attaullah Mengal as saying that Punjab was solely responsible for the mess that Pakistan found itself in today, as the province had refused to share power with other provinces in a country that was meant to be multi-ethnic.
The BNP spokesman said his party would not participate in any PPP-sponsored all parties conference (APC) until the faith of all stakeholders - especially the Marri and the Bugti tribesmen, who had suffered immensely in recent military operations - was restored. The central committee of the BNP-M is scheduled to meet today (Wednesday) but, according to sources, the meeting will most likely be cancelled due to insecurity and the absence of party president Sardar Akhtar Mengal.