ISLAMABAD/QUETTA: Defending the appointment of Arsalan Iftikhar as the Board of Investment (BOI) vice chairman, Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch said on Saturday the appointment was made in recognition of the services of Arsalan’s father, former chief justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, for the Baloch masses, media reports said.
Dr Baloch was addressing a joint press conference with the National Party (NP) chief, Senator Hasil Bizenjo in Islamabad to dispel what they called were “misunderstandings” with regard to the controversial appointment. The government of Balochistan had appointed Arsalan Iftikhar as the vice chairman of the BOI few days back. The decision drew severe criticism from media, civil society and some opposition political parties. Subsequently, the mounting media and political pressure worked and Arsalan Iftikhar was asked to tender his resignation on Thursday.
“I wanted to keep intact the link of Iftikhar Chaudhry with Balochistan by appointing his son as vice chairman of the BOI Balochistan,” said the chief minister. “There was no role of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the appointment of Arsalan,” he added. He, however, admitted that it was a wrong decision to induct Arsalan Iftikhar as the vice chairman of the Board of Investment. “I withdrew the decision when the party chief told me to do so,” Dr Baloch said. Speaking on the occasion, Senator Bizenjo said that Arsalan was given the post upon his request to the chief minister.
He expressed regret over the statement of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan in this regard, adding that his party’s government had never been part of any financial scandal. In response to a question, Chief Minister Baloch stated that during the last one year, his government had established better governance as compared to the previous provincial governments. “Nobody can show any financial scandal during the last one year,” the chief minister added. He claimed that “90 percent” of the province was peaceful and roads were now safe and secure.
However, when his attention was drawn to Baloch rebels living in the mountains, the chief minister admitted his failure in convincing them to join the mainstream politics. “They (separatist) talk with gun and we talk under the ambit of the constitution which is not acceptable to them.” Both leaders, on the occasion rejected Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan’s “politics of agitation,” saying the NP would continue to support the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government for the sake of democracy.
Baloch said Arsalan Iftikhar’s resignation as vice president Balochistan Board of Investment was a part democratic culture. He strongly rejected the opposition’s allegations and impression that Arsalan Iftikhar’s appointment as vice president of the Balochistan Board of Investment was made as part of any election deal or was linked to the Reko Diq project, said since Iftikhar Chaudhry belonged to Balochistan and he knew him since 1988, he wanted to preserve his relation with Balochistan by appointing his son.
He said neither the federal government nor any party had approached him to appoint Arsalan Iftikhar as vice president of the Balochistan Board of Investment. Replying to a question, he said efforts were being made to reconcile with estranged leaders in order to work collectively for the prosperity of the province wherein peace had prevailed in almost in all areas. He said law and order situation had improved and hefty budgetary allocations had been made for the education and education sector, which would go a long way in ushering prosperity and development of the province.
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