Pakistan PM mulling to hold talks with ‘insurgents’ in Balochistan

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Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said that he is deliberating to “hold talks with insurgents” in Balochistan as he blamed the previous administration for lack of development in the country’s largest province.

Addressing a gathering during his Gwadar visit, Khan said that the government would never have had to worry about “insurgency” in the province if attention had been paid to its development.

“But we have given the biggest package to Balochistan because we believe that justice has indeed not been done with the people of Balochistan; they have been left behind,” he said, as quoted by Dawn newspaper.

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Pakistan PM said the federal government did not do justice with Balochistan and “neither did its politicians.” The money that was supposed to be spent on the development of the province was spent by the politicians on themselves, he added.

This admission comes amid the recent surge in violence in Balochistan. Besides violence, enforced disappearances remained a critical human rights concern in Balochistan during 2020.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), the rights organisation Voice for Baloch Missing Persons continued to hold protest camps outside the press clubs of Quetta and Karachi. Reports indicate that people were picked up and released throughout the year.

Human rights activists and campaigners tend to doubt the government figures on enforced disappearances, alleging that many families often do not approach the authorities for fear of reprisal, the report said. The number of cases of enforced disappearance is, therefore, likely to be much higher than reported.

According to HRCP, limited progress was made on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects in Gwadar. Citizens continued to view these projects with scepticism, questioning whether they were likely to generate local employment or alleviate poverty. Unemployment problems continued to dog thousands of unemployed graduates.

Law enforcement agencies such as the Frontier Corps and Coast Guards, which operate highway check-posts, continued to harass citizens and curtail their freedom of movement, HRCP report said.