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Army clears contentious parts of package By Rauf Klasra
11-24-2009, 08:58 AM
Post: #1
Army clears contentious parts of package By Rauf Klasra
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

By Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani after getting some solid guarantees from the top military leadership of the country, is all set to announce an immediate ban on the construction of new military cantonments in Balochistan, general amnesty for the armed activists of the Balochistan Liberation Army(BLA) and talks offer to three rebel leaders-Herbiyar Murree, Baramdagh Bugti and Attaullah Khan Mengal, in his speech in the parliament today (Tuesday).

The sources said, the Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani was said to have endorsed the new package after the Prime Minister Gilani sat down with him and ISI Chief General Shujja Pasha to discuss all the important points of this package concerning the role of military in Balochistan.

The sources said, the ban on construction of cantonment and release the missing Baloch persons was said to have been made part of the package after the clearance from the top military leadership.

The sources said, it has been decided by the government that the that military would not construct new cantonments in the province however the two old cantonments would stay functional. Likewise, it was decided that the heads of the Balochistan and Gawadar Authority would be from Balochistan and no outsider would be appointed there. The SAINDAK and RECODIK contracts might also be reviewed to give ownership to the local Baloch people, with Islamabad only dealing ‘on their behalf’ with foreign contractors.

The top government sources privy to this major development of Balochistan package claimed that as a part of the short term strategy PM Gilani would direct the concerned secret agencies, forces and department to ensure the immediate production of all the missing persons in the province. One source said, the missing persons were being produced and released to create a friendly environment for the start of talks with the rebel leaders, Harbiyar Murree, Barahdagh Bugti and Akthar Mengal, who have been championing the cause of an independent Balochistan.

One top source claimed that these top leaders were taken into confidence by the powers that be before giving a final shape to the Balochistan Package but it might take some time before they come to the negotiating table as these leaders are likely to adopt a wait and see approach before publicly reciprocating the package initiative.

Meanwhile, in a bid to take the friendly Muslim countries into confidence before tabling the “Rahe-i- Haqooq Balochistan” package, a top federal minister, with strong links within both the PM House and Presidency, was given the task to give a secret briefing to about 50 Afro-Arabs ambassadors at the residence of Egyptian ambassador. The briefing was given to take all the ambassadors on board to counter international conspiracies being hatched to destabilize Balochistan.

Meanwhile, inside sources said, the backdoor channels unleashed by President Asif Zardari had played an important role in bringing the Baloch rebel leaders back to the negotiating table. Mr. Zardari was said to have used his Sindhi and Baloch contacts to get Baloch rebel leaders to agree to a new package on Balochistan before start of meaningful talks in the long run. These sources claimed that the PPP government in Islamabad had quietly paid a considerable amount to help Herbiyar Murree to fight a terrorism case in UK and get himself acquitted. The sources said, the amount was paid as a part of Confidence Building Measures(CBM) as PPP government greatly helped him to get the cases against him settled in the British courts. Herbiyar Murree was arrested by British Authorities in December 2007 on the request of General Musharraf. Before the arrest of Herbiyar, his brother Balach Marri was targeted and killed less than a fortnight ago. General Musharraf was using Rashid Rauf as a bargaining chip to bring Herbiyar Marri to Pakistan. But, now Islamabad has apparently taken a reconciliatory approach to soften the Baloch leader and this move may just pay dividends as PM goes to announce the new package.

Likewise, sources said, during the backdoor negotiation with Baramdagh Bugti, the PPP government had also agreed to offer him some concessions. Baramdagh was said to have asked the official negotiators to first give him a new green passport as his old one had expired.

The sources said, the establishment forces too had been in touch with Sardar Akthar Mengal on the issue of new initiatives as the Baloch leaders knew that political commitments with them would not work unless the establishment forces gave them firm assurances. The sources said, the Baloch leaders were now taking these initiatives seriously. The sources said, the abolition of cases against Akthar Mengal and his colleagues on terrorism charges during Musharraf regime had played a major role in convincing these leaders in showing flexibility and resuming a dialogue with the government.

The joint session of the parliament would continue even after the Eid so that the house could debate the new package before its approval. It was decided that a parliamentary committee would be formed to monitor the progress on this package after getting the full nod of the parliament as all these arrangements would be given a legal shape so as the Baloch rebel leadership could not find any excuse on the basis of trust deficit. (ends)

The sources said, earlier a four and half hours long meeting was presided over by the prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday to give a final shape to the new package and his speech to be delivered in the joint sitting on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by Khursheed Shah, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Dr Babar Awan, Raza Rabbani, Naveed Qamar and others.


http://thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=25744
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