ISLAMABAD - The PML-N government Wednesday strongly rejected claims that 300,000 people migrated from Balochistan due to law and order situation, saying that only 5,000 people left the province when Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed in 2006 purportedly in a military operation.

The government side contested the figure of mass exodus shared by PPP’s lawmakers and termed it an exaggerated data. In a bid to resolve the divergence of opinion on a sensitive matter, Speaker Iyaz Sadiq attempted to satisfy both the side with the opinion to first check the source from where those figures had been taken.

The matter turned serious when PPP lawmaker Azra Fazal Pechuho, on a call-attention notice, quoted Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) report stating that around 300,000 people emigrated from Balochistan in the last few years.

Quoting the HRCP’s report, she stunned the house by quoting this high figure which significantly included 200,000 Hazaraz, besides 90,000 Punjabi & Urdu speaking people and 10,000 Hindus and Parsis. PPP’s Imran Zafar Laghari, on his turn, shared that even some of migrants from Balochistan took shelter in his constituency. “Why don’t you form a committee to check the accuracy of these figures,” he added.

Parliamentary Secretary for Interior Mariam Aurangzeb responding to back-to-back questions raised by PPP lawmaker said that she was not denying HRCP report but she can’t condone it unless the figure is verified by provincial government. She added that only 5,000 people left the province when Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed in 2006. “It could not go unnoticed if it actually had happened,” she added.

Federal Minister Lt-Gen (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch also jumped into hot discussion and challenged the data of HRCP showing that a huge number of Punjabi and Urdu speaking people left the area. “It is an exaggeration to relate such a big figure with certain ethnic groups,” he said, fearing that its propagation could turn the people from Punjab restless.

“I challenge this figure... It is an exaggerated data and has no reality in it,” he said, admitting some of Punjabis were targeted after Bugti’s death in 2006. He further clarified that PML-N government overtook only one and half years back. “If these figure were real then it all happened in previous era,” he remarked.

The house also unanimously passed a resolution in favour of people with disabilities. “The assembly recognised December 3 as International Day of Persons with Disabilities as promoted by the UN Sine 1992,” said the resolution, read out by PPP’s lawmaker Shazia Marri.

It urged the government to ensure adequate facilities for the disable. “(It should make available) elevators and other provisions necessary for the mobility of people with special needs, (and) also make sure that the special quota of government jobs is fully regarded so as to allow Pakistan to benefit from the contribution of its people with special needs.”

Earlier, PPP’s lawmaker Imran Zafar Leghari, during debate on presidential address, admitted that they had given jobs on basis of favouritism because the people of remote areas could not compete with merit. “Yes, we had given jobs on favouritism in our era... we will continue this practice... We will repeat this mistake and you (government) also keep dismissing them,” he added.

He also strongly criticised metro bus service plan in different parts of the country. He further came down hard on government for not issuing development funds for MPs. On it, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab said that they had never refused development funds to MNAs. However, he did not share data with the house. MQM’s Sajid Ahmed criticised government saying it has failed in controlling terrorism, poverty and price hike.