QUETTA - The speakers at a Peace Conference stressed the need that in order to eradicate a sense of deprivation from the people of Balochistan, its people should also be given equal rights like other provinces. 

“Civil and military leadership, civil society and politicians should jointly take steps to revive peace in restive Balochistan province”, they emphasised. The Peace conference was organised by an NGO “Bardasht” at a local hotel here on Thursday. Speaker Balochistan Assembly Muhammad Aslam Bhootani, who was the chief guest, said that Balochistan had faced various problems over the last few years which had left people distressed.

He said that starting from earthquake, terrorism, health issues and catastrophes and multiple other issues, one after another had brought a massive change in the society and in behaviour of the people. “We are not at war but there is no peace and it is universally acknowledged fact that we are playing battle-ground in the name of bringing peace to us,” he added.

He said that before blaming Federal government for all miseries in Balochistan we should also think that what we have done with it ,adding, that those who begged vote from the people and came to Assembly in rickshaws now owned many vehicles. Bhootani said that after 9/11 incident a big change came in the country particularly in Balochistan and the circumstances changed very fast where thousands of people had died in war against terror.

“This is not only the responsibility of security forces to restore peace rather than there is a need of changing behaviours”, he said, adding, that we have to understand the pain and miseries of people of Balochistan and would have focus on education of the province.

Former Deputy Chairman Senate, Mir Jan Jamali said that due to deteriorating law and order situation people could not travel from Quetta to Kalat and Zhob safely.

He regretted that because of target killings, settlers and teachers have fled from Balochistan.

He emphasised that the people of Balochistan should also be given equal rights which were enjoying by the people of other provinces. Ex-Federal Minister Zubaida Jalal urged civil society, social activists and politicians to play their joint role for securing peace and normalising the situation in Balochistan.

Nilofar Bakhtiar, the Chairperson of Bardasht and former Federal Minister said that it should be ascertained that who was behind spreading sectarian hatred which has triggered sectarian target killings in Quetta and other parts of the country.

“It is need of the hour for bringing change, tolerance and non-violence at all levels in the society,” she said ,adding, that all the stakeholders should contribute to peace-building and tolerance. Dr. Anayatullah, the central leader of Awami National Party viewed that Balochistan issue has become more complex and too complicated.  Dr Ruqayya Saeed Hashmi, Balochistan Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination and Pakistan Muslim League-Q leader said that target killings and violence have contributed to instability in Balochistan.

She said that about 260 civilians were killed in incidents of target killings and terrorism in Balochistan during 2012.

She said that violence against women in Pakistan is a major problem.

Provincial Minister Rahila Durrani lamented that on one hand recent Geological survey has suggested that Quetta might suffer 1935 like powerful earthquake while people have been constructing multiple houses and shopping centers in narrow streets of the provincial capital.

Balochistan Finance Minister Mir Asim Kurd said that revolutions in Afghanistan and Iran put their impact on Balochistan and promoted Kalashnikov culture and sectarianism in our province.

Dr. Zafar Qadir, the Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said that we have to finalise our disaster management keeping in view calamities of glacier outburst, avalanche, land sliding, flash floods, drought, forest fires, industrial accidents and oil spills in sea.

He said that as a nation, we are not taking serious to adopt principles of disaster management to deal with natural calamities.

Begum Rehana Yahya, National Party leader Dr. Shama Ishaq, Provincial Ministers Dr. Ghazala Gola and Nasreen Khaitran, Fauzia Shaheen, Dr.Rasheed Tareen, Maulana Abdul Mateen and others also spoke on the occasion.