LAHORE – Free and transparent elections are vital for the survival of the nation and political integration of Balochistan. Levis in Balochistan should be transformed into a modern, educated and well-organised outfit and the armed forces entrusted with the responsibility of national security should remain confined to their constitutional mandate.

Addressing a seminar on “Challenges and Opportunities in Balochistan” held under Pakistan Institute of National Affairs (PINA), the speakers lamented the poor law and order situation in Balochistan.

Dr Jahanzeb Acting Chairman Balochistan National Party was the key speaker. The seminar was attended by senior journalists, political analysts and defence analysts.

Referring to the situation in the province, Jahanzeb said Balochistan people had been factionalised into various groups and parties, some of which had embraced extremism. He further said no one was safe from their target killing. He himself could not move without proper guard in the province. He sadly narrated that our workers who uphold the Constitutions of Pakistan and believe in political process were being threatened and even killed by the so-called Liberals Army.

“There are 65 to 81 tribal sardars, who are selectively enthroned to power in the federal and provincial cabinet at will by the government of the time,” Jahanzeb added. He expressed strong reservations over the revenue-expenditure equation. He said Balochistan was almost half of Pakistan. The revenue generated by Balochistan from Sandak, Rekodek, Chamalan, Sui and Gwadar was de-linked from the resources of the province, showing meagre relative figures as compared to other provinces.

“Balochistan has a strong case to ask for reckoning its share in terms of area also, and not based on mere population,” Jahanzeb demanded, adding 5,000 jobs were allocated in the realm of education, all of which had gone to 62 MPAs who were sycophants of the government and received Rs 35 crores annually under the cover of development projects without spending little on the welfare of the people.

Prof Mujahid Mansoori, a columnist and teacher recalled the visit of BNP leader Akhtar Hussain Mengal and thought that the response of Lahore to him had given a clear positive signal to the people of Balochistan that Lahore was with them in their phase of turmoil.

He said Lahore could launch a movement for the restoration of rights of Baloch brethren.

PINA Secretary General Altaf Hasan Qureshee said people of Punjab had brotherly feelings for the people of Balochistan who could play an important role in the integration and advancement of Pakistan.  Brig Nadir Mir highlighted the significance of the Gwadar Port. Akram Ch, Jamal Shahzeb and Rauf Tahir also spoke on occasion.