LAHORE - Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has said his government will resist sale of Gwadar land to any country.

With obvious reference to the economic corridor being developed with the cooperation of China, Dr Malik said he would resist if even a graveyard of Balochistan land was sold out. “It is may national right,” he said.

It may be noted that a day earlier Sardar Akhtar Mengal of Balochitan National Party, while addressing a public meeting, called for handing over Gwadar to Balochistan.

“Within security framework of Pakistan, Balochistan problems could be resolved politically and not through bullet. With a commitment we are heading for solving problems whether they are economy, extremism, insurgency and the matter of bringing the Baloch leaders back to the mainstream or the challenges of tribal differences,” Dr Malik said, speaking as the chief guest at a national seminar organised jointly by Pakistan Institute of National Affairs (PINA) and the University of the Punjab here yesterday.

Eminent jurist SM Zafar presided over the seminar while federal ministers, Khawaja Saad Rafiq and Ahsan Iqbal, Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti, former Balochistan caretaker CM Nawab Ghaus Bakhsh Barozai, grandson of Khan of Kalat, Prince Ahmad Ali, VC Dr Mujahid Kamran, Attaul Haq Qasmi, PINA Chairman Altaf Hassan Qureshi, Dr Attaur Rahman, Baloch Opposition MPA Ghulam Nabi Murri, Brig (r) Nadir Mir, NP MPA Tahir Bazenjo, Mujeebur Rahman Shami and Salman Ghani spoke on the occasion.

The Balochistan chief minister said his government was managing well to maintain law and order in the province through dialogue with the support of the federal government and the military leadership, asserting at the same time that the elements creating disturbance would not be spared. Insurgency in Balochistan, he said, was a reaction to denial of rights to the Baloch and killing of political leaders. He stressed the need to change the mindset to address poverty and backwardness and give the Baloch their due right as well as resources. If the mindset remained the same, the serious phase of insurgency would not be checked, Malik warned. He said the Baloch wanted protection to their identity, language and entity, which, in turn, would generate stability in Pakistan. He said: “Balochistan is in a conflict which begets conflict economy, so hatred must end and disgruntled elements must be brought to the mainstream.”

The Balochtan CM said Baloch people wanted share in resources and not the kind of treatment they had in Sandek and Sui gas. He said special arrangements had been made to ensure security of Gwadar while the government was showing its presence to the people whenever and wherever they needed. Efforts of his government in creating sectarian harmony had yielded positive results, he claimed.

Through the action of Counter-Insurgency Unit, he said, the elements killing the innocent people had been taken to task and 60 percent crime in the province had come down. He also appreciated efforts of Adviser on National Security Gen (r) Nasir Janjua in establishing writ of the state which was necessary to instill confidence in the government.

The CM said elections in Balochistan had always been managed, strongly urging the authorities to let the people freely decide which party they wanted to be governed by.

Several speakers raised voice for continuation of Dr Malik as the Balochistan chief minister who, under an accord with PML-N, has to quit on December 4.

Speaking about the continuation of Dr Malik, Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq said the decision in this regard would be taken in the largest interest of the province, its security and peace on which no compromise could be made. He said no practical step was taken in the past to ameliorate situation in Balochistan, which today was far better. He said implementation of the economic corridor would largely improve the economic conditions of Balochistan in addition to bringing peace. He appreciated the efforts of Dr Malik’s government towards peace and initiating education and health programmes.

Federal Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal said peace in Balochistan was a key to peace and economic progress of the country. He said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was a golden opportunity to redress the deprivations.

Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti said peace had been restored to Balochistan and political activity revived. The provincial government, he said, was determined to rid Balochistan of laskhars. The minister made it clear that no military operation was being carried out anywhere in the province and all measures for peace were being controlled through the civil side.

The minister said some international powers still wanted to destablise Pakistan through disturbance in Balochistan for which sectarianism was a handy tool in their hands. The government was aware of the situation and had eliminated many such elements and neutralised their networks. RAW-funded insurgency, he said, had started even before the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti and many separatist organisations were still being given money by the Indian agency.