LAHORE - As part of preparations for the All-Party Conference (APC) expected next month, the government is considering making fresh contacts with the Baloch leaders abroad who are believed to be supporting militancy in the volatile province.

Informed circles told this correspondent on Saturday that ‘direct and indirect channels’ to woo the Baloch leaders living in self-exile through addressing their grievances are expected to open this month.

They quoted the people engaged in the process as saying that the would precondition the talks with the young Baloch leaders with their abandoning undemocratic means for the fulfilment of their agenda, telling them in clear terms that extremism won’t help the reconciliation process. They added that Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik has already thrown an offer of withdrawing all cases against the Baloch leaders living abroad, however they will have to reciprocate the positive moves from the government by ordering their loyalists to stop militant activities.

The sources said that some middle-profile political and non-political figures were expected to contact Bramdagh Bugti - believed to be in Switzerland - while a political force of urban Sindh, understandably the MQM, is likely to contact Harbiyar Marri in London. And some leaders of Baloch tribes of Upper Sindh were expected to meet Sardar Akhtar Mengal in UAE as part of the informal contact with the young Baloch leaders; however, the contacts would be formalised after the two sides reach some preliminary consensus.

About seeking the help of political parties outside the ruling coalition, they said that assistance of the Baloch nationalist parties had been sought to achieve breakthrough in the upcoming APC, while the PML-N leadership would also be asked to play its due role as the party has in its ranks Sardar Jungraiz Murri, a son of Nawab Khair Bux Marri, who is to become the next chieftain of his tribe. PML-Q, a part of ruling coalition, has already taken up the task of reaching out to some Baloch leaders to ensure their participation in the APC.

When pointed out that some Baloch leaders were calling Rehman Malik’s offer as mere a ‘feeler’ to gauge their intentions, they insisted that the offer was part of a sincere move. They said there was hardcore information that unrest in Balochistan was restricted to some areas of certain Baloch tribes and the common man in larger parts of the province was least bothered about the separatist thinking.

The added the leaders backing the militancy enjoy support of few hundred armed bands whose members are mostly motivated by provision of large sums of amounts and other benefits.

They maintained that crushing the foreign-funded armed separatism was possible but the current democratic set up as well as the powerful establishment quarters wanted to give peace a real chance by resolving the genuine problems of angry Baloch people.