QUETTA - Chief Minister Balochistan, Dr Abdul Malik Baloch on Thursday announced the formation of a Grand Jirga, comprising of influential political and tribal leaders to meet the Khan of Kalat and Brahamdagh Bugti.

“We will form a Grand Jirga to find an amicable solution for issues relating to Balochistan,” said the chief minister. The Jirga would comprise of Baloch, Pashtun, Hazara tribal chieftains and other leaders.

The development comes a day after Brahamdagh Bugti, an exiled Baloch separatist leader based in Switzerland, demonstrated his willingness, for the first time in almost a decade, to negotiate with Pakistan to peacefully end the prolonged insurgency in the southwestern province of Balochistan.

In an interview with BBC Urdu, Bugti said if his friends and allies wanted to coexist with Pakistan, he would also respect their decision. He said that he wants to resolve all issues politically and peacefully. Bugti, 34, who leads the outlawed Baloch Republican Party (BRP), had always rejected negotiations in the past and remained firm in his stance for an ‘independent’ Balochistan.

After his statement, the Balochistan government contacted tribal leaders of Kalat jirga and nawabs and decided to send a delegation to holds talks with the estranged Baloch leaders in London and Switzerland.

“The Jirga plans to meet the exiled Baloch leaders very soon,” said Malik Baloch, giving no time frame for the planned meeting. "Brahmdagh's statement is a good omen for peace and prosperity in Balochistan,” added the chief minister.

The chief minister added that the statement from Brahamdagh Bugti is a major breakthrough and had there been no support from the armed forces, a breakthrough in negotiations would not have been possible. “The civil and military leadership in Balochistan is on the same page,” he added.

The chief minister said efforts were currently underway to bring Baloch leaders to the negotiating table, as it was the priority of the government to solve all issues through political means.

Responding to a question about militants surrendering in significant numbers, he said that cases against all those who have surrendered their weapons and have rejoined the society would be dropped. The government has already announced a reconciliation policy to pave the way for peace and development in Balochistan, he added.

Security operations in Balochistan have increased in frequency recently and militants who were previously fighting against the state have started surrendering in substantial numbers, after an amnesty was announced.

Earlier in August, around 450 militants had laid down their weapons before authorities in Quetta during a ceremony to celebrate Pakistan's Independence Day. The government is also engaged in negotiations with the Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleman Dawood. Earlier, Chief of Jhalawan and Senior Balochistan Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri had met the exiled Baloch leader Khan of Kalat in London.