Fawad rebuts Baloch leaders claims on talks with insurgents

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Staff Reporter
Islamabad

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Friday rebutted the claims of the two politicians of Balochistan about their claims that PTI government is not serious in talks with insurgents of Balochistan.

“There is a tradition among certain segments to say that the government and the army are separate. [But] there is no such problem in the current government.” Fawad Chaudhry said that the premier makes the decisions after listening to different points of view.

The information minister also hit back at Mengal, saying, “When he [Mengal] needs money for the budget or for favours, he has to speak to the government, not the establishment.”

Fawad, however, conceded that that there existed a point of view that Baloch insurgents should not be engaged at all. “We will look at this on a case-to-case basis. We will see who we can talk to and who we can’t.”

Fawad said that the premier had first announced that he was thinking of speaking to insurgents in the province.

Then he appointed Shahzain Bugti as his special assistant on reconciliation and harmony in Balochistan.

“In the third phase, we will determine which groups we can talk to and which ones we can’t. Then we will have to see what can be talked about, as well as what concessions can or can’t be offered by the state.”

He said that India linked groups had already been excluded from this process, adding that there was a difference between being linked to India and being used by India.

“It will be hard to engage with those who have taken money from India for terrorism in Pakistan.

Those who were used [by someone], that is another matter,” he said
Earlier, Baloch leaders have expressed their reservations about the government’s plan to engage with insurgents in the province, saying that the decision to do so lies with the military leadership only.

Speaking on a TV show late Thursday night, Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal said he was confused by the premier’s recent statement where he said he was considering “talking to insurgents” in the province.

“If I am not wrong, he said he has only thought about it, not decided. And a person’s thoughts can change at any time,” Mengal said, adding that the country’s rulers change their decisions often.

“I don’t think the government is serious. These are not muzakrat (dialogue), they are mazakrat (a joke),” he said, adding that the people of the province have been a victim of this “joke” since 1947.

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