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  • Sep 16th, 2004
  • Comments Off on Bodies formed to seek political solution to Wana and Balochistan
The government on Wednesday constituted special committees to seek a political solution to resolve the situation in Wana and Balochistan, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid said. The relaxation announced by the government to the foreign terrorists in Wana would continue and they would not be handed over to any other country, if they surrender, he told a news briefing.

"But a bullet will be responded with a bullet," he warned and said the political option would move side-by-side the military option and the operation in Wana and talks would continue.

He said the decision was taken at a high-level meeting held at the President's Camp Office presided over by President General Pervez Musharraf and attended by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and all the four provincial chief ministers, federal ministers and senior officials.

The committee for Wana will include NWFP Governor Lieutenant General Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah (Retd) and Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, while another member from the federal cabinet would be added later.

The prime minister will soon announce another parliamentary committee comprising senators and MNAs to seek political solution of the situation in Balochistan.

Rashid made it clear that there was no military operation going on in Balochistan and urged the media to report objectively about the situation and not undermine the national interests.

He said, "The president has taken serious notice of the irresponsible reporting in a section of the print and electronic media, regarding Wana operation and urged them to verify their facts."

He said the government would soon set up media centres in Peshawar and Wana, besides conducting visits to apprise the media about the latest situation and see the actual situation.

He said the government, besides weapons, has found a number of computers from Shakhai containing sensitive data, which shows the nefarious designs of the terrorists.

He said the Punjab Assembly has passed a unanimous resolution in favour of President to keep the two posts, while the NWFP Assembly opposed it. A resolution in the President's favour would soon be moved in the National Assembly, he added.

He said important decisions regarding economy and on Kalabagh Dam and Basha Dam would soon be made.

To another question about the progress on Pakistan-India talks, Rashid said Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz expressed his concern over gross violations of human rights in the Indian occupied Kashmir. He said the Kashmiris have to be given their rights and the violations must end.

PRESENTATIONS: Earlier, President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz were given presentations on steps being taken to improve the law and order situation in Balochistan and the campaign against foreign terrorist groups in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

The President and PM stressed the need for firm action, administrative and political measures to be implemented in tandem in order to have lasting effects.

With regard to the ongoing operations against foreign terrorists in Fata, the President and Prime Minister took strong exception to the malicious propaganda being carried out by certain vested interests that innocent civilians were being targeted in Wana, South Waziristan, and directed that a true picture be presented to the people to effectively counter the disinformation being spread by such elements.

They constituted a dialogue team comprising NWFP Governor, Interior Minister and Minister for Information & Broadcasting to address various issues.

Earlier, a comprehensive review of the law and order situation was carried out. Governors Iftikhar Hussain Shah and Owais Ahmed Ghani briefed President Musharraf and Prime Minister Aziz about the state of law and order and about the political and other measures underway to improve the situation.

The meeting was also attended by Information Minister Rashid Ahmad, Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao, Balochistan Chief Minister Muhammad Yousuf, Sindh Chief Minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim, Vice Chief of Army Staff General Muhammad Yousaf Khan and senior civil and military officials.

The Governors of the two provinces also briefed the President and the Prime Minister about the pace of development projects being carried out in Fata and Balochistan. They said the people were fully on board and highly appreciative of the Government's efforts for accelerated development of their areas.

The President and the Prime Minister directed the Governors to step up the pace of projects of education, health, agriculture, irrigation, infrastructure sectors and those pertaining to drinking water.

In this respect, the President and Prime Minister stated that additional funds would be made available for timely completion of these projects and for undertaking additional projects to ensure rapid socio-economic development in Balochistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas at the grass-roots level.

Later, the Minister for Water and Power, Liaquat Ali Jatoi, briefed the President and Prime Minister about water shortage in the reservoirs due to scarcity of monsoon rains in the catchment areas and less melting of snow as a result of low temperatures in the Northern Areas.

He said that there had been meetings among the four provinces in this regard and all of them had agreed to share the shortfall of available water with equity.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2004


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