ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader and former Senator Farhatullah Babar has said that the government cannot impose a military solution on the people of Balochistan.
He was addressing a ceremony organised for the launch of Kaiser Bengali’s book ‘A Cry for Justice’ at the Islamabad Club on Thursday evening. Published by the Oxford University Press, the book highlights deprivations of the people of Balochistan.
Farhatullah Babar said that according to official figures placed before the Senate Human Rights Committee sometime back, mutilated bodies of fifty one persons were found during a 2-year period but not a single first information report (FIR) was registered by any relative of the victims.
He said that it goes on to show that the citizen has lost trust in state institutions for justice. “It also points to a dangerous alienation and disconnect between the state and society in the province,” he added.
“This disconnect has manifested itself in an insurgency that can only be addressed politically and not militarily. The distrust dates back to when military dictator Ayub Khan hanged Baloch Sardar Nouroz Khan and his three sons after luring him to come down from the mountains for talks. It was reinforced when another Baloch Sardar Akbar Bugti was assassinated by another military dictator in his last days in the last decade,” he further added.
The PPP leader lauded the author for highlighting representational imbalance of Balochistan. “With only 17 members in a house of 342, the voice of Balochistan is drowned. Equal representation in the senate has little impact as the Upper House has no powers in resource allocation,” he stated.
He called for an increase in national and provincial seats for Balochistan, adding that any such move would not be extraordinary.
He reminded the attendees of the ceremony that tribal areas have 12 Members of the National Assembly (MNA) regardless of its population and there was a time when former west Pakistan had same number of parliamentary seats despite a population less than the former east Pakistan.
He said that the recent murmurs of rolling back the 18th Amendment and the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award will only further accentuate the sense of deprivation of the people of Balochistan.
Farhatullah Babar also lauded the author Kaiser Bengali and the Oxford University Press for taking causes of the underprivileged and dispossessed.
The book launch event was also addressed by the author Kaiser Bengali and Professor Aalia Khan.