Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal-Bhutto Zardari Saturday suggested the formation of a parliamentary committee to address the issue of missing persons in Balochistan.

Addressing a press conference in Quetta after attending the swearing-in ceremony of newly-elected Balochistan Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti, he expressed his intention to resolve the issue of missing persons through a parliamentary committee, emphasizing that missing persons issue was a matter of concern for the entire country. “We invite all parties to join the PPP in establishing a parliamentary committee. Our aim is to seek solutions through reconciliation and coordination,” he added.

Bilawal said the PPP engages in consultations with all, and it would make efforts to resolve the legitimate problems of everyone. He reiterated that the guiding principle for his party’s provincial government in Balochistan was the philosophy of reconciliation, as envisioned by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. He affirmed the PPP’s commitment to collaborate with all political parties, both within and outside parliament, to effectively address the challenges being faced by Balochistan. The PPP chairman said nominated-president Asif Ali Zardari would serve as a representative of all the four provinces at the Centre and actively convey the concerns and aspirations of Quetta to Islamabad. He expressed gratitude to all the political parties present in the Balochistan Assembly for their support to the CM. He said the Balochistan government would be run according to philosophy and ideology of PPP, emphasizing that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s last book was on reconciliation. He made it clear that Balochistan was a province whose problems could not be solved by any one entity alone.

Bilawal announced that the newly-elected CM would first go to Gwadar, a city severely affected by recent rains. “The chief minister will personally assess the situation in Gwadar, conduct a thorough review and make announcements on assistance for the affected people.”

The PPP chairman that his party had contested the elections on the basis of its 10-point manifesto, adding had the PPP formed the government at the federal level, it would have implemented stringent measures to provide relief to people. “Now that the PPP is set to form governments in Sindh and Balochistan, our commitment is to pursue implementation of the people’s economic agreement despite limited resources of provinces,” he added.

He said a party of martyrs is now leading in Balochistan and it would be ensured that the people of Balochistan no longer have to endure further martyrdoms. He also reiterated that terrorism and extremism would be combated through implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP). “We fought terrorists in Swat and Waziristan,” he said, adding that they would again address terrorism through a policy involving dialogue, deterrence and development.

Responding to a question, the PPP chairman said the 18th Amendment and NFC Award were, actually, demands of Balochistan, which were fulfilled by the previous federal government of the PPP. He mentioned that the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-Balochistan was initiated by former president Asif Ali Zardari and had it been implemented, the situation in Balochistan would have been different at that time.

He also said that he had great respect for senior politician Mehmood Khan Achakzai, but if he becomes PTI’s candidate for the post of president, he could not refer himself as a nationalist.

News Desk adds: Balochistan’s newly-elected Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti Saturday reaffirmed the provincial government’s plan to continue engaging in dialogue with those involved in armed insurgency. He extended the live branch to dissidents in his victory speech after being elected as the chief executive of the province.

“Deterrence and dialogue are the two options that the government has to address the situation in Balochistan,” he said while calling on armed groups to join the mainstream politics and play their role in the provincial development.

The CM urged the Baloch insurgents to continue their struggle while adhering to the Constitution of Pakistan, stressing that there would be no compromise on the state’s writ. He noted that those fighting for their “rights” could only achieve their goals through the parliamentary route and not armed struggle.

Expressing gratitude to those who voted for him, including the opposition parties, Bugti underscored the fact that the speaker, deputy speaker and leader of the house were elected “unopposed” had given the “message of consensus” at a time when the province was going through difficult times. Commenting on the PPP’s role as a party that represents the Federation, the CM claimed that it was only the Bilawal Bhutto-led party that could address the crises that have gripped the country.

“I have faith that Asif Ali Zardari will steer the country out of the crises,” Bugti said while stressing the need for reconciliatory politics in present times.

Terming governance, terrorism and climate change as the leading issues faced by the province, the chief minister went on to provide a roadmap with regard to the government’s strategy to tackle these challenges.

On the issue of governance, Bugti stressed that legislators and the province’s bureaucracy need to own up and not blame others for their shortcomings. “How long will we blame other people?” he questioned in his speech.

Announcing the enforcement of an emergency in the education sector, the CM reassured that his government would give a comprehensive plan of action on reforms to improve the province’s education system.

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