President Pervez Musharraf said on Friday said he supported legislation on land ownership rights in Gwadar and the reconstitution of the Parliamentary Committee on Balochistan.

The president reiterated that his government wanted a political solution to the situation in Balochistan and did not intend to carry out a military operation there.

Addressing a public meeting at the inauguration of a Rs 470 million gas project and tribal leaders at the Khan of Kalat’s house, the president reiterated the government’s resolve that it won’t allow anyone to hamper progress.

He said that he had asked the Balochistan government to examine the proposed legislation, adding that people from other areas could come to Gwadar to develop it, but no one could dislodge its residents.

“There is no military operation taking place in Sui or Dera Bugti. Nor does the government intend to carry out one in the future because we believe in a political solution and are ready for talks to solve problems.” He called upon the people not to heed people who were inciting them into closing their businesses. “I request people not to join them because it would hamper development. The government will not let anyone damage national installations or challenge its writ,” he said.

He said he supported more share for provinces under the National Finance Commission, adding that he had proposed a discussion on provincial autonomy in the cabinet and parliament.

The president directed the authorities to provide free gas connections to 1,000 families in Kalat.

The president said that the Balochis were denied opportunities in the past but said that now they were receiving more than their due share in the Public Sector Development Programme. “We apologise to the people of Balochistan for injustices done to them in the past, although we were not responsible for them,” he added. “Balochistan is being linked to Sindh, Punjab and the NWFP by roads to facilitate trade from China and Central Asia through Gwadar port,” the president said.

He said that the government had allocated record sums for development to end deprivation, adding that he supported an increase in the gas royalty and development surcharge.”We do not want to stuff our pockets with people’s money and will spend it on people”. He also sought people’s support for dams’ construction and asked them to stand up against extremism. The president announced writing off agricultural loans up to Rs 50,000 in Balochistan and several development projects in Kalat.

A government spokesman said that the president would inaugurate centenary celebrations of the Quetta Command and Staff College.

Source: Daily Times