Balochistan may seek independence

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Saturday June 21—June 27, 2008

By Our Correspondent
ISLAMABAD:Balochistan might opt to become an independent state if it is not granted provincial autonomy, Senate Deputy Chairman Jan Muhammad Jamali said on Tuesday.”The time is running out … there is no other option left but to grant provincial autonomy to all the provinces including Balochistan,” Jamali told the Upper House while speaking on a point of order. He said he had been forced to raise the voice of the people of his province, as the situation was rapidly deteriorating.”The four brothers (provinces) will not be able to live together if the situation remains the same,” he added.Jamali said the chief minister of Balochistan, along with a dozen ministers, was in the federal capital to ‘beg’ for money so that he could formulate a budget for the province. He said Balochistan was rich with natural resources but had no control over them.”There is a dire need to bring in constitutional amendments to give autonomy to the federal units, otherwise it will not be possible to keep the four provinces together,” he added. He said arrears worth Rs 800 billion in gas royalties was yet to be paid to Balochistan by the Centre.The deputy chairman said he feared that the time might soon come when he would have to obtain a passport to visit Jacobabad.He said that he was among those who had always been pro-Pakistan, adding that the people of Balochistan were dejected over the way in which they were being treated by the government.Senators from Balochistan and NWFP congratulated Jamali for raising voice for provincial autonomy when he ended his brief speech.

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