Nawaz Sharif asks dissident Baloch leaders to lay down arms
'The dissident Baloch are our brothers. We have no intention to indulge in revenge and vengeance with them,' he said during an interaction with local elders and victims of the 24 September earthquake at Awaran in Balochistan.
Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today asked dissident Baloch leaders to lay down arms and support his government's efforts to develop the restive and quake-hit Balochistan province.
"The dissident Baloch are our brothers. We have no intention to indulge in revenge and vengeance with them," he said during an interaction with local elders and victims of the 24 September earthquake at Awaran in Balochistan.
Baloch leaders should join the mainstream and contribute to the uplift of their people and the province, he said. He also called on Baloch rebels to disarm themselves and strengthen the country.
Sharif announced the quake-hit area of Awaran would be transformed into a model district. He said advanced technology will be used to reconstruct and develop the area.
Balochistan, the most deprived province of Pakistan, has been hit hard by a separatist insurgency and sectarian violence over the past few years. Over 500 people died in the recent quake, which left thousands homeless.
The insurgency became deadlier after nationalist leader Akbar Bugti was killed in a military operation in 2006. Balochistan sees frequent outbreaks of violence involving both Islamist militants and separatist rebels.
The separatists are demanding more autonomy and a greater share of Balochistan's natural resources. Targeted killings, bombings and kidnapping are rampant in the province. Sharif also announced compensation worth Rs 5 lakh for the families of the dead and Rs 1.5 lakh for those injured in the quake.
He directed the provincial Chief Minister to ensure the best possible development work in coordination with the army and the federal government.
Solar plants will be installed at Awaran, Mashkay and Nok Jo to provide round-the-clock electricity to people and to run tubewells, he said. He instructed officials to build quality roads and houses for the quake-affected people.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan accompanied Sharif to Balochistan.
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