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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Aghaaz-e-Huqooq: An unfinished agenda

Aghaaz-e-Huqooq: An unfinished agenda

The package looked good on paper, Balochistan still waiting for claims to materialise. PHOTO: FILE
Its title, Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan package, was only as long and exaggerated as the claims it made. From the day it was announced, November 24, 2009, it had three years to fulfill the promise of becoming the grandest achievement made by any government in two decades.
Its goal: to ameliorate the pain and disenfranchisement of the Baloch people.  Announcing the package in Parliament, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani took the liberty of saying it would “make the dreams of the Baloch people come true”. Indeed, the package looked good on paper. It included six constitutional, five political, 16 administrative and 34 economic proposals. It talked about giving Balochistan provincial autonomy and abolishing the Concurrent list. It recommended development projects, a military withdrawal, the deployment of the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary, and the end to enforced disappearances. However, over three years on, key proposals have yet to see the light of day writes QAISER BUTT. The province is just as deprived and the promises made with the package appear to be as thin as the paper they were written on.
Govt says package has achieved its targets
ISLAMABAD. Dismissing criticism, the government insists the Aghaz-e-Haqooq package was a success as it has achieved its main targets.  “The economic rights of the people of Balochistan have been recognised for the first time under the 18th amendment, which will have a far-reaching impact on the development in the province,” a government spokesperson told The Express Tribune.
He said all the targets had been achieved by the federal government. “Even the people of the province have acknowledged that the package has brought a positive change to their lives,” he maintained, adding that the elected representatives had also voiced their appreciation for the package.  According to a military official, the army has also initiated a number of development, health, education, employment and training projects in the province. The army helped provide jobs to over 100,000 Baloch in various projects. Also, 19,000 students were integrated into the mainstream education system, most of them fully sponsored by the army. And 18,000 young people have also been enrolled into the army as soldiers while 700 others have been recruited as officers.
The army is providing security to major mineral exploration projects, including the Chamalang Coal mine project, Duki Coal mine project, Kassa Marble hills project and Reko Diq Gold mines.