Pakistan’s military chief has said that the Army would support any political steps allowed under the Constitution to resolve the problems of insurgency-hit Balochistan province.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani said this Wednesday in a policy statement on Balochistan made before his departure to Moscow on a four-day official visit.
The Army chief said that support would be extended to a political solution to the Balochistan problem, provided that the solution is according to the Constitution of Pakistan. Kayani said that any step taken which goes against the Constitution will be unacceptable.
“[The] Army fully supports any political process, as long as it is within the constitution of Pakistan”, said the statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Army’s media wing.
Kayani’s comments follow in the shadows of former Balochistan chief minister and Balochistan National Party president Sardar Akhtar Mengal’s recent statements made in the Supreme Court after a self-imposed exile of three years in London.
The SC is hearing a case on the law and order situation in the restive province.
“Why should not we divorce peacefully rather than seeking for a bloody divorce if the rulers have decided to keep on giving us mutilated dead bodies,” Sardar Mengal had said before a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.
Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, is plagued by a growing separatist insurgency and a worsening law and order situation, in addition to target killings, kidnappings for ransom and enforced disappearances. Mengal had termed the issue of enforced disappearances, or ‘missing persons’, as the main reason of the oil and gas rich province’s unrest.
Mengal also presented a six-point charter, calling for an immediate end to all covert and overt military operations in Balochistan, the procurement and fair trial of all ‘missing persons’ before a court of law, and an end to all “proxy death squads” allegedly operating under the supervision of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Military Intelligence (MI).