President felicitates the nation on Balochistan empowerment package

This picture was taken during BB’s last visit to Quetta , 15th Dec, 2007

Late Benazir Bhutto on her last visit to Baluchistan sought a public apology from Baluch Brothers and sister. She promised to give them their due rights. And today federal government has announced to pay all the arrears of Gas Development surcharge from 1954-1991 amounting to Rs.120 billion to the Province in a period of 12 years. This single step would address a long standing economic demand of the Province along with other major announcements including the appointment of Chief Minister Baluchistan as the Chairman of Gawadar Development Authority.

Islamabad November 24, 2009: President Asif Ali Zardari has felicitated the government, the political parties and the people over the announcement today of Agaz-e-Haqooq-e Balochistan to make the province an equal partner in the Federation.

Spokesperson to the President former Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the President described the announcement of the empowerment package today as “a giant leap forward” towards addressing the issues of the people of the Province and empowering them in accordance with their aspirations..

The President recalled that Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto during her visit to Balochistan a fortnight before her assassination in December 2007 had promised the people of the Province that the PPP after coming into power would earnestly address their grievances. Thereafter the PPP, even before coming into power publicly and formally apologized to the people of Balochistan for the wrong and injustice done to them in the past by successive governments. It was followed by the setting up of a Shaheed Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto Committee on Balochistan to formulate proposals for addressing the grievances of the people in consultation with all stake holders. Finally a Parliamentary Committee was set up by the government which drew up the Empowerment Package in consultation with all political parties.

President Asif Ali Zardari said that the provision of release of all political workers, return of the exiles, the initiation of political dialogue across the political spectrum in the province and the setting up of a Commission in respect of the missing persons were measures of far reaching significance which will have a salutary impact on the people of Balochistan.

The President said that the decision to pay the arrears of Gas Development surcharge from 1954-1991 amounting to Rs.120 billion to the Province in a period of 12 years would address a long standing economic demand of the Province.

The President said that all those who worked tirelessly in preparing the package and all the political parties and stake holders that participated in the process and lent their support to it deserved the gratitude of the people of Balochistan, indeed of the whole country. He said it was a thanks giving day as a pledge made to the people had been redeemed.

President Asif Ali Zardari also advised the government that an effective monitoring mechanism should be put in place to oversee the implementation of the proposals announced today. The President said that he will closely watch the implementation of these proposals.

Dinner- Meeting of PPP and allies at the Presidency‏:
Islamabad; November 24, 2009: President Asif Ali Zardari has said that a resolution on the Balochistan Empowerment Package was not the end but the beginning of the resolutions by the Parliament to the problems of other provinces as well.

He said that the Pakistan Peoples Party as the largest political force in the country had the will and the capacity to lead and it also knew the way. This he said while addressing the members of the Parliament in the Presidency Tuesday night, who were invited for a dinner gathering after the presentation of the Balochistan Empowerment Package in the joint sitting of the Parliament today.

The dinner meeting was also attended by the Prime Minister Syed Yusaf Raza Gilani, Federal ministers and members of the allied parties.

The President congratulated the Prime minister, Parliamentary committee on Balochistan and all the political parties. He said this was an occasion not only to celebrate but also to make a commitment to implement the package in letter and spirit.

The President said that through the Empowerment Package the government and the allied parties had created an atmosphere to make a new beginning. He said that it was a very satisfying moment for all of us, when we recall that Shaheed Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto had promised the people of Balochistan in Quetta on December 15, 2007 that the PPP will empower them and redress their grievances.



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