Home Latest News Lawmakers Call for ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ on Balochistan

Lawmakers Call for ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ on Balochistan

Federal ministers lead calls for high-level body to resolve province’s persistent issues

by Staff Report

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Defense Minister Khawaja Asif and Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman led calls in the National Assembly on Tuesday for the formation of a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to resolve the longstanding issues of Balochistan, as BNP-Mengal chief Akhtar Mengal raised concerns over missing persons in the Lower House.

In a point of order, the Balochistan National Party (Mengal) leader regretted that the people of Balochistan were being pushed to the point of no return, emphasizing that no government—whether democratic or otherwise—had managed to improve the lives of the Baloch. “Why are Balochistan’s issues not resolving?” he asked, stressing that the government recognized the seriousness of his concerns, but it did not have the “authority” to act.

Referring to a recent operation in which the Balochistan Counter-Terrorism Department claimed to have killed four members of the banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) in an encounter, he noted that it had been found that all of these had been “missing persons.” Recalling that Baloch leaders had shared a list of missing persons with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government, he alleged that one of the people on that list had also been killed in the same encounter.

Reacting to Mengal’s speech, the defense minister agreed that Balochistan’s issues must be resolved. Admitting that all governments had made mistakes in the past, he lamented that politicians used the issue of missing persons as a political slogan but failed to accomplish anything once elected to Parliament.

Claiming pressing issues of governance had been ignored due to an ongoing bid for power from PTI chief Imran Khan, Asif said “blackmailing the state” could wait for the sake of the public. He stressed that the points raised by Mengal were genuine and all politicians should work together to resolve the plight of Balochistan.

At her turn at the podium, the climate change minister referred to Khan’s describing of his long march as “jihad” against the government as a “war” being fought in the name of religion when it was merely a battle for power. “The problems of Balochistan should be heard to start reconciliation,” she said. “We should also hear the bitter truth about the problems of Balochistan,” she added, stressing courts should prioritize human rights cases. She proposed the formation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help resolve the issues of Balochistan; a suggestion that was also supported by Mohsin Dawar, who said it would help steer the country in the right direction.

According to Rehman, no one wants terrorism to increase in the country. “We should be taken into confidence about the operation that is going on,” she said, adding the TTP could not be allowed to return without any resistance.

Also addressing the Lower House, Human Rights Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada called for empowering Parliament by focusing on resolving the issues of the people and performing its role as per the spirit of the Constitution. Speaking on a point of order, he said all institutions should perform their role as per the Constitution and protect the interests of the country.

Lamenting the rise of intolerance in society, he pointed to attacks on Ahmadis, sectarian violence, and land-grabbing is Punjab as issues that required urgent steps. He also stressed that the issues raised by the BNP-M chief should be resolved on priority.

Emphasizing that the interests of the nation should take precedence over petty issues, he regretted that a person who had contested elections on multiple seats—a reference to Imran Khan—was involved in threatening institutions and people. A huge amount was spent on these elections for political gains, which was painful, he added.

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