Pakistan’s interior minister may visit Kabul to meet Brahmdagh

Courtesy: daily Dawn

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik is likely to visit Kabul soon to meet Baloch leader Brahmdagh Bugti to win him over, well-placed sources told Dawn on Friday.

However, it has not been decided whether Mr Malik will visit Afghanistan before President Asif Ali Zardari’s coming visit to the US in which he will be accompanying the president or after his return from America.

The sources confirmed that Brahmdagh Bugti, the grandson of Nawab Akbar Bugti, was in Kabul and in constant touch with the government.

The government has realised that without bringing disgruntled Baloch leaders home permanent peace could not be restored in Balochistan.

In a statement on Friday, the interior minister said: ‘I will go anywhere to meet and appease Brahmdagh.’

Mr Rehman is likely to go Kabul to attend the oath-taking of the Afghan president.

The government has already requested the US to expel Brahmdagh from Kabul because it believes he is involved in terrorist attacks in Pakistan apparently to avenge the death of his grandfather, who was killed in Aug 2006.

According to the sources, Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani during a recent meeting with the US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, called for removal of Brahmdagh from Kabul.

Gen Kayani reportedly said he had informed the US several times that the Baloch leader was near the palace of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and was involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan.

Mr Holbrooke said he had taken up the matter with the Afghan president, who had assured him that Brahmdagh would be expelled from the country after the presidential election.

A PPP leader claimed that Brahmdagh was still in Kabul.

Political analysts believed there was a possibility that the Baloch leader might be expelled from Afghanistan in a few days and after that a meeting between Mr Malik and Brahmdagh might take place outside Pakistan.

The government has decided to withdraw cases against Baloch leaders and grant general amnesty to political prisoners and those who are in exile or allegedly involved in anti-state activities. The decision was apparently taken to seek Baloch leaders’ help in restoring peace in the province.

Sources associated with the Balochistan committee of Pakistan People’s Party said recommendations of the committee had been approved by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

In a recent meeting with Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi, the president said the government was determined to remove sense of deprivation among the Baloch people and address financial problems of the province.

Mr Zardari said the government had already announced special measures and packages for Balochistan. ‘People of Balochistan will be brought into mainstream of national life at par with people of other provinces in terms of development, in light of the recommendations of the parliamentary committee on Balochistan,’ he said.

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