Saturday, 12 September 2009

Pakistan - Interior Minister Rehman Malik may visit Kabul to meet Brahmdagh Bugti


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.

Read the full story here.

1 comment:

  1. In Kiev, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have taken to the streets to demand the government join the European Union, in the hopes it will spur economic growth. In Kabul, Afghan leaders overwhelmingly voted to have American troops remain for another decade, in the hopes they will maintain a “war and aid economy” that has brought them unprecedented riches.

    As a fiscally constrained and war-weary Washington confronts its foreign policy challenges, events in Ukraine and Afghanistan show that economic incentives can play a major role in addressing them. Younger generations in both countries are eager for prosperity, reduced corruption and a place in a globalized economy. Globalism is challenging cronyism.

    In Ukraine, many motives are driving the young demonstrators, who have been protesting since President Viktor Yanukovich abruptly announced that he would not sign an association agreement with the European Union. But a key belief voiced by protesters is that adopting EU-mandated judicial reforms would reduce the country’s staggering levels of corruption.

    “They get access to the European rule of law,” Steven Pifer, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “They don’t have worry about the corruption and the arbitrary seizure of property.”

    Many Ukrainians, however, may overestimate the economic benefits of joining the European Union, as Julia Ioffe pointed out in the New Republic on Tuesday. Croatia’s economy, for example, has been tepid since it joined. And one of the first reforms the EU requires would mean increasing the low price of gas set by Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt energy sector.

    Yanukovich’s surprise decision came just as Russian President Vladimir Putin is economically pressing Ukraine to join a rival trade group, led by Russia. This dispute is the latest example of jockeying between Putin and the West — which extends from the former Soviet bloc to the Middle East.

    In recent years, U.S. officials have stepped back in Eastern Europe and allowed European Union officials to take the lead. While some have criticized that move as signaling weakness, Pifer argues that the European Union is more popular in Ukraine than the United States. Washington stepping back also eliminates a propaganda tool for the Russian leader.

    “Putin can portray it as the United States is leading the charge,” Pifer said. “It’s another effort by the U.S. to hem in Russia.”

    In Afghanistan, similar lessons are emerging. In a country famed for its xenophobia, the vast majority of the country’s political elite have criticized President Hamid Karzai’s last-minute refusal to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement, or BSA, that would allow a small number of U.S. forces to remain for a decade.

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