Pakistan offers amnesty for Baloch militants

Authorities in Balochistan announce planned amnesty for those who lay down arms

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Pakistan's Balochistan provincial government has announced plans for a general amnesty for militants who denounce violence and lay down their arms on Friday.

Baloch nationalists have been fighting for more autonomy and control over gas and mineral resources in the restive southwestern region, which has long been plagued by the violence.

Balochistan is the largest of Pakistan's four provinces, but residents have complained they do not receive a fair share of the province’s wealth.

The apex committee led by Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch announced the planned amnesty, saying “peaceful, conciliatory Balochistan policy will be implemented so that the youngsters who want to lay down arms and join the mainstream can be granted amnesty and be encouraged to rehabilitate themselves,” according to the Express Tribune report.

Officials said the offer is only for local militants and former militants will receive cash prizes to rebuild their lives if they decide to leave militant groups.

The committee stressed that the plan will not affect security measures against the insurgency, adding the government will take necessary steps to curb sectarian tension in the province, including the registration of religious seminaries and reorganisation of Afghan refugees.

At least eight Pakistani police officers were shot dead in the Balochistan province this month and a deadly bus bombing killed 22 passengers. Both attacks were claimed by Baloch separatist groups.

Balochistan has been the site of multiple armed guerilla campaigns against the state by separatist forces, the latest of which has been continuing since 2005. The army has vowed to end the fighting in the region.


TRTWorld and agencies