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Balochistan Package

The Federal Government on November 25, 2009 presented the Aghaaz-e-Huqook Balochistan package to a joint sitting of the parliament. Following is the text of the package presented by Senator Raza Rabbani of the ruling Pakistan People's Party:


"Conscious, that the provinces have a sense of deprivation, in political and economic structures of the federation;

Recalling, that the provisions of the 1973 constitution in particular relating to the federation-province relationship have been circumvented;

Stating that the financial assistance given by the present federal government in terms of Rs 4.6 billion PSDP support, Rs 2.8 billion paid as arrears of royalty for Uch - pending since 1995, Rs 17.5 billion overdraft of Balochistan written off, realising that this is not a substitute to provincial autonomy;

Acknowledging, that the question of provincial autonomy needs to be revisited and the ownership of the provinces over their resources reasserted in the constitution;

Mindful, of the tumultuous history of the province of Balochistan in the affairs of the federation;

Placing on Record that the present federal government has withdrawn cases and released political workers and helped in identifying the places of detention and release of some of the missing persons;

Determined, to correct the wrongs of history, by conferring the political, economic and cultural rights of the provinces, so that the federation may blossom, and;

Recalling, the documents made from time to time, namely The Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Reconciliation Committee Papers, the interim reports of the Wasim Sajjad and Mushahid Hussain Sayed committees of the Parliamentary Committee on Balochistan, headed by Chaudhary Shujaat, proposals made by the Balochistan chief secretary and the proposals of Mian Raza Rabbani.

The following "proposals" are made:

A. Constitutional-related Matters

1. Constitutional Reform: In terms of the resolutions passed by parliament, the speaker has constituted a parliamentary committee. The said committee has commenced work of considering various amendments in the constitution, including on provincial autonomy, this should be immediately addressed;

2. Constitutional Reform: The quantum, form and scope of provincial autonomy will be determined by the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms, which represents all shades of political opinion in parliament. The following provisions of the constitution on provincial autonomy are under consideration of the committee; (i) Deletion of the Concurrent List from the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution; (ii) Deletion of the Police Order, 2002 and The Balochistan Local Government Ordinance, 2001 from the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution; (iii) Effective implementation of Article 153 of the constitution, Council of Common Interests; (iv) Implementation of Article 160 of the constitution, NFC Award; (v) Implementation of articles 154, 155, 156, 157, 158 and 159 of the constitution.

3. Restructuring of the NFC Award criteria: In the past, the formula was based on population. This has been changed and other criteria such as inverse population ratio, backwardness, poverty and resource generation need to be taken into consideration.

B. Politically-related Matters

4. Release of Political Workers: The federal government in consultation with the provincial government should immediately release all political workers, except those charged under heinous crimes;

5. Political Dialogue: Immediate to the acceptance of all the proposals contained herein, initiation of a political dialogue with all major stakeholders in the political spectrum of the province, to bring them into the mainstream politics.

6. Return of Exiles: The political exiles who return to Pakistan will be facilitated. (Except those involved in acts of terrorism).

7. Provincial Assembly Resolutions: The unanimously passed resolutions of the assembly from 2002 until date, related to the province, be implemented within the legal framework of the constitution.

8. Local Government: The Balochistan Local Government Ordinance needs to be amended by the provincial government keeping in view the administrative needs of the province.

C. Administratively-related Matters

9. Operations by Federal Agencies: The federal government should immediately review the role of federal agencies in the province and stop all such operations that are not related to the pursuit of fighting terrorism;

10. Construction of Cantonments: The federal government should announce, that the presence of the army in Sui will be withdrawn and replaced by the FC in pursuit of peace in the present situation. Proposals should not be formulated for the construction of new cantonments except in frontier areas, wherever required;

11. Commission: A commission should be constituted in respect of the missing persons. The commission should be headed by sitting member of the superior judiciary from Balochistan, including the federal defence, interior ministers and the home minister of the province. The proceedings of such a commission shall be held in camera.

12. Missing Persons: The names of missing persons be identified and following actions be taken immediately, after verification, in any case, if they are found to be in custody. (i) Those persons against whom there are no charges be released. (ii) Those persons against whom there are charges be brought before a court of competent jurisdiction within seven days for trial (effective from the date of promulgation of commission). (iii) Such persons be allowed legal consul of their choice, the government should assist them in this regard in accordance with law. (iv) Family members of such persons be informed accordingly and allowed visiting rights.

13. Judicial Inquiry: Judicial inquiry by the superior judiciary be ordered by the federal government to inquire into: -

a. Murder of Baloch political workers, Ghulam Muhammad, Lala Munir and Munir Ahmed.

b. Target killing in the province.

14. Nawab Akbar Bugti Shaheed: A fact-finding commission, headed by a retired judge of the Supreme or High Court be constituted, to determine the circumstances leading to the death of Nawab Akbar Bugti Shaheed.

15. New Army Cantonments: Construction of new cantonments in Sui and Kohlu be stopped for the time being. Army will be withdrawn from Sui after handing over the duties to FC. FC will also takeover the already constructed Cantonment at Sui.

16. Conversion Of "B" Areas Into "A" Areas: In view of the decision of the provincial government, the policy of conversion of "B" areas into "A" areas may be reviewed from time to time. Urban areas may have regular police.

17. The Role Of Civil Armed Forces:

(i) Frontier Corps; The role of the FC in law enforcement shall be under the chief minister of the province. The powers conferred under the Customs Act shall be withdrawn, (ii) Coast Guard; The CG should perform its primary duty of checking smuggling of arms and narcotics along the coast and the border. The check posts established beyond their territorial limits as prescribed under the law shall be dismantled. An exercise of delimitation of the border areas needs to be undertaken by the federal government, provincial government and the Frontier Corps to give effect to the aforesaid.

18. Check Posts: The various check posts established by the civil armed forces and other related agencies, other than border areas should be in accordance with the directions of the provincial government.

19. Judicial Inquiry: here should be a judicial enquiry by the superior judiciary into the allotment of land at Gwadar,

20. Flood Relief: Some monies are due on the federal government for the flood-affected people of Balochistan, these amounts should be released.

21. Education: Balochistan be given a special quota of scholarships by the Higher Education Commission so that students of the province can pursue studies leading up to local or foreign Masters and PhDs.

D. Economically-related Matters

22. Rationalisation Of The Royalty Formula:

(i) Rationalization of the royalty formula and the Gas Development Surcharge have been done, (ii) The concept of public-private ownership in the areas of a district granted for exploration should be followed. Where contracts are awarded, the said district should be given 15% of revenue to be received by the provincial government, (iii) Due representation should be given to the province on the boards of the PPL; OGDC and Sui Southern Gas, (iv) Distribution companies should be obligated under contract/law to provide on priority basis gas to the district where it is explored, (v) In case of a successful find the federal government shall spend an amount equivalent to 10% of the net profits on development projects in the area. The ascertainment of profits shall be open to scrutiny by independent/third party auditors, (vi) The federal government has released the accrued Production Bonus to the districts producing oil and gas. This policy will be strictly implemented.

23. Mega Projects:

(i) All new mega projects to be initiated with the consent and approval of the provincial government. The share of the province in its profits/benefits to be assured in the contact/agreement, (ii) The concept of public-private ownership in such projects to be followed where ever possible, (iii) In Gwadar, there shall be a free economic zone and political activities in the said zone may be regulated by an appropriate law to be framed in consultation with all the stakeholders, (iv) In Gwadar, all or as far as possible, appointments in BS-1 to 16, should be from the local population, (v) In Gwadar, the local youth should be provided technical training and absorbed in GPA, GDA and Special Economic Zone, (vi) Preference should be given to the qualified local contractors while awarding contracts related to the port, (vii) Compensation and reallocation of all those fishermen, who are being displaced due to the Gwadar Port must be finalised immediately, (ix) The two jetties agreed to be constructed for the fishermen on the eastern and western bays be constructed, (x) A fisheries training centre as required to be established under the 9th Five Year Plan for Balochistan be constructed, (xi) A portion of the revenue collected by the Gwadar Port Authority be allocated for the development of the province, (xii) The chief minister shall be the ex-officio chairman of the Gwadar Development Authority and there shall be seven members from the province on the Board of Directors, (xiii) The provincial government of Balochistan will nominate a person duly qualified to be the Chairman of the Gwadar Development Authority.

24. SUI:

(i) There should be a special development package for the area. (ii) The armed forces should be systematically withdrawn from the area.

25.Employment Opportunities:

(a) The federal government will create, with immediate effect, five thousand additional jobs for the province, (b) (i) The quota for the province as prescribed in the rules/law for employment in government (specially foreign service), semi-government, autonomous/semi-autonomous, corporations and bodies must be strictly complied with. Deficiency if any, needs to be met in a proactive manner, (ii) The Overseas Employment Foundation needs to facilitate the recruitment of skilled or unskilled labour for employment aboard, (iii) The local people living along the coast who meet the criteria should be given jobs in the Coast Guards, (iv) The monitoring of the aforesaid shall be the responsibility of the Senate Standing Committee for Establishment.

26. Gas Development Surcharge: The federal government agrees to pay the arrears of Gas Development Surcharge from 1954 to 1991. This is a total amount of Rs 120 billion payable in 12 years.

27. Ownership in oil and gas companies: In organisations such as PPL, OGDCL and Sui Southern, the province will be able to purchase up to 20% of the right shares when offered in the open market.

28. Sandak Project: The federal government from its 30% shares in the project will immediately give 20% to the province. On completion of the project and when the foreign company withdraws, the project shall be owned exclusively by the province.

29. Uniform Price of Gas: There shall be a uniform price of gas throughout the country for the purpose of calculation of GDS.

30. Fishing Trawlers: Fishing trawlers should be restricted to the authorised limits of 33 kilometres from the coast. This will help promote the small fishermen.

31. Kohlu District: Special incentives should be given to the local tribes to facilitate exploration in the area, which continues to be closed due to security concerns.

32. Poverty Alleviation: In all poverty alleviation schemes, the allocation of the province should be proportional to the percentage of people living below the poverty line.

33. Profit Sharing In Existing Agreements:

(i) It is proposed that existing agreements on projects such as SANDAK, REKODIC and others where agreements have already been negotiated, the federal government may reconsider the agreements concerning the sharing of income, profits or royalty between the federal government and the provincial government.

34. Dera Bugti Internally Displaced Persons: The federal government for the rehabilitation and settlement of the IDPs shall provide a sum of Rs 1 billion.

35. Water Management: The federal government shall immediately undertake schemes, which include the construction of small dams throughout the province but particularly in the districts of Quetta, Pasheen, Qila Abdullah, Qila Saifullah, Zhob etc.

E. Monitoring Mechanism

36. Parliamentary Committee on National Security: It is proposed that the federal government, provincial government and other departments/agencies involved in the implementation of the proposals shall brief the Parliamentary Committee on National Security on the status of implementation on a monthly bases.

37. Parliament: The federal government and the provincial government shall every three months lay a report before both Houses of parliament, separately, on the state of implementation of the proposals. The two Houses shall separately allocate appropriate time for discussion on the said report.

38. The Standing Committee on Establishment Of The Senate Of Pakistan: The Standing Committee on Establishment of the Senate shall present a report every three months on Item No 25. The Senate chairman, after the report has been laid in the Senate, transmit the same to the speaker, National Assembly of Pakistan, for information of that House.

39. Certification: The federal minister for inter-provincial coordination shall at the end of each financial year certify to both the Houses of parliament separately, the amount of monies spent for the implementation of these proposals.

Source: Daily Times, November 25, 2009






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