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Despite 18th Amendment, Centre Continues to Infringe upon Provincial Matters in Balochistan, says a National Party Leader

The nation cannot possess actual democracy till the commoners from the level of grass-roots reach the parliament- stated Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch on Tuesday

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Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch. Wikimedia commons
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Pakistan, October 19, 2016: The nation cannot possess actual democracy till the commoners from the level of grass-roots reach the parliament- stated the former Chief Minister of Balochistan and the leader of the ‘National Party’ or NP, Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch on Tuesday. He also said that post the 18th Constitutional Amendment Passage, the Centre kept on encroaching upon the provincial matters.

While addressing Meet the Press Program of the Hyderabad Press Club and the HCBA or High Court Bar Association, Hyderabad chapter- he stated that the 18th amendment is not really being accomplished and implemented with a strong spirit, mentioned the Dawn report.

All properties and natural resources should be owned by the Federating units wherever those are located. He said that provincial governments must own Gwadar and the ports of Karachi.

He further added, the National Party backed the cause of the Economic Corridor of Pakistan and China, but insisted the Federal Government to relinquish control over the ports and hand them over to the provinces. It is actually the municipal authority that possesses the control over the ports around the globe, he mentioned to Dawn.

He added that the city of Gwadar must have the fare share of the revenues acquired from the ports besides the federal governments and Balochistan.

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The Refugee Crisis:

Dr Abdul Malik Baloch said, of all issues in the country the most severe problem that is faced right now is the refugee crisis. He observed that there is an onslaught of the refugees and this issue had created both economic and national problems previously. He added that the federal government must repatriate the refugees immediately. He also claimed to have opposed the census till there are refugees in the country, adding that they stayed in Balochistan under the policy of the state earlier but currently the state’s policy have transformed. He then added that the situation is improving slowly.

Mr. Baloch clarified to the members of the Bar that his disagreeing notes in the meetings of CCI (the council of Common Interests) concerning census, were on records.

Peace in Quetta City:

He further added, “When I took over as chief minister, the law and order situation was at its worst. Roads were not safe for people to travel and cases of kidnapping were rampant and insurgency was also at its peak”. He also claimed to have made a “heavily politicized” police force, an apolitical one.

“Even as chief minister, I didn’t make one single appointment or transfer, while budgetary allocation of Rs10 billion was made for police and Levies so that they could take care of themselves”, the former Chief Minister was quoted as saying to Dawn.

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Mr. Baloch stated that it would take really long to improve the situations in the country since Balochistan was caught in a game of power. “Elements connected with India or Afghanistan can possibly be involved in Balochistan for their own vested interests,” he said.

provincial matters
City of Quetta. Wikimedia commons

There was an improvement, observed in the sector of Education and presently the provincial commission of the Public Service became “free of corruption”. Who had settled and then left Quetta, have returned and the city is now witnessing gradual development of business activities- he said.

He added further “We talked to insurgents as well and a delegation of senior leaders talked to Brahamdagh Bugti and Khan of Kalat. They are now willing to talk and efforts are still under way to reach some amicable settlement with them [insurgents].”

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Peace in the Regions:

He said that he would favor a negotiation with the neighboring countries when it comes to the situation in the regions. Iran, Afghanistan, China, and India must be taken on board to possess prosperity and peace, Mr. Baloch stated.

 – prepared by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Can Flourishing Islamic State (ISIS) be Stopped in Afghanistan?

The truth about IS and Afghanistan is definitely no picnic

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Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016. The rise of IS in Afghanistan has become such a priority that U.S. and Afghan forces sometimes support the Taliban while battling IS, VOA
  • Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
  • Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
  • In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS

June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.

Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.

Confusion leads to mistakes

All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.

Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.

“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”

Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.

Confusing scenarios

Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.

“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.

In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.

IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.

Families displaced

IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.

Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.

“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.

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Recruiting unemployed youths

IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.

Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.

IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.

Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.

Darzab district

Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.

IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.

Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.

“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.

Hit-and-hide strategy

IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.

Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.

“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)