Balochistan MPs slam drone attacks, high PIA fares


QUETTA – Members of the Balochistan Assembly have expressed serious concern over the non-availability of fuel for trains and high fares of PIA flights for Balochistan, while condemning US drone attacks on a gathering of tribal elders in North Waziristan Agency.
The assembly session started with Speaker Muhammad Aslam Bhootani in the chair on Friday evening and the House offered fateha for the people killed in Thursday’s drone attack in Datta Khel, soon after recitation from the holy Quran.
On a point of order provincial minister Zamrak Khan said the members condemned the US drone attacks on civilians in North Waziristan, calling it an open act of terrorism. He said the US paid millions of rupees to save the life of one American, while dozens of innocent people were being massacred each day in the country.
PPP parliamentary leader and provincial minister Mir Sadiq Umrani said the suspension of train service due to non-availability of fuel was akin to depriving the people of Balochistan of cheap sources of transportation. He demanded the provincial government take up the matter with railways and the federal government, saying the suspension of train service under the pretext of non-availability of fuel was a conspiracy against the PPP government.
Engineer Zamrak Khan of Awani National Party, Nasreen Kehtran and Haibur Rehman Muhammad Hassani fully backed Umrani, saying immediate steps should be taken to ensure fuel for trains. The speaker took serious notice of the issue and ordered summoning Quetta Railways DS in the Balochistan Assembly Secretariat for an explanation.
The members also criticised PIA for charging high fares from the people of Balochistan compared to other provinces. Asad Baloch of the Balochistan National Party-Awami said on a point of order that Balochistan was also a unit of Pakistan, but it was being meted out step-motherly treatment.
Another BNP-A member and provincial minister Syed Ehsan Shah also criticised PIA, saying there was no direct flight to Islamabad and Karachi from Quetta. Speaker Muhammad Aslam Bhootani directed the assembly secretary to summon PIA general manger in the assembly secretariat in this regard.
On another point of order, Syed Ehsan Shah said Makran division was facing power crisis and asked the government to take up this issue with the federal government. The House also passed the draft bill of Balochistan Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority for promotion of technical education in the province.