Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Appointment of non-local GPA chairman irks Baloch leaders

By Sajid Hussain

KARACHI: Baloch parliamentarians have protested the appointment of a non-local “junior” official as the Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) chairman by the federal government “despite the presence of senior Baloch officers”.

“We have been saying this from the very beginning that the Gwadar Port is not for the Baloch people. Why a junior non-Baloch official has been made the Gwadar Port chairman by superseding senior Baloch officers?” asked Senator Hasil Bizenjo while talking to this correspondent on phone.

“The rulers are not serious in resolving the Baloch issue and the Balochistan package has been exposed after this discriminatory and unlawful appointment of the Gwadar Port chairman,” said the National Party leader.

The federal government has appointed Commodore (retired) Mohammad Azhar as the acting chairman of the Gwadar Port Authority in the absence of the chairman Aslam Hayat, who is leaving for London. A source in the Gwadar Port told The News that senior GPA officials had written a letter to the federal minister for ports and shipping, conveying their inability to work under a “junior officer”.

Senator Dr Malik Baloch, President National Party, termed the appointment a conspiracy against the Gwadar Port and the people of Balochistan. He wondered why the federal government was further alienating the people of Balochistan by such acts. “Such an unwise and biased action would only widen the trust deficit between the Baloch and the federal government,” he said.

“I can’t understand why a non-local junior official has been made the chairman despite the fact that much senior Baloch officials are serving in the authority. The port’s Director General (Finance) Ghulam Farooq Baloch and DG (Administration) Khair Mohammad Shahwani are much senior to the newly-appointed acting chairman. Why a Baloch can’t be appointed as the port’s head?” questioned Senator Ismail Buledi.

The JUI-F leader said he would raise the issue in the Senate as well as the Senate Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping of which he was a member.

Meanwhile, Balochistan National Party-Awami Senator Mir Mohammad Ali Rind was also highly critical of the appointment of the new GPA chairman. “I strongly reject this appointment as discriminatory and unlawful. This should not have happened at least at a time when the federal government is making tall claims for addressing the grievances of the Baloch”.

Minister for Ports and Shipping Babar Ghauri was not available for comments as he is out of the country