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Hundreds of Baloch rebels surrender to Pakistan govt

AFP  |  Quetta 

Around 500 Baloch rebel militants today surrendered to Pakistan's as pursues its development agenda linked to the ambitious Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the southwest province.

Some 487 militants from four Baloch rebel organisations, including at least eight senior commanders, laid down their arms at an official ceremony in city.

The militants pledged their allegiance to the state of at the ceremony, which was also attended by the provincial chief minister.

has been battling insurgency in mineral-rich since 2004, with hundreds of soldiers and militants killed in the fighting.

A greater push towards peace and development by Pakistani authorities, including starting work on roads and infrastructure under the Chinese-assisted project - which connects Balochistan's deep sea port Gwadar to - has reduced the violence considerably.

"These militants had killed my own son and brother but I have forgiven them. The state of Pakistan also forgives them and I welcome them to be part of Balochistan's project," said Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri at the ceremony.

"We will arrange employment for you. Nobody will be allowed to destroy peace in the province," he said.

Those who surrendered were members of Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), Republican Army (BRA), United Baloch Army and Lashkar-e-Balochistan.

"We were misled by Brahumdagh Bugti. We have now come to know that he works for India. Why should we fight in our own country for another country," said Sarbaz Baloch, former spokesman of BRA, who has been fighting for 15 years.

Bugti is an exiled Baloch leader based in Europe who has applied for asylum in India.

Baluchistan is the largest of Pakistan's four provinces, but its roughly seven million inhabitants have long complained they do not receive a fair share of its gas and mineral wealth.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, April 22 2017. 00:02 IST