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QUETTA: A high-level meeting was held at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on Sunday to review the Pak-Afghan border situation. The meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Balochistan Mir Sarfaraz Bugti and attended by Speaker Provincial Assembly Abdul Khaliq Achakzai, Minister for Interior Mir Zia Langove, MPA Zafar Agha, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Imran Zarkoon, Additional Chief Secretary Home Zahid Saleem, Additional IG Police Javed Dogar, DIG Zhob, and Deputy Commissioner Chaman.

During the meeting, a briefing was presented by the Home Department, stating that 220,000 illegal immigrants have been deported from Balochistan since October 21, 2023. It was also proposed to waive the passport fee for residents of the border area. New passport offices have been established in Chaman and Qila Abdullah, where local residents can obtain passports without any hassle.

The meeting also discussed the issues of small-scale businessmen affected by the border closure. It was informed that data has been collected for 1432 individuals in the first phase and 3685 individuals in the second phase, and they will be provided with compensation of Rs 20,000 each. The process of payment to other affected individuals is also underway.

However, it was further stated that some issues have arisen in the second phase of compensation distribution due to the COVID-19 relief fund and first installment payment. These issues are being resolved through contact with the BISP.

The federal government has provided Rs 97 crore for this purpose, and efforts are being made to ensure transparent distribution of the funds. The Chaman Master Plan has been completed, which will boost economic activities at the local level.

Chief Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti while addressing the participants expressed satisfaction over the steps taken so far and directed the high-level committee to hold talks with all stake-holders, including the Chamber of Commerce, Traders Association,

and civil society, to resolve the issues.

The committee, comprising Speaker Provincial Assembly Abdul Khaliq Achakzai, Minister for Interior Mir Zia Langove, MPA Zafar Agha, Additional Chief Secretary Home Zahid Saleem, Additional IG Police Javed Dogar, DIG Zhob, and Deputy Commissioner Chaman, will visit Chaman today to hold meetings with all stake-holders.

Chief Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti said that the one-document regime is a federal government decision, and the province is bound to implement it. He said that the affected people will be provided compensation of Rs 20,000 each under the Benazir Income Support Program.

The Chief Minister also said that the Chaman Master Plan will boost economic activities at the local level. He emphasized that the one-document regime is a constitutional requirement, and all stakeholders must cooperate to resolve the issues.

The Chief Minister announced that he will visit Chaman next week to review the situation and provide relief to the affected people. He said that the provincial government will take all possible steps to resolve the issues and ensure the rule of law.

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