Balochistan’s Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langau has said that Pakistan is speedily fencing its border with Iran and Afghanistan to curb cross-border militant attacks. Admitting that the measure would impact the livelihood of people who depend on cross-border trade, the minister told a foreign news agency that maintaining law and order is the government’s top priority. “Our long western border is not safe, due to which terrorism happens and people’s lives are under threat,” Langau said. “So, the first thing you do is to protect the lives of people,” he said. He said that it is the responsibility of the state to help people make a living, adding that a committee under his chairmanship is already looking into the issue. “We are making a free economic zone and trying to promote legal businesses,” he said. “We have decided to employ people who may suffer due to border fencing in four government departments: police, Levies, Frontier Constabulary and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority.” He said that the overall security situation in the province has improved though more work needs to be done. “There was a time when we were witnessing daily suicide attacks,” Langau said. “However, the sacrifices of our security forces have brought down the number of such incidents to a significant extent, though terrorism has not entirely disappeared.” Langau said that the provincial government believes in resolving issues through negotiations. “Our government wants to talk to everyone and resolve issues through negotiations, but terrorism should stop. It is not possible to hold dialogue in an atmosphere of terrorism,” he added. The provincial home minister denied any official deliberations on the idea of turning Gwadar into the province’s southern capital. “Balochistan is a very big province and constitutes about half of Pakistan’s landmass,” he said. “There is no harm if such a decision is taken for administrative purposes. However, this thing has not been discussed in the cabinet or any official forum,” he added. However, he said turning Gwadar into a capital would benefit the area’s people. “If the chief minister and his cabinet are there in Gwadar,” Langau added, “they will be able to address the challenges faced by locals in their native environment instead of Quetta.” Pakistan started fencing its western border two years ago, with the country’s Economic Coordination Committee allocating Rs3 billion ($18.6 million) in additional funding to fence the stretch along Iran in April last year.