Islamabad, May 20 (IANS) Twenty six militants belonging to various outlawed terrorist groups surrendered to the government in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province on Friday, as part of the ongoing reconciliation process, officials said.

“The militants also surrendered their weapons to the authorities at a ceremony attended by senior military and civil officials of the province,” Xinhua quoted Anwarul Haq Kakar, Spokesperson of the Balochistan government, as saying.

The insurgents laid down their weapons under the leadership of the commander Omar Baloch, a member of a banned outfit involved in carrying out terrorist activities in the province.

“We are denouncing violence and will now work for the country and nation,” Baloch said.

Speaking at the event, Senator Niamatullah Khan Zehri said more than 1,600 militants have abandoned their bloody armed struggle against the state in the last two years.

Col. Rizwan from the Pakistani Army welcomed the ex-militants and urged them to work for the peace and development of not only Balochistan but of greater Pakistan.

It is the second time when militants surrendered to the government within a month in Balochistan.

Earlier on April 21, 434 militants laid down their weapons and surrendered to the authorities in the provincial capital of Quetta.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.