Mengal: difference between the PPP and PML was that “we used to get mutilated bodies; now mass graves have started surfacing.
Sardar Akhtar Mengal, the chief of Balochistan National Party (BNP), on Saturday threatened to resign from national and provincial assemblies if the incidents of forced disappearances and killings of Baloch youth continued. In an exclusive interview to Business Recorder, Mengal, whose party has one National Assembly and two provincial assembly seats, expressed dissatisfaction over the inordinate delay in resolving issues faced by the province.
He averred that the PML(N) had assured him that it would restore peace in the province before coming into power. Unfortunately, however, the dumping of mutilated bodies still continued unabated. Mengal stated that he had brought these issues to the notice of the Prime Minister during a recent meeting and was assured that the ongoing year would be the year of political and economic change for the province.
“Let’s us see what changes he is going to bring about in the province. We have informed him about the major problems of the province [and] the most acute problem is the restoration of peace, when there will be peace the rest of the issues will be solved automatically,” he added.
Mengal expressed disappointment at the performance of PML(N)-led federal government, saying “it has failed to deliver the way we expected from a democratically-elected government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif”. “We might quit the assemblies if our genuine demands for the restoration of peace and killing of Baloch youth at the hands of paramilitary forces are not halted. The government should give importance to Balochistan as the situation in the province has not improved despite change of government,” he maintained.
Mengal added the difference between the PPP and PML(N) governments was that “we used to get mutilated bodies [during the previous regime]; now mass graves have started surfacing.” About mega development schemes, he said that the previous government had launched Aghaz-e-Haquq-e-Balochistan but the common man did not benefit from it as some political parties exploited the situation in the name of Balochistan uplift through this scheme.
He emphasised that the development of province was not a major issues; what the people of the province wanted was restoration of peace. He said he had forwarded his ‘six points’ to the government. His six points are: (1) All overt and covert military operations against the Baloch should end; (2) All missing persons should be produced; (3) All proxy death squads created by the ISI and MI should be disbanded; (4) Baloch nationalist parties should be allowed level playing field without interference from ISI and MI; (5) Those responsible for the killings and disappearances should be brought to book; (6) Thousands of Baloch displaced by the conflict should be rehabilitated.
He also flayed the government for remaining tight-lipped over holding talks with separatists Baloch nationalists, saying it was more interested in holding talks with Taliban fugitives hiding in caves while Baloch nationalists were not its priority. “Why are you hesitant to hold talks with Baloch nationalists while you are making all-out efforts to woo Taliban fugitives…the major reason behind Balochistan unrest is that you ignore the major stakeholders,” he regretted.
He was also sceptical about government’s intentions to hold talks with disgruntled Baloch, saying it was ready to own the Taliban while Baloch were strangers to it. “Just imagine…which way this government is heading and what it’s going to do about resolving Balochistan issue as it is yet to differentiate between a major stakeholder [Baloch] and the Taliban, a non-entity,” he said.