DUBAI (United Arab Emiraes) – It is time for Balochistan to seek divorce from Pakistan’s federation, says prominent Baloch nationalist leader and former Chief Minister Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal.
In an interview after his return to UAE from Islamabad where he registered his testimony before the Supreme Court hearing Balochistan case on September 27, Mengal said he has conveyed his message on behalf the Baloch nation that if enforced disappearances of political activists and their targeted killings by “state-sponsored death squads do not stop then Balochistan will have no option but seek a civilized and peaceful divorce from Pakistan”.
“There is no end to genocide in Balochistan by security forces and intelligence agencies and their outfit death squads. I have tabled our six points before the court that seek peace, end to genocide and human rights violations and exploitation of natural resources and other key issues. If these points and the confidence building measures (CMB) we offered are not accepted and implemented, then Balochistan has to end the marriage with Pakistan. By the way, the marriage itself was at gun point,” said the President of Balochistan National Party (BNP), the largest political party in Balochistan.
Mengal, for over a week during his visit to Islamabad after more than three years created a media hype and was the talk of both electronic and print media in Pakistan, and was seen in TV interviews and talk shows almost every day. During his stay in Islamabad, most of the top opposition leaders, including Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan and Syed Manawar Hussain of Jamat-e-Islami, also called on him. The Pakistani government, on its part, immediately rejected Mengal’s six points saying the military was not carrying out any operation in Balochistan nor were its intelligence agencies sponsoring death squads. No leader from the ruling Pakistan People’s Party met with Mengal during his eventful trip to Islamabad.
Like his father Sardar Attaullah Khan Mengal, his government was also not allowed to complete its five-year tenure. Elder Mengal’s government under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was dismissed within nine months in 1974, and the younger Mengal’s government was dismissed after 16 months in July 1998 over nuclear issue as he opposed the nuclear test in Balochistan.
“Let me repeat what I have said in my petition. The Baloch access to the political process has been deliberately suspended, to the detriment for conciliation and co-existence with the State. During the last six decades, only three provincial governments with semblance of the Baloch representation were allowed to function for nearly three years in total. During the remaining period, the province was ruled by Central Government in Islamabad through proxy,” said Mengal.
When asked about his return to Pakistan and taking part in the forthcoming elections, he said: “Our political strength is in Balochistan, and Balochistan is in a state of war. When in war, you cannot have elections but selection that was done during last election. The current entire Balochistan assembly, which is a world wonder with no opposition, is selected because all the nationalist forces, including BNP, boycotted the elections and Musharraf selected a team of his choice and sent to the provincial and national assemblies and to the Senate,” the young angry Mengal explained.
He also said as long as the current situation continues and killing of Baloch political activists and supporters does not end, taking part in elections was not possible.
However, Mengal said he will take the risk – he has already been threatened and there was an attempt to poison him in Karachi Jail – and will return to Balochistan after consultations with the party central committee and supporters to take part in active politics.
On the overall issue of Balochistan, the BNP leader said only the United Nations (UN) and its Security Council can solve the Baloch issue. “We have no trust in other parties other than the UN. We request the UN and its Security Council (SC) to help end the genocide in Balochistan through a General Assembly and SC resolutions taken part by the people of Balochistan,” he appealed.
He also referred to the recent fact-finding mission of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances that visited Balochistan and said the mission’s movement was limited by the establishment and was not able to determine the exact situation in Balochistan.
When pointed out to his six point-agenda that it did not include the murders of Nawab Akbar Bugti, Balaach Marri and other politicians like Ghulam Mohammed, Lala Munir and Sher Mohammed, he said: “I presented the entire Baloch case before the Supreme Court. That includes all the political murders of those you have mentioned. That includes the case of my on brother Assad Mengal, a member of Baloch Students Organisation (BSO), who along seven friends disappeared in 1976 and to date we don’t know where they are. That was the first enforced disappearance of Baloch politicians.
“We have not seen his body after his kidnapping and death that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto has confirmed it in his book. Bhutto wrote that security agencies forced him to say that Assad and his friends had gone to Afghanistan and were not in their custody. In 2010, security forces attacked my uncle’s house in Turbat and killed two of my immediate cousins along others.”
“I have presented our case, and if our friends believe that I made a mistake to visit Islamabad, then I will leave it Baloch nation to justify that I was right or wrong.”
Published in The Baloch Hal on October 9,2012