’Mengal’s Six Points
Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
Ostensibly there seems nothing wrong with the six points raised by Sardar Akhtar Mengal, that are:
- an immediate end to all military operations;
- missing persons to be presented before the court;
- abolition of agency death squads;
- free rein to Baloch political parties to function;
- punishment to those found guilty for heinous crimes;
- and rehabilitation of thousands of displaced persons in the province.
But what was surprising was his likening them to the Six Points of Mujib ur Rehman. Far from it. Mujib’s points had the seeds of secession in them. Whereas, ’s points, as he himself says, contain nothing against the constitution of Pakistan. If we analyze the points one by one, again some of them are found to be without much substance. For example Point No. 1 asks for “an immediate end to ALL military operations”. Well --- there are no repeat no military operations going on in Baluchistan. All that sporadically taking place there is an odd action by the FC, which is a provincial Force and operates under the orders of the Provincial government. FC is a paramilitary force essentially to augment the provincial Police in maintaining law and order and guarding the frontiers of the province, internally as well as internationally. If the FC is removed only the Levies will be left in the province who are firstly not mobile, equipped or trained for rapid deployment at a trouble spot anywhere in the province which is a huge land mass with one of the most difficult hilly and desert terrains in the country and secondly they (Levies) are paid by the Sardars themselves in their respective areas. They shall as such carry out the orders of their local Sardars, which would not only tantamount to their being the personal force of the Sardar concerned but would also serve their interests which at times could be extreme. Unfortunately, the writer saw it for himself the personal ‘Jail’ with ‘Phansi Ghat” of late Sardar Atta Ullah at Wadh in 1964, where more than two dozen families (old men, women and children apart from able bodied men) were languishing in chains in that jail.
The next questionable point is about the “abolition of agency death squads”, which the agencies emphatically deny that any such squad exists. Whether they exist or not, the very name given to the squad is atrocious and must be eliminated if one exists. However, one wonders, as to why Sardar Akhtar could not himself unearth the existence of any such Death Squad involved in the killing of his own very brother when he himself was the Chief Minister of the Province for nearly a year and a half? Strange, isn't it?
And, which Death Squads are behind the killings in the province in the name of ethnic cleansing of the Non-Balochis – the Hazarajats, the Pushtoons, the Punjabis, the Sindhis, the Urdu Speaking, the Shias – that have been killed in hundreds and are being killed on almost daily basis to the extent that thousands of them, particularly the Punjabis and other long time settlers have been forced to leave the province abandoning and disposing off their properties and businesses at throw away prices to save their lives?
And, one sincerely hopes that when the Sardar demands “punishment to those found guilty for heinous crimes” [his point No. 5], he means to include the murderers of the above mentioned non-Balochis as well whoever and how-so-ever powerful they might be. One can understand Mian Sahib singing the tune of punishment with the probably more on account of a personal vendetta against Musharraf than sympathy with the Bugtis. However, as Gen. Kayani – a man of few words but meaning each one of them when spoken – reportedly sometime back in a high powered meeting, where a member tried to blame the army for the murder of Akbar Bugti, had interjected emphatically not to malign the army for any such murder. He said,” No commander in his proper senses would send five unarmed officers and men in a cave to kill its occupants there. They had gone there to negotiate the ‘terms of surrender’ and that too on the asking of Akbar Bugti. Seeing them inside the cave he or his men fired rockets that blew up the explosives placed in the cave causing it to cave in and killing all those inside it. It was a sheer case of committing suicide that in the process killed five army officers and men also. He had asked the govt. to appoint a commission to enquire into the so called killing of Akbar Bugti and apportion the blame accordingly.
Akhtar Mengal also spoke of the need for the government to hold talks with the true leadership of the province instead of the ‘manufactured’ ones. Now who are the real leaders and who are not is a big question to decide from a horde of s, Marris, Bugtis, Jamalis, Magsis, Raesanis, Jams, Rinds, Lasharis, Hooths, Korais, Khosas and Jatoisto name a few. The tribal societal bonds of a tribe are so strong that each one of them considers itself to be the pure blue blooded Baloch and superior to others. As such the Sardar of each tribe wants to hold the imperial scepter of rep resenting the entire province all by himself. This psyche is so evident that nothing short of being a minister in the Provincial Cabinet would satisfy an MPA there! Comically, at one time there was even one extra minister than the 40 odd MPAs that the house had.
All said and done, there is little doubt that the province of Baluchistan has not been given its due share in its overall development. It is also a fact that the natural resources of the province have benefitted more the rest of Pakistan than the province itself. Ironically, it was during Musharraf regime that the Province made some progress which was more than all the progress put together it made in the past. It is, therefore, time that all political parties and state organs made a determined and concerted effort to bring the development of the province at par with the other provinces to ameliorate the lot of the people there, which incidentally does not comprise of the Baloch alone. As a matter of fact, non-Balochis exceed the number of Baloch in the province. Similarly, there are more Balochs living in other parts of Pakistan than in Baluchistan and living very happily too.
Col. Syed Riaz Jafri (Retd)