ISLAMABAD/QUETTA – The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), its coalition partners as well as nationalist and other political parties in Balochistan have given mixed reaction on the six points of Sardar Akthar Mengal which he presented before the Supreme Court for the solution of the problems of the restive province.
Whereas, some politicians fully backed BNP’s (Balochistan National Party) president’s proposals, others declared them as insufficient; some even said the former Balochistan chief minister’s recommendations were against the integrity of the country. However, most of the politicians agreed that major practical political steps and taking all stakeholders on board was necessary to restore peace in the largest province of the country. Mengal in his six points has demanded that all covert and overt military operations against Baloch people should be ended immediately; all missing persons should be procured before a court of law; and all proxy death squads operating in a manner like al-Shams and al-Badar operated (in Bangladesh) allegedly under the supervision of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) should be disbanded.
Strongly criticising the BNP chief, who is currently holding meeting with different political leaders, a ruling party senior leader and Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, Khursheed Shah told media: “BNP president’s statement is inappropriate. He should abstain from making such comments.“
PML-Q’s Kamil Ali Agha said complicated issues of Balochistan could not be resolved by just these six points, adding that the stakeholders should sit together to resolve the matter. “The BNP chief has remained fugitive for long time and now he is trying to impose his thought which is inappropriate,” Agha told The Nation.
He strongly criticised Mengal for holding Army responsible for worsening law and order situation in the province. “What kind of thinking it is? Mengal’s statement about Army does not reflect even an iota of solidarity,” he said.
He said that Akhtar Mengal’s role is important but all stakeholders should be listened to carefully to resolve this matter. Balochistan is an important matter, which could only be resolved by taking some concrete measures. The government has given Balochistan package that should also be implemented, he added.
When contacted, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) senior leader Waseem Akhtar said that there was a need of seriousness to resolve the matter of Balochistan as mere statements would not work. The BNP chief has still not met with any leader from MQM.
Waseem said: “Mengal has indicated about Bangladesh-like situation in Balochistan which is very serious matter. The government should take proper initiatives to resolve this matter,” adding that MQM has already suggested round table conference to discuss this matter.
Commenting on Mengal’s six points, a leader from ANP, another PPP partner, said that situation in Balochistan is fast getting bad to worse. ANP senior leader Haji Adil said: “Mengal’s meeting with the leaders of different political parties is a good sign. It clearly reflects that Mengal believes in democracy and want to live in Pakistan.“
Balochistan has been facing operations in its different areas for a long time, he said. To a question, he said all the stakeholders should accept their mistakes whatever happened in past but now there is a need to bring positive change.
National Party Senior Vice-President Mir Hasil Khan Bezinjo said that Akthar Mengal was respectable but describing him as “last ray of hope” was incorrect since there were many other political forces in Balochistan. He said that relating his six points with that of Sheik Mujeeb-ur-Rehman did not carry any importance. “BNP must come in elections and the situation will be cleared,” he said, adding that this was our country and it institutions also belong to us. However, he said that government and its institutions wanted to conquer Balochistan by force which would further promote rebellion.
Usman Kakar, provincial president of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, said that the six points of Akthar Mengal were completely legitimate and PKMAP had been giving these points in its statements that there should be no role of army and intelligence agencies in politics. However, he said that he did not see that army and intelligence agencies would give up their interference in politics.
“Unfortunately the current democratic government has sacrificed democracy for its personal interests as the foreign and internal policies are formed by army and intelligence agencies” he said, adding that their interference should be stopped forthwith and the six points of Mengal implemented.
Talking to The Nation, Nawabzada Jamil Bugti, the surviving son of late Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti who was murdered in a military operation 2006, said that why Akhtar Mengal’s six points could not be implemented. Even the points of Sheikh Mujeebur Rehman could be implemented, he said, but they were not given due consideration.
“Nowadays Syed Mushahid Hussain is confessing that hawks in civil and military establishment were the hurdle in the way of implementation of recommendations that they had presented after negotiating with late Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti,” he said. Now Mushahid had gained courage to speak truth when Musharraf has left the country, he added.
Jamil Bugti said: “The mindset of those in power and those sitting in Rawapindi who had carried out brutalities in Bangladesh had not changed and they were still busy in genocide of Baloch nation following the formula of ‘No Baloch No problem’.” Bugti said that government and its functionaries had vehemently rejected any role in whisking of thousands of missing persons in Balochistan because still there was no change in their attitude and mindset.
Jamil Bugti said that they have completely lost trust in the judiciary as it failed to deliver justice to them. “Ever since military operation was started thousands of people had been killed including my father Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti but none of the accused had been brought to the book by judiciary”, he remarked. “Holding hearings on law and order in Quetta by apex court is nothing but a drama as its orders are not being implemented,” he said, adding that SC had ordered for the implementation of constitution in Dera Bugti but the orders were not implemented because the government itself was not autonomous.
Terming the six points of Akthar Mengal a political triumph, Haji Lashkari Raisani, former PPP Balochistan president said that by appearing before Supreme Court in person Akthar Mengal has proved that he recognised Pakistan and still believed in its security. “Government and other institutions now must stop branding Baloch as traitors,” he said.
Baloch Republican Party (BRP) Secretary-General Dr Bashir Azeem said that Akthar Mengal was a respectable leader, however, the issue of Balochistan had reached a point of no return and their struggle was for an independent Balochistan.
“Balochistan issue has been recognised internationally and the United Nations have sent mission on missing persons,” he said, adding that “we had no trust in judiciary of Pakistan”. “The government and its functionaries have given their stance that neither any operation is underway in Balochistan nor any missing person is in their custody. Then who is whisking away political activists and carrying out brutalities in Balochistan?”
Former opposition leader in Balochistan Assembly, Kachkol Ali advocate in his statement issued from Oslo strongly condemned BNP leader Akthar Mengal for appearing and presenting six points before the Supreme Court. “Mengal instead of appearing in Pakistan’s apex court should have appeared in international court of justice,” he said, adding that judiciary was also a Pakistani state institution which was allegedly carrying genocide of Baloch nation and involved in missing of thousands of Baloch youth.