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Friday, September 01, 2006

Is it a revolt in Balochistan? Editorial Published 30 august

Most of the seasoned observers were taken aback when they witnessed the level of violence in this Province. The spontaneous disturbances in remote parts of Balochistan following assassination of Nawab Akbar Bugti in a commando action surprised them. On the other hand, the Government circles were surprised that there were no disturbances in Bugti and Marri tribal areas and they said so in many words. They were oblivion of the fact that most of the hostile forces opposed to the Government were chased out from their homes and from the human settlements and they took refuge in other parts of Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab. Only pro-establishment elements were allowed to stay back in the townships of Bugti and Kohlu Tribal Agencies and they are supporting the Government actions in all forms. Thus it should not surprise the Government circles that there was no violence reported in Dera Bugti or Kohlu. Consequently the beneficiaries of the present Government will not agitate in support of their adversaries.
However, there is a widespread trouble in whole of Balochistan. The level and intensity of violence is unprecedented belying the Government contentions at the highest level that Nawab Bugti was Sardar of a section of Bugtis only and he was unpopular among his own Bugti tribesmen. The trouble was confined to one or two Tehsils. He was no political leader or had no political base outside Bugti tribal area. At least the Government propagandists, specifically those TV anchor man trained by the political police since their student days, had been claiming that Bugti was a sardar, unpopular, a tyrant, a despot, he killed his own people, he had his personal and private prisons where he tortured his opponents and above all he committed crimes against the humanity. At the end of Yahya Khan's rule and during the Bangladesh War, the Government made similar propaganda campaign against Nawab Bugti for political reasons because he was a powerful voice supporting six points programme of the Awami League consistently and condemned the on-going killing of Bengali civilians by the security forces. In retaliation to Nawab Bugti's support for the Bangladesh struggle, the Yahya Khan Government launched that vilification campaign. After 35 years, the same old stories were rediscovered against Nawab and facts were handed over to the TV anchor man to poison the political atmosphere in whole of Balochistan and its neighbouring regions-Afghanistan, Iran, Sindh and Punjab for obvious reasons. It is an act of provocation instigating the youth to indulge in more violence and in severe form sparing no pro-establishment objects in their way.
The events proved that Nawab Bugti was not a tribal Sardar since they day he joined politics and cast his personal vote in creating Pakistan and supported Balochistan joining Pakistan. His JWP emerged as the single largest Party in Balochistan in 1990 polls. All those people involved in present agitation in Balochistan and elsewhere considered him as their national hero and not a tyrant Sardar as the Government tried to paint him for the past four decades.
The holding of three massive public meetings in Quetta-two by the Pakistan Oppressed National Movement (PONM) and addressed by Sardar Ataullah Mengal and the one organized by the Balochistan National Party and addressed by Sardar Akhtar Mengal-should have been eye opener to the policy or decision-makers at the top. The enthusiasm demonstrated by the participants in those three meeting indicated the mood of the broad masses of Balochistan. Government functionaries had their own cynical habit and narrow outlook ignoring the ground realities-the political change in Balochistan. The change was witnessed in the spontaneity in protest all over Balochistan when no organization and no political leader called it. By hearing the news from the News Channels, the people came out on the road spontaneously and instantly attacked every thing on their way. Why they did it? Understandably they considered Nawab Bugti as their leader/Hero and they loved him or they had some expectations from him. They were offended and their hopes shattered when they heard the news that he was killed in action. They became angry all over Balochistan-more than thousand miles away and in all directions from the Tehsil of Dera Bugti, the hometown of the late leader.
It is the same level of spontaneity demonstrated by the Bengalis when General Yahya Khan merely postponed the holding of National Assembly sessions on March 1, 1971. Every Bengali considered it a betrayal cheating the Bengali people denying them power through their chosen representatives, framing the new constitution of Pakistan (Ayub Khan abrogated his own) according to the people's mandate or on the basis of 6 points of Awami League. There was spontaneous violence all over Bangladesh and hundreds of people were killed in a single night. Every thing Pakistani attacked and destroyed spontaneously and no party or leader called for the agitation, I presume the level of spontaneity is of the same that was in Bangladesh on March 1, 1971, that was beginning of the end of politics.

History of spontaneity 29 august editorial
in political agitation

It had become almost part of our culture that we must resort to violence while registering our protest against the provocation on political grounds. It is not a new element in our politics. With the creation of Pakistan, the culture of violence was also introduced here from India by our brothers residing in the major urban centers of India. Such violence was not known to us prior to creation of Pakistan. The first incident of violence we witnessed was against the Hindu businessmen; mainly shop keepers, of Karachi. Those who came from India looted their shops. Later the local criminals and street urchins joined them in looting the shops and chasing out Hindus from Pakistan and for obvious reasons. Prior to it, the biggest city of Karachi never witnessed violence of such magnitude.
During the political agitation against One Unit, it was the State and the Government that used force against the political opponents of the Government and One Unit. Earlier, Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, used force against the Red Shirts opposing his Government. Hundreds of people were killed in the straight firing of police on peaceful demonstrators. Interestingly, the rulers boosted that they have crushed the opposition.
The worst ever violence were reported during the political movement in erstwhile East Pakistan demanding release of Sheikh Mujeebur Rehman, withdrawal of Agartala Conspiracy Case, restoration of democracy ending to autocratic rule of Field Marshal Ayub Khan in 1960s. The violence was unprecedented in the political history of many countries. The concept of Gherao and Jalao (siege and burn) was introduced in politics by the Bengalis under the leadership of Maulana Abdul Hameed Khan Bhashani who achieved the title of Prophet of Violence in the Western Press.
Similarly, violence was witnessed during the anti-One Unit agitation and also during the PNA movement dislodging Zulfikar Ali Bhutto from power. The Islamic parties played the crucial role in the violence removing Bhutto from power. Later on, the MQM gained street power after dislodging Jamaat-i-Islami from the political scene of Karachi and Hyderabad. Violence was experienced during the Bushra Zaidi road accident and followed by many more agitations in which hundreds of people were killed. Both the civilians and the Government were violent in using brute force killing as many people as they could. The violence brought the entire national economy to a position of standstill and for weeks, if not months.
Thus the violence in the present political climate, particularly in the aftermath of Nawab Bugti and his violent death during an Army action, should not surprise the political leaders, mainly the rulers and the administrators. It is a revolt by all standards matching the one spontaneous reaction of Bengalis when Yahya Khan merely postponed the sessions of the National Assembly for transfer of power and framing a new Pakistani Constitution. The level of revolt, to my personal understanding, is matching the one of March 1, 1971 that engulfed whole of East Pakistan, the situation drifted away and never came under control again.
It was the Government that used violence against the civilians whisking the young people away and keeping them in custody for months and years will certainly make the Government and the law enforcing agencies unpopular. No sane person will like such tactics on the part of Government claiming to be popular and of the chosen representatives of the people. Consequently, no sensible persons will condone such tactics by merely kidnapping the people of their no crime. We advice the Government to release all those kidnapped persons immediately for restoring calm and tranquility in Balochistan. If there are charges against any one, from subversion to any violent crime, they should be made public and brought for justice before the courts of law ending the culture of mysterious activities by the Government and its functionaries.
We also hope that the political leaders dominating the nationalist scene in Balochistan should also come forward and prevail upon the young agitators in the streets to shun violence, stop damaging the public installations and public property. The police should reciprocate to such gestures by not resorting to violence; humiliate the arrested persons, torturing the people in custody and end to cold blood action in the shape public beating of youth caught on the spot. It is on record that some sitting Ministers always threatened to use force in order to impose their political will on their opponents. They were in the habit of using provocative language against the people, mainly their political opponent giving the impression that they had become Ministers for their entire life.
We appeal to the people in general to register their protest within the bonds of law and decency avoiding difficulties to the broad masses in general. Protest and agitation is their democratic right to register in a form permissible within the bonds of decency fair play without inflicting any loss to the public property.

Nawab Bugti-a legendary 28 august editorial
Nawab Akbar Bugti, on his own social and political right, was a legendary figure. He dominated politics for 60 long years using his extra-ordinary skills, depth of knowledge and vast social contacts. He was one of the top Baloch nationalist leaders who challenged the misrule of self styled Field Marshal Ayub Khan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a tin pot dictator or an elective despot, General Ziaul Haq and General Pervez Musharraf. He was a symbol of defiance resisting all the undemocratic actions of the Governments of the day. He was a towering political personality with a heavy weight and influence in politics and all affairs of human activities. All his political opponents hated Nawab Bugti for his outspoken views and comments outwitting all of them for strongly defending the Baloch rights. Similarly, the pro-establishment elements, from newsmen to agents of the political police and bureaucrats were deeply involved in his character assassination, whispering campaign floating cock and bull stories about him. They considered him the only hurdle in achieving their evil designs against the Baloch people. Thus, he was the target of hatred of all those anti-people forces exercising power and influence in the Pakistani society. A powerful section of Urdu Press launched a vicious campaign against Bugti after he boycotted the Urdu Language as Lingua Franca following the atrocities committed on people of Pakistan by the Bhutto Government during the PNA Movement. However, he spoke all the Pakistani languages communicating with his visitors, including journalists from Punjab and Sindh.
Most of the comments and views expressed in the newspaper columns or discussions telecast on news channels indicated the contempt towards the Baloch rights, Baloch struggle and Baloch demands making Nawab Bugti the symbolic target for ventilating such views.
Nawab Bugti created Pakistan by casting his vote as a member of the Shahi Jirga at a time when all "patriots" were saluting the Union Jack. He was the last politician who exercised his democratic right in creation of Pakistan. He met his violent death at the hands of the security forces on August 26, 2006 on the Baloch land. As a member of Shahi Jirga, he started his political career. He lost to Dr. Khan Sahib by a single vote for the seat of Constituent Assembly in 1950. Dr. Khan, elder brother of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, was the nominee of the Pakistani establishment and later he became the first Chief Minister of One Unit imposed on smaller provinces. One Unit was formed in 1955. Elections for the new Constituent Assembly of Pakistan were held in which Nawab Bugti was also elected as a member. He became the Minister of State for Interior and later on Defence.
During this period, he developed differences with General Ayub Khan as Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army. When Ayub Khan imposed the first Martial Law by abrogating the Constitution only to protect the notorious One Unit and arrested Nawab Bugti for killing his uncle. Nawab Bugti was awarded death penalty and later on pardoned. After his release from prison, Nawab Bugti joined the nationalist politics and actively participated in the anti-one Unit protest campaign. After organizing a massive public meeting, Nawab Bugti was arrested for anti-One Unit Campaign and President Ayub Khan used objectionable language against Nawab Bugti at a public meeting in Mali Bagh Quetta in 1962. Nawab Bugti remained in jail till 1967 facing treason charges and tried by a Special Judge in Karachi along with Sardar Ataullah Mengal, Mir Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo and Nawab Nauroz Khan and others.
He was released in 1967 and rearrested for organizing a resistance to allotment of agriculture land to ex-servicemen in the Pat Feeder Command area. He went on hunger strike, the longest in the political history of Pakistan. He was released and he broke his hunger strike. He, however, used liquid food for over a year and not allowed to take heavy or full diet for months. He was the man who defended the inalienable rights of the local tribes and growers in the Pat Feeder Commander area saving it from the ex-servicemen that Ayub Khan planned to change the demography of Balochistan. Nawab Bugti is considered as the saviour of Pat Feeder from colonization of land by the aliens.
Nawab Bugti was a staunch opponent of One Unit and struggled for revival or historic provinces or federating Units. He was in the forefront of anti-One Unit campaign during the 1968-69 popular mass movements against Ayub Khan. During this period, the Government was forced to withdraw the Agartala Conspiracy Case against Sheikh Mujeebur Rehman and others, release all political prisoners throughout undivided Pakistan. Yahya Khan overthrew Ayub's Government and imposed Martial Law. Yahya Khan announced revival of historic Provinces by dismembering the notorious One Unit and held free, fair, impartial and transparent elections in the entire political history of Pakistan.
The day the historic provinces were revived, Nawab Bugti, along with Sheikh Mujeebur Rehman led a massive public rally in Quetta celebrating the disintegration of notorious One Unit. Balochistan was given the provincial status and tens of thousands of people celebrated the event with massive fireworks in Quetta the whole night and in the presence of Sheikh Mujeebur Rehman.
Nawab Bugti was barred from contesting elections and he extended his unqualified support to the National Awami Party and Awami League in the general elections. NAP won the majority seats in Balochistan and NWFP and Awami League in the erstwhile East Pakistan. Nawab Bugti was the only powerful voice extending unqualified support to the Six-Point Programme of Awami League. His stand offended the entire Pakistani establishment and also some of his own friends in the Baloch nationalist camp.
After the general elections, Nawab Bugti paid a returned visit to East Pakistan and held talks with Sheikh Mujeebur Rehman on a joint political strategy to seek maximum provincial autonomy for all the provinces on the basis of six-point programme. General Yahya Khan started military action on March 25 killing thousands of Bengalis and placed Sheikh Mujeeb under arrest and he was brought to West Pakistan for trial.
There was a resistance culminating in disintegration of Pakistan following Indian intervention. More than 95,000 troops and civilians were made prisoners of war after Pakistan Army surrendered to the Indian troops in East Pakistan. Bangladesh emerged as an independent country and the whole world recognized Bangladesh as an independent country. Pakistan too recognized Bangladesh during the holding of first Islamic Summit in Lahore. Earlier, there was Simla Accord between India and Pakistan and all the prisoners of war released. Nawab Bugti accompanied Zulfikar Ali Bhutto during a visit to the defunct Soviet Union.
The purpose of visit of Bhutto to the defunct Soviet Union was to seek permission from the Soviet leaders for starting military operation in Balochistan. According to reports, the soviet leaders did not oppose the military operation in Balochistan. On return, Nawab Bugti joined hands with Bhutto and became Governor. However, he soon parted ways before the end of year and Nawab Bugti returned to his original camp of nationalists. He opposed Bhutto Government and participated in the PNA movement.
Nawab Bugti took keen interest in electoral politics and always retained the Marri-Bugti National Assembly seat in the entire history of elections obviously with the support of Nawab Marri.
He formed an alliance with the like-minded political party and participated in the 1988 elections. He won the Majority and unseated Zafarullah Jamali as Chief Minister and formed the BNA Government in Balochistan. However, in 1990 his Government was dismissed along with the Government of Benazir Bhutto at the Centre. He formed his JWP and contested the 1990 and emerged as the single largest party. However, the PML Government at the Centre betrayed Nawab Bugti and dislodged him from power by supporting Taj Jamali as the PML nominee to form the Balochistan Government.
In course of time, Hamza Kalpar, son of Khan Mohammad Kalpar, was killed during the local bodies elections.
Nawab promptly denied any enmity with the Kalpar family. But at the behest of the Pakistani establishment, Kalpars pointed fingers at Nawab Bugti and levelled allegations of his involvement. Consequently, his son was gunned down in Quetta in revenge . Afterwards, Nawab Bugti was confined to his Bugti tribal area reorganizing his tribe expecting an onslaught from the Government on any pretext. However, he helped Akhtar Mengal in forming his Government. But the Government at the Centre succeeded in creating misunderstanding and differences between Akhtar Mengal and Nawab Bugti culminating in pullout of JWP from the coalition Government. Ultimately, majority of Akhtar Mengal Ministers belonging to his BNP defected and his Government collapsed.
The Government kept Nawab Bugti under pressure for one reason or the other considering him a potential political threat in future. The incident of Dr. Shazia Khalid took place and trouble started in Bugti Area.
On March 17, the security forces bombed and shelled the Dera Bugti Township and killed more than 65 people, including members from the minority community. During the shelling, a mortar shell dropped at the sitting room of Nawab Bugti. He showed the sitting room to we, the visiting journalists, saying that it was precision mortar shelling aiming at his life. During the course of conversations, Nawab Bugti said : Siddik I am one day closer to death."
Nawab Bugti was clear in his mind and he spoke to journalists in detail that Government intends to kill him at an opportune moment. When he got the information that the security forces are about to launch a major assault on Dera Bugti Township, he slipped from his residence and took to the hills with an announcement that he would himself lead the armed resistance movement against the Government. Later on, he left the Bugti hills for security reasons and joined the Marri tribesmen in the Bhamabore Hills and he remained there till the military commandos raided their hideout. The siege was laid for three days and finally missiles, rockets and other heavy weapons were used in destroying the cave where Nawab Bugti took refuge or resisting the army action. Officials confirmed that Nawab Bugti succumbed to his injuries along with his comrades in arms and with a score of security officials.


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