Thursday, January 15, 2015

Extremism being promoted in Balochistan to weaken nationalists: Mengal‏

Syed Ali Shah

 BNP-M Chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal spoke with the author in an exclusive interview. 

QUETTA: Chief of Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), Sardar Akhtar Mengal has said extremism was being promoted in Baloch society to weaken Baloch nationalists.

"Extremists are penetrating in a tolerant Baloch society," Mengal told DawnNews in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

He said new shadowy extremist organisations were surfacing in the province to undermine the Baloch political and democratic movement.

He rejected claims of the nationalists-led government that the law and order situation has improved in Balochistan.

Mengal stated that in the chief minister's own constituency, mutilated bodies were being found.

When asked about his participation in proposed multiparty conference in Balochistan, Mengal said, "earlier I may participate, currently I may not be in a position to participate in any APC".

Mengal questioned the power of any future APC with regard to Balochistan.

The former chief minister lamented that 'mass graves' were still being recovered in Balochistan.

He stated that the trust deficit between the government and political forces needs to be bridged to make dialogue a success.

Mengal lashed out at both Baloch and Pashtoon nationalist parties running the government in Balochistan.

"They made compromises and forgot the masses," he added.

Regarding the 18th Amendment, he said Balochistan did not get any powers rather its share in charity was increased after the amendment.

He however claimed that the signatories of the amendment were given power as a gift in Balochistan.

"Do you think the chief minister has administrative powers as per the constitution," he questioned.

The former chief minister also expressed resentment regarding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and complained that the premier used to raise slogans for Balochistan when he was in the opposition.

About the copper and gold project Reko Diq, Mengal stated that there was no justification for a 25-member delegation to visit Paris at the expense of the national exchequer.

"Baloch masses would not spare the rulers if they sold the gold-copper project," he warned.

Endowed with rich but largely unexploited reserves of copper and gold, Balochistan also supplies much of the natural gas feeding Pakistan's lifeline textile industry in eastern Punjab province, and is home to a deepwater port at Gwadar.

Balochistan is Pakistan’s biggest but least populous and least developed province.

A long-running nationalist movement is seeking more autonomy and a greater share of natural resources, including the gas the province supplies to the whole country.

Mengal hits out at parties for supporting military courts
BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal addresses a press conference here on Tuesday. —INP

QUETTA: Akhtar Mengal, chief organiser of his faction of the Balochistan National Party (BNP-M), severely criticised all the political parties in the country on Tuesday for supporting the setting up of military courts.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Mengal said that “champions of civil rights had amputated the hand, leg and tongue of democracy by voting in favour of the 21st Amendment at the behest of GHQ”. He noted with satisfaction that his BNP-M was not part of passing the law for setting up military courts.

“The elements who call us undemocratic have themselves violated democratic principles to appease the powerful establishment.”

The BNP leader said there was no change in the political or the law and order situation in Balochistan since the present government came to power as a result of 2013 general elections because security forces allegedly continued to carry out operations in different areas of the province.

He said the operation launched by then military ruler Pervez Musharraf in Baloch-dominated areas of the province was not only going on but had even been intensified by the incumbent government to suppress the political and democratic will of people.

The BNP leader said his party would soon release a white paper on the performance of the provincial government.

He said the present government had not learnt any lesson from history that political movements enjoying the backing of the masses could not be undermined through use of state apparatus. “Recognition of ground realities is the key to bring normalcy to the province.”

Mr Mengal said that restoration of peace and political stability in Balochistan did not depend on the return of angry Balochs, but this required change of mindset of powerful forces that had turned beautiful Balochistan into a ‘graveyard’.

He said Baloch people were facing hardship because targeted killings, dumping of mutilated bodies and enforced disappearances continued unabated due to which the situation remained grave.

The BNP-M chief organiser said his party and Baloch people had rendered sacrifices in the face of oppression, injustice, targeted killings and `undemocratic acts of the usurpers’ who wanted to subdue the voice of innocent people.

He complained that the media had not been highlighting the injustices perpetrated against Baloch people but said that local journalists were not responsible for it because it was the management of TV channels and newspapers who made their policies.

Answering a question, Mr Mengal leader said no one had stopped the government from exposing the foreign hand it claimed was involved in the unrest in Balochistan.

Published in Dawn January 14th , 2015

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