Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Khan of Kalat links return to ‘right environment’

Says he left Pakistan on advice of grand Baloch Jirga; will return if they satisfy him.

Murtaza Ali Shah
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 

LONDON: The exiled Baloch leader Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleman Daud Khan, has said that he will consider returning to Pakistan only if “right conditions” are created in Balochistan to address the grievances.

In an exclusive interview with The News, the Khan of Kalat said “going to Pakistan at this stage is not an option” because of the “on-going operation in the province”. Mir Suleman Daud said he had met chief of Jhalawan and Senior Balochistan Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri for lunch recently “just because he is a Baloch tribal elder”.

About his recent meeting with members of the grand tribal jirga - which comprised of Nawab Muhammad Khan Shahwani, Sardar Kamal Bangulzai, Mir Kabir Muhammad Shahi and Mir Khalid Langove — in London, Khan of Kalat said that he told the jirga members that he was advised by the jirga in 2006, soon after Nawab Akbar Bugti’s assassination, to “go abroad to raise the issue of Balochistan at international level but now the same jirga members want him to return”.

“The jirga members told me they had the mandate and had say in the affairs of the province and how things are run. I told them to create the right environment first and gave them three demands. I questioned them if they think the right conditions exist or not. Khan, however, agreed that the jirga members were constantly asking him to return to Pakistan to “fill the vacuum created in his absence”.

Khan added, “I told the jirga members that you people sent me abroad and all of you ended up becoming ministers, advocates and advisers. They said currently a nationalist government is in place and it’s independent in its policies. I told them that if you are powerful then end the ongoing extrajudicial killings and speak for the displaced people. I have no issue if any criminal is prosecuted and sentenced after a fair and open trial but the law should apply to all and shouldn’t discriminate against anyone. I told them to first create the right environment and then we will look into the rest of the issues. While there is a full-fledged operation going on, it’s not right to talk about my return.”

Khan of Kalat said that his issue “was with the government of Pakistan, not with our Baloch people”. He said the grand jirga was accountable to him and he retained the right to question them about the situation in Balochistan. He claimed that the “situation has worsened in the last 10 years in the province”.

When asked to comment on views of the new generation exiled leaders of Marri and Bugti tribes - namely Mehran Baloch and Brahamdagh Bugti - to the role of the grand tribal jirga as well as their insistence that Bugtis and Marris don’t fall “under the jurisdiction of Khan of Kalat”, Mir Suleman hit out and said “many of these people are already in talks with Pakistani authorities in one way or another.

Khan suggested that Mehran Baloch, Brahamdagh Bugti and Mengals (Akhtar Mengal and Javed Mengal) were in contact with Pakistan either directly or through roundabout means. “The people you have mentioned are tied with each other through blood relations. Mehran dropped Akhtar Mengal at the airport when he was going to Pakistan. In Dubai, all of them live and socialise together.”

Mehran is married to the grand-daughter of Nawab Akbar Bugti and sister of Brahamdagh Bugti and Javed Mengal is married to the sister of Mehran Baloch and Hyrbyair Marri.

Khan added that Marris and Bugtis were present during the jirga convened by Muhammad Ali Jinnah on 13 August 1948 in Sibi. “If they are out of this jurisdiction then were they with Ranjeet Singh? They cannot be in between. Our forefathers looked after their forefathers and many of the certificates they have were given to them by our ancestors. These people cannot re-write or dictate history. They need to revisit history to see if they had a role with Ranjeet Singh.”

The Khan of Kalat said that the issue of extremist militancy in Pakistan was very serious. He said that he had no issue interacting with the “respectable Baloch elders” but his demands will remain the same and any progress is linked with the improvement in situation on the ground. He agreed that Balochs were divided in many factions and opinions but added, “They may have completely different opinions to each other but their destination is the same.”

Mir Suleman arrived in the UK in 2006 and claimed political asylum, stating that he will be killed by Pakistani government authorities if he returned to Pakistan. He was granted asylum and since then he has been living with his family in Cardiff.


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