NAWAZBADA Talal Bugti's statement that Jamhoori Watan Party, the political party he heads, does neither support militancy nor separatism comes as a breath of fresh air for the patriotic people of Pakistan who had developed certain apprehensions about his intentions. Speaking to The Nation and Nawa-i-Waqt at Lahore on Tuesday, he exonerated Punjab from the charge of murder of his father, Nawaz Akbar Bugti, and asserted that it were General Musharraf's misdeeds that had brought a bad name to the province. He condemned India's intervention in Balochistan and held out the assurance that if the government were to lend its support he was ready to put an end to the activities of miscreants there. Under these circumstances, military operation in the province loses all relevance, if at all there was any in the first place. His demand to stop this operation must, therefore, be accepted without demur. One had hoped that Talal Bugti would not have the occasion to lament that the promises made by President Zardari to the people of Balochistan soon after he assumed power had not been honoured. With him placing before the world his credentials as a patriotic citizen of Pakistan, there should be little hesitation in acceding to his portfolio of requests. The demand for autonomy, lying pending with the centre ever since the 1973 Constitution came into force, would strengthen the forces of federation and should be taken seriously and implemented straightaway. Talal Bugti also talked sense when he urged the PPP and the PML (N) to join hands in the interest of Pakistan and called upon the former to live up to its commitments with the latter to pave the way for their unity. A split between them, he feared, would prove counterproductive in staying off the armed forces from once again assuming the reins of power, something that the both eagerly desired. While one believes that these thoughts would be haunting the minds of the ruling leadership, it seems appropriate to stress that the sooner it heeds Talal's counsel the better would it for the party as well as the country.