Ostensibly there seems nothing wrong with the six points raised by Sardar Akhtar Mengal, which are, an immediate end to all military operations, the missing persons to be presented before the court, the abolition of agency death squads, free rein to Baloch political parties to function, punishment to those found guilty of heinous crimes, and rehabilitation of thousands of displaced persons in the province.

But what was surprising was his likening them to the Six-Points of Mujibur Rehman. Far from it, Mujib’s points had the seeds of secession in them, whereas these points, as he himself says, contain nothing against the constitution of Pakistan. If we analyse the points one by one, some of them are found to be without much substance. For example the first point asks for ‘an immediate end to all military operation’. There are no repeat military operations going on in Balochistan. What is taking place there is an odd action by the FC, which is a provincial Force and operates under the orders of the Provincial government. FC is a paramilitary force essentially to augment the provincial police in maintaining law and order and guarding the frontiers of the province.

If the FC is removed only the Levies will be left in the province who are not mobile, equipped or trained for rapid deployment at a troubled spot anywhere in the province which is a huge land mass with one of the most difficult hilly and desert terrains in the country and secondly they (Levies) are paid by the Sardars themselves in their respective areas. They shall as such carry out the orders of their local Sardars, which would not only tantamount to their being personal force of the Sardar concerned, but would also serve their interests.

The next questionable point is about the ‘abolition of agency death squads’, which the agencies emphatically deny that any such squad exists. Whether they exist or not, the very name given to the squad is atrocious and must be eliminated if one exists. However, one wonders, as to why Sardar Akhtar could not himself unearth the existence of any such ‘Death Squad’ involved in the killing of his own brother when he was the Chief Minister of the Province for nearly a year and half.

We should also ask which ‘Death Squads’ are behind the killings in the province in the name of ethnic cleansing of the non-Balochis, the Hazarajats, the Pushtoons, the Punjabis, the Sindhis, the Urdu Speaking, the Shias, that have been killed in hundreds and are being killed daily basis. One sincerely hopes that when the Sardar demands ‘punishment to those found guilty for heinous crimes,’ he means to include the murderers of the above mentioned non-Balochis as well. One can understand Mian Sahib singing the tune of punishment, probably more on account of a personal vendetta against Musharraf, rather than sympathy with the Bugtis. However, as Gen Kayani, a man of few words but meaning each one of them when spoken – reportedly sometime back in a high powered meeting, where a member tried to blame the army for the murder of Akbar Bugti, had interjected emphatically not to malign the army for any such murder.

Akhtar Mengal also spoke of the need for the government to hold talks with the true leadership of the province instead of the ‘manufactured’ ones. Now who are the real leaders is a big question, to decide from a horde of Marris, Bugtis, Jamalis, Magsis, Raesanis, Jams, Rinds, Lasharis, Hooths, Korais, Khosas and Jatoisto name a few. The tribal societal bonds of a tribe are so strong that each one of them considers itself to be the pure blooded Baloch and superior to others. As such the Sardar of each tribe wants to hold the imperial scepter of representing the entire province all by himself.

All said and done, there is little doubt that the province of Balochistan has not been given its due share in its overall development. It is also a fact that the natural resources of the province have benefited other parts of Pakistan rather than the province itself. Ironically, it was during Musharraf’s regime that the Province made some progress which was more than the progress made in the past. It is, therefore, time that all political parties and state organs made a determined and concerted effort to bring the development of the province at par with the other provinces, which incidentally does not comprise of the Baloch alone.

COL SYED RIAZ JAFRI (r),

Rawalpindi, September 30.