Son of slain Baloch leader Akbar Bugti and chief of his faction of the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP, Talal Bugti, passed away on Monday at the Combined Military Hosptial in Quetta due to a heart attack. While he claimed to be the leader of the Bugti tribe following his father’s death during a military operation in 2006, he could not unite fellow tribesmen under his leadership owing to counter-claims by other Bugti sardars. Compared to Marri and Mengal tribes of Balochistan, the Bugtis have enjoyed a better relationship with the military establishment as well as the political leadership. Bugti tribesmen didn’t participate wholeheartedly in previous insurgencies in Balochistan. It was under former dictator Pervez Musharraf’s rule that things took a turn for the worse, and the ensuing armed confrontation ultimately resulted in Akbar Bugti’s demise, which sparked protests and fighting in the province.
It is difficult to see how Talal Bugti’s natural death will have any noticeable impact on the situation in Balochistan. He was not the one leading or fighting in the ongoing insurgency. As far as Dera Bugti is concerned, it remains rich in resources and largely undeveloped. Many among those, who were displaced during the military action in 2006/2007, are yet to be repatriated. Had it not been for the Balochistan Hight Court, those who’ve managed to return to their homes would’ve still been running from pillar to post.
Any and all calls made to the elected government with regards to the crisis in Balochistan are futile for it does not enjoy any meaningful authority, which it could exercise to influence affairs in the province. What it doesn’t lack in power, it makes up by lack of political will. Now, as the powers that be attempt to remind everyone of the Balochistan issue’s designated position in the information black hole, justice and reconciliation appears as unlikely as ever.