Many post election meetups with friends usually turnout to be thoroughly enlightening. One such meet up with a close friend from Balochistan opened several avenues of thought. Upon asking how elections went in Balochistan, I got to hear, “Well there was an announced strike from 9th onwards till 11th announced by the Nationalists.” To my amazement; since we were busy focusing on the issues of a few constituencies of Pakistan, NA 250 to be specific, it came as a little surprise that there was a strike there on the Election Day. Later he added that Baluch voter turnout was dismal, perhaps somewhere between 2-5% if not more in Balochistan. But again our media our technocrats kept the nation so absorbed on the so-called Tsunami Khan and his troops that our dear province of Balochistan got totally ignored.
My question was, what those nationalists want anyway? Why zero participation in the parliamentary process to get heard? His answer was a straight one. “To understand this you must understand the issue of Baluchistan first. What transpired in the next few hours in the extended buffet was a quick viewpoint of a non-feudal Baluch? The core issues of Baluchistan are more than an issue of royalty. Now we may all choose to disagree but this is the sentiment on the ground. And necessary to understand what transpires in one key province of our country. And I am just putting it together for the understanding of us all.
Let’s go back a little in time. Khan of Kalat conducted a session in 1948 with both his houses upper and lower a few months after Pakistan became independent to decide whether to merge with Pakistan. The British controlled Pakistan led under Sardar Akbar Khan Bugti acceded to Quaid e Azam’s vision of a stronger and unified Muslim republic.
But Ghous Bux Bizenjo ; a member of the lower house stated his displeasure with the same on the pretext that if the unity of the Ummah is so supreme than all Muslim nations should be one including west wards. Anyways post that session Baluchistan fully acceded to Pakistan a few months (March 1948) after it came into existence and Mr. Bizenjo played a major role in Pakistani politics onwards. However , Khan of Kalat’s younger brother took up arms and revolted. Here it should be mentioned that Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was also the legal advisor of the Khan of Kalat.
Now here, it is very important to mention that the Sardars are mainly based in the northern Baluchistan whilst the southern Makran Belt the presence of Sardar system is insignificant and the ongoing insurgency is mainly getting foot soldiers in forms of doctors, engineers, lawyers and farmers from this belt.
One could see on the ground there are three key players in the Baluchistan Politics Sardar Akhtar Mengal (BNP-M), Dr. Hayee (former President of National Party) and Dr. Maalik (President of National Party). Here it should be mentioned that Mr. Hakim Baluch was the founding member of National Party. Now we need to mention Shaheed Fida Baluch who was not a strong believer in parliamentary politics and was murdered in the 80’s .
Then again there is the Bugti clan, which was headed by Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti (Shaheed) who headed Jamhoori Watan Party (or JWP) at that time. Now what we fail many a times to mention is one name and I think . We should remember this one for good. He is the Che Guevera of Baluchistan Dr. Allah Nazar. A man from middle class who was forced to pick up arms. Now as not much is available but here it goes that Dr. Nazar was picked up by what its claimed by the Game Masters of the country and beaten severely and under assumption that he has died was dumped. He lived .. This is where the Game Masters of our country realized that what a mistake they have done and later when Lala Muneer, Ghulam Muhammad and Sher Muhammad were picked and some say the same mistake was not repeated though different version of their death surrounds.
Now Dr. Nazar who progressed from BSO again do not believe in parliamentary politics as he and his group feel that with the low number of seats they have in the overall equation; the autonomy or rights which they want would never come. Their uprising are of the men who have given up and stopped believing in the system. Rightfully, so just take an example. Baluchistan till date is paid the same set tariffs as were set on Day One of the find while different tariffs apply as new finds are discovered. Now there has always been a myth which I also believed that Shaheed Nawab Bugti who was one of the first one to side with Pakistan from that part wanted royalty for himself . But I learned was that all he ever asked was the rent for the fields where discoveries were made nothing on the gas sales. And anyways even if the royalties came it would have come through the government and not into his pocket. As per my friend who patiently gave me this information PKR 800 Bn of US$ 100 Bn is due on Pakistan government to be paid if on actual basis.
Dr. Nazar and their friends seeing the dismal condition of the province where army posts can be developed but not schools and hospitals which I must say apologetically though their province’s outstanding is to that tune and more to offer as we have still not touched Sardar Marri’s fields who still stand by his position and do not allow exploration.
Ironic isn’t it that people like Sheikh Mujeeb , Nawab Akbar Bugti and all those communities who were instrumental in creation of Pakistan like Mohajir community are being persecuted from inception. I asked him a straight question that why did Nawab Bugti at the age of 80 after being diagnosed Cancer only picked up arms to fight. After all he was a great proponent of the countryhood.
I think it all began when in the last government of Baluchistan . It was decided between BNP-M and JWP that each would hold a government for half terms and BNP-M started but by the time JWP’s turn came. The then government of PMLN colluded with the Game Masters of the country and took reigns. Amazingly PMLN tasted the same fate later. Well to my question that why Mr. Bugti decided for this stance. Well his response was interesting…
Mir Balach Marri who was later assassinated in Afghanistan even though the two clans i.e. the Marri and Bugti had old enimities convinced Mr. Bugti to become a nationalist. Mr. Marri who was educated in London. Got elected as an MPA. Flew in and went up into the mountains to fight. Again a distrust in the system. Well the whole thing goes what triggered it all that when a rape happened at Sui Area on the Bugti Lands. Sardar Bugti wanted the accused to be tried by Baluch customs but it was discarded. This is how the rebellion triggered. If I think of it . Again it’s my assessment that Mr. Bugti was maybe trying to correct the mistake he did. The question is what made him reach to that level.
Now we may blame General Musharraf for the murder. Time would tell. How much was he in control as Ch. Shujaat and Mushahid Hussein almost brokered a deal with Mr. Bugti? But the fact is clear that the need of the time is that to give empowerment to the people of Baluchistan maybe through increased autonomy. The 18th Amendment needs to be fully in force. Their rights should be paid. Development should ensue like at least schools and hospitals and mainly jobs. I think the opportunity is so much in Baluchistan with the Gawadar port coming up . There can be so many jobs that our Baluch brothers don’t need to go anywhere else.
However, I must give due credit to PMLN and especially Sharif brothers if they have done it with an honest intent. Dr. Maalik the head of National Party has been nominated as the caretaker CM of Baluchistan. Now Dr. Maalik who is not a Sardar has to be given full support and not let game-masters, which I would deter from naming is to run Baluchistan into mainstream. With Sardar Mengal of BNP-M has been burned by the Game Masters by going to Supreme Courts. I feel he has burned bridges both with people fighting for their rights Dr. Allah Nazar and even Barhamdagh Bugti the heir of Sardar Bugti.
I strongly feel that the real stakeholders not the few Sardars should be given the right of Self Determination. With Dr. Maalik if he becomes CM. I see ray of hope. Since he had terms in the past with the BNF (Dr. Allah Nazar’s team) . He would have to reach out to them and by his performance would need to get them belief in the system, which they don’t currently. At the same time the federal government which is now comprised of PMLN would have to ensure that he is empowered and not burnt like Sardar Mengal . Otherwise I feel we are running out of options unfortunately in Baluchistan.