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A General`s Revenge

01 September, 2006

By Irfan Saeed


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Since last December`s rocket attack in Kohlu, close to the venue where President Musharraf was addressing a gathering of pliable Balochi people, fears were expressed that President with a General`s mind may take the incident personally and opt for something extremely disastrous in the province. Such disaster occurred last Saturday.

 The merciless killing of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in a surgical army operation in the very Kohlu area, led to violent demonstrations in Balochistan, cutting off its links with the rest of the country. In recurrent acts of violence, both State and Punjabi properties were set on fire. The death toll was aside. The life in the province, and parts of the country, has really come to standstill. There are all indications that the situation at least in Balochistan may be bloodier in the days ahead.

Until Tuesday evening, six innocent lives were lost as the Balochi nationalists reacted fiercely to Bugti`s killing. The reason Punjabi residents and Balochistan and their properties were exclusively targeted was because of the widespread perception that a military-dominated regime is basically a Punjabi-dominated regime. Such perception exists because of the Punjabi domination of the Pakistan Army.

The bloody incident sent shock waves across Pakistan. The Opposition unanimously condemned it, calling for protest marches across the country. The MMA decided to reconsider its partnership in the provincial government. The political turmoil in Balochistan will worsen if the alliance of religious parties decides to quit the provincial government.

Nawab Bugti was a legendary Balochi tribal lord and a prominent national figure.In Pakistan`s sordid history, marred by serious questions of ethno-nationalistic identity, Bugti was the second Balochi Sardar who took shelter in mountain caves to wage a war of national resistance against the State of Pakistan. Nawab Rose Khan was the first Balochi Sardar, who had taken up arms against the State during General Yahya Khan`s military rule. Unlike Bugti`s brutal killing during another military-led regime, however, Nawaz Rose died a death of deception. He was lured into compromise, with State officials giving Quranic pledges for his safety. He descended from the mountains, only to find himself and his sons in Quetta jail and eventually in its death cell.

The Bugti tribe led by Nawab Bugti has been living in Dera Bugti for centuries. Few would question Nawab Bugti`s loyalty with the State of Pakistan

First, Bugti and his tribe welcomed Pakistan`s creation. He was the most vocal member of the tribal Jirga that brought Balochistan to the domain of Pakistan.

Second, there is no doubt that Nawab Bugti fought for Balochi rights, but always within the Federal context. He was never against the territorial integrity of Pakistan, and, therefore, never part of any anti-state activity. What could be no better proof of Nawab Bugti`s compromising nature than the fact that he occupied several important positions in both provincial and federal government? Bugti served twice as Chief Minister and once as Governor of Balochistan. In the Federal Government, he occupied two most important ministries of Interior and Defense.

However, Bugti`s fight for Balochi rights did take a more nationalistic turn during successive military reigns. The reason for this was that each such era was characterized by the erosion of provincial rights at the expense of a strong Centre. Balochistan being the most neglected province of the country, the level of nationalistic disenchantment in its case was always higher than other provinces during the military rule. Once again, Bugti was leading the same fight during the current military-led regime.

While Balochi grievances had been rapidly growing since General Musharraf`s coming to power in 1999, especially with the expansion of the Gawadr port and the army`s decision to construct three additional cantonments in the provincial heartland, the alleged rape incident of Dr Shazia, with the accused being an army officer, triggered the crisis that has eventually claimed the life of Nawab Bugti. Since the year 2000, the security forces were busy in combating the militant Balochi resistance fighters, including those of the Balochistan Liberation Army. Nawab Bugti emerged as the leader of Balochi nationalistic aspirations only after the alleged rape of Dr Shazia was made public by him.

After the rape incident, Nawab Bugti, who was almost 90 years old and could walk only with the help of a stick, decided to lead the Balochi movement for national rights. In March last year, clashes between Bugti tribesmen and security forces claimed some 60 lives, including 17 security officials. After the fight, a high-level delegation led by PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain tried to negotiate a compromise settlement with Nawab Bugti.

His principal grievance was regarding the share of Sui gas revenues, which had remained stagnant since the discovery and use of this principal national asset, and the fact that the people of Balochistan were its sole non-beneficiary. Nawab Bugti also represented Balochi grievances regarding the way development work was proceeding at Gawadr, where again the non-Balochi people were exclusively reaping the benefits of development.

Pursuing his traditionally compromising spirit, Nawab Bugti was in favour of having a dialogue with the representatives of the Federal government. Even after an alleged attempt on his life in June, he had publicly stated that he was ready to negotiate. But then that unfortunate incident at Kohlu took place in December. Prior to that, the Committee led by Shujaat and tribesmen led by Nawab Bugti had reportedly agreed on a number of points. There were some areas, where disagreement still existed, but headway was indeed made on a number of fundamental matters.

And then came the Kohlu incident, which principally put an end to the political process on the Balochi situation. Had there been a civilian head of state, even in the wake of such attack, the Federal government might have opted for the political option, and not abandoned it altogether. The security forces must have responded to the rocket attack incident, but only as a necessary response to a sporadic incident of militancy. What the Musharraf regime has done is to use force, and force alone, to solve an issue, which was and is essentially political.

The circumstances surrounding Nawab Bugti`s murder remain shrouded in mystery. The ISPR and government spokesmen are trying to give an impression as if the renowned Balochi Sardar was killed incidentally. However, if we go by the privately available media and public accounts of the event, it appears that Nawab Bugti and his compatriots were bombed alive in the cave in a gunship helicopter strike.

The region in question is treated as a B-Area, where residents have the right to equip themselves with arms. That army helicopters were recurrently fired upon from mountainous spot of Tratani in the Kohlu area in days before the killing of Nawab Bugti may be true. But to use such alleged instances as a guise for eliminating a person of Bugti`s stature whose commitment to Pakistan`s integrity is certified by history is a national tragedy, as the Opposition parties have also said in their protest calls.

Nawab Bugti was so old and frail that hiding in cave in the most inhospitable circumstances should have been an option of last resort for him. But, against the advice of friends asking him to abandon home for a shelter in another country, he vowed to fight and die for the Balochi rights in the land of Balochistan. This is what he told weekly Pulse in a recent interview, which is being reproduced in the present issue of this magazine. Nawab Bugti was the last person who could have any external links, against governmental allegations to this effect. Nawab Bugti was quite apprehensive of the American designs to establish bases in Balochistan, for which, he alleged, the government of Pakistan had reached an understanding with the US Government.

All said and done, the situation in Balochistan should not be expected to return to normalcy in the foreseeable future. Public anger infused by nationalistic spirit could lead to further violent episodes, and more violent response by a State led by the military junta. The ensuing spiral of violence and bloodbath could put in serious jeopardy the very question of Pakistan`s status as an integrated federal republic.

With the sheer use of  forceand especially the fact that Balochistan is geographically linked and demographically negligible (if a comparison is drawn with erstwhile East Pakistan the State may overcome Balochi nationalist uproar over Nawab Bugti`s killing for a while. However, such misperceived military success that also against an alleged nationalenemy might overtime only strengthen the provincially-rooted ethno-nationalistic voices.

The dismemberment of East Pakistan, which has many parallels with the Balochi scenario should have taught a lesson by our military-led ruling elite, which is that assets of a nation, revenues from Sui gas and potential benefits of Gawadr port in Balochistan, have to be distributed equally. And that it is first and foremost the people of a province, especially if they have been linked to its land for centuries, who should reap the fruits of these assets. Nawab Bugti fought and died for a principle, and he would go down in history as it is.

End.

Reader Comments:

gen musharraf

I am very proud as a Pakistani to see that our beloved general has made into top 10 list of world's great dictators. He is in good company of distinguished fellow rulers. His skillful, manipulative techniques have cotrolled constitution, judiciary, politicians, adversaries & international leaders to his advantage. Kudos to him. Bravo Musharraf bravo!

a s ahmed, Pakistan - 02 September, 2006

One sided Article

Your article is extremly Anti Government and one sided only but this is your opinion and I can respect that. After said that, I would like to say that any revenue generated by Sui or any other natural treasure in any part of pakistan is part of PAKISTAN as a whole. STOP saying this is Balochi revenue, why should Government give money to any NAWAB and make him rich and his people suffer under his regime or rule? Its about time that we as Pakistanies admit that NO MORE of these NAWABS / ZAMINDAAR etc.
As a Nation we need to move forward, I am glad we took him out, as far as I'm concerned he was a Patriotic person when Pakistan was born but now he went against the State for his own personal and selfish reasons eventually which led to his death in a cave.


sergio, United Kingdom - 02 September, 2006

Mr. Bugti was getting USD$11 million per year in the form of royalties. How many schools and hospitals were built in DB?

Mr. Bugti was a very ruthless man and he was playng in the hands of enemies of Pakistan.

This is bizzare that people actually have sympathy for a man of his character.

Imran Siddiqui, Canada - 02 September, 2006

1947 division

The 1947 division saw Pakistan being born. The division in classes and communities in Indian sub continent have been rooted since generations. We do not know if we should blame British for it? But it Exists in India and also in Pakistan today.
Creation of Pakistan has only given Punjabi Muslims dominance which they wanted over Indian Part.

Bharat Gajria, Hungary - 02 September, 2006

Bugti deserved death

Akbar Bugti declared war on Pakistan and died in that war. No need to cry for him.

Aamir Ali, Pakistan - 02 September, 2006

Mishandling

The pre planned murder of Former Defence Minster, Governer and Cheif minister of BAluchistan is very very afsoosnak incidence in nthe history of Pakistan which was led by the creul and illegal government of Pervaiz Musharuf sahib. By kiling the BUGTI in such a manner he trying to disintegrate the Unity Of Pakistan.
I cann't imagine that Musharuf may take this criminal step and make our countory in trouble.
I think it is the duty of Supreeme Court to take self step and charge the government for this incidene of State Terrorism.
It is thr right of every pakistani that if government charge him/her for any crime, the chance for its defence in court shoukd be allowed.
I don't say that i agreed with the politics of Akber Bugtee He was also a bad man for his own people but on other hand he is the man who was welcomed the Quaid-e-Azam in 1947 and give his vote for Pakistan and he also take an actve part in taking Gawader Port from Uman.
Musharuf Government also make a cruel Situatin by burried his Dead Body in such a bad manner and don't allowed his childern to offer his NAmaz Janazah and some peoples are also saying that there is no Akber Bugti in the Coffin Box and make rages of Islamic, Cultural customs.
And at last i want to say and Appeal the government, not to perform such a foolish thing and not create the scenareo of 1971, and make dialogue with remaining Baloch Angry People with calm and tolerance becouse we can win the body of people with guns not there hearts which only can be win by Love Tolerence and brotherhood.
MAY ALLAH MAKE BELOVED HOMELAND IN PEACE!

Yalmai Shaheer Ejaz.

yalmai, Pakistan - 04 September, 2006

Balochi grievences are natural in accord to the circumstances, but it is more appropriate to say about the involvement of vagent public too; creating such situations, just for fun purpose.
Moreover, it is more likely to be stated about the death(killing), of A.K. Bugti; it would have to be happen some time by someone. But the way adopted by Government is very much opposed.
The reason to this killing (anytime), is that A.K. Bugti was found to be involved in working as helping hand to INDIA. Although his opinion of Balochistan's resources is logical n favourable. But, what about the mourful sighs of the victims by Bugti?


DurreAab, Pakistan - 04 September, 2006

Bugti Killing

The reports about Nawab Bugti appear very subjective. The BBC's Ahmed Rashid says Bugti was 79 and a cripple--and a rebel. The standards for a civil society in a country requires 1). Rights and respects of a minority as well as ethnic groups. Nowhere have I seen discrete numbers about how much Sui gas is pumped out of Baluchistan and over the years who received what percentage. Were the Balochi people shotchanged? If so, was it by the Federal govt (Punjabis) or was it by the Balochi Sardars who kept the money in their pockets. What arrangement did Bugti have with the Central govt when he was Chief Min./Governor and did he present an overall plan for the division of monies from Sui project (in my opinion the profit should be divided such that Baluch province/people receive 60%, Fed govt 20% and rest of 20% to other provinces. 2). Who is putting money into the Baloch coast development and what benefit will the Baloch receive? 3). Why is Balochistan so "backward"/ignored? Where are the facts and who is to blame? Where did Sardar Bugti receive his arms from? Were/are all the Sardars/Baloch people against the way they are being treated? Is there a comparative study? As I said there are a a lot of subjective writings by ill-informed correspondents and unless we have clear facts and data one cannot side with or against Gen Musharraf, On the other hand the Baloch people should be treated most fairly by the Central govt. I believe that Gen Musharraf is doing a very good job with economic growth and stability of the value of the rupee and good governance--the Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif were incompetent crooks and should never return to power in Pakistan.In summary 1). Respect and fairness for the Baloch people 2)Get hard data re Sui proceeds before deciding who is to blame 3)Damn the politicians.

Zak, Pakistan - 04 September, 2006

Have a look at Bugti's victims

well the killing of any human being is awesome but take a look at the gruesome acts of Bugti.In 2oo3 over some differences with Mazari tribe,Bugti's armed terrorists opened indiscriminate fire on innocent unarmed civilians in Kashmore with machine guns killing 17 injuring 29.Where were the champions of human rights? The incident can be verified from local Police. The mindset of such a person can be well assumed. The security forces had no option but to deliver the justice.Let me tell you Dr. Shazia was never raped by any army officer, she was assaulted by Bugti men just to find a suitable excuse to launch rocket attack on gas installations.The president of Pakistan had the courage to refuse to be blackmailed by A B Bugti. I must agree to one flap made by govt,they should have handed over the body to his heirs.

obaid, Pakistan - 05 September, 2006

any baloch sardars who are left shud be executed just like bugti. iam sick of their bantering

moha, Pakistan - 05 September, 2006

General's Revange

I think Musharuff Regime could have captured Bughti alive. But the way he was brutally killed is inhuman and barbaric. If he was such a bad person that Govt. thinks he was then he should have been brought to justice, not cold blooded murdered.

There is an old saying by Aristotle “Power Corrupts, absolute power absolutely corrupts.” And Mr. Mushi is drunk with power had forget the end of the PHERON and previous dictator Gen. Zia. There is another bigger power besides Musharuff. Every dog has his day.


Junaid, Pakistan - 06 September, 2006

Wadaira.Shahi

every wadayra should be eliminated.

Kaptain eMM, Ukraine - 07 September, 2006

Revenge hah!!!

Well sir my question to you is have you been to the place where he was living and the type to culture they were following. If not then please go there and observe or better try to live under a SARDAR (originated by British).. After that if you will be satisfied well then I will blame Musharraf with you ..otherwise dont spread this political hatred.

JJJ, United Kingdom - 10 September, 2006

Balochi Sardars are still at war with Pakistan.

Who formed and controls the Balochistan Liberation Army? It is certainly not the people of Balochistan. The people have found no dividends of Pakistan's independence. Some of the footage shown on the tv channels portrayed criminal injustices done to the people by the three Sardars -- Bugti, Mengal and Murree. A liberated Balochistan is a pipedream. The people will never go to the extra mile for independence from Pakistan for the sake of the much-hated Sardars.
President Musharraf will be remembered in history as the liberator of Balochi people from the yoke of self-serving Balochi Sardars.

Sher Mohammad.


Sher Mohammad, Pakistan - 10 September, 2006

Where were you?

It is common for immature journalists to complain against the Nation and the President. Where the heck were you, When Bugti was killing Balochis. I didnt read a column from you then. "Pricipals" is a big word for you and bugti. Dont use it again. By the way you should have been in that cave with that retarded traitor.

Naweed, United Kingdom - 11 September, 2006

Twisted Journalism

Sir, I am very disspaointed at reading Irfan Saeed's shallow and child like article. I feel there should never be a state within a state no matter how big a man Bugti was. My personal experience of meeting about 100 Baluchi people abroad, every single one of them hated Bugti. Some people who say he voted for Pakistan at the time of independance,may be he knew about Congress's manifesto where along with other Raja and Maharaja he would not have remained a Sardar. Further an Oxford educated man not establishing a single school in his lifetime, as a matter of fact detesting education for his people. I dont have o say any further. Twisted and shallow journalism from people like Irfan Saeed tries to make people big people out of shallow individuals. No body should be allowed to challenge Pakistan no matter who it is and should be crushed though in Bugti's case he did this to himself.

Jaber Malik, Pakistan - 12 September, 2006

watever i swritten is the one side of the coin

well sir let me comment on ur one sided written article.... i totally agree with MR. JJJ giving such details which i am sure must have been gathered from the different sources who have and still favouring BUGTEEE... we shud be wise enough to see both sides of the story... i also say its tragic but we shud see wat has brought him to this state... he had a history of brutality and egoism... has been balckmaling govts under rule... and i guess he has never done a single productive effort that cud be seen on ground for his balochee ppl he has been traeting them like his slaves and used them his force forcefully.. what kind of fight u r refering mere slogans and debates... mere words.. y we cant see any educational institutes health facility roads.. and other infrastructures in balochisatn he has ben ruling since long has been receiving royalities... but infact all that money was used for his army maels and kitchen expenditures and all... so please dnt spread mis information if u have less knowledge try to open eyes and see wat are the facts..

nazia shams, Pakistan - 12 September, 2006

A General`s Revenge

This article is BAKWAS.Bugti was a DAKOO of high class,and high class five star ***** dakoos always killed by Generals NOT by the SHO Dera Bugti.

Khalid Awan, Pakistan - 12 September, 2006

A General`s Revenge

Dear Irfan Saeed
Thats nice to read about SHAHEED Bugti from ur point of view. Did you mention him SHAHEED somewhere in your article. I am working in oil field, and i know him very well. You told us about his education from Oxford and aitchison, that was Great Briton sponsored education, not of his own money or will, they put them to prestigious univesities to let him feel, He is the only ASHRAFUL MAKHLOOK and rest all are just MAKHLOOK. You are talking about a person who ruled Balochistan for more than a decade and go taking huge sum of money from PPL and POL and all oil searching companies, Not paying any single penny for taxes.
You are talking about a person who used to sleep on bed made up with Dollars. Go your self and look at the people under HIS SEIGE, even they cant talk, they dont know their rights even. How the world you can compare him with some one else, He was Big time criminal, he deserved that kind of death, We should be ashamed of such personalites, living among us. He should be killed in 1970, KHAS KAM JEHAN PAK.
if you are talking about general people, really they will come to know one day that, its not a time for Nawabs, Sardars, Khan, Chaudhries and PIRS to rule them, every one is equal every one has the rights, and every one is free.
before writing any thing like that i would like you people to go yourself and see what those Nawabs of Balochistan and PIRs of Sindh are upto. I and lot of more educated people along with me, dont have any singel sympathy with them at all.

Faizul Wahab, Oman - 14 September, 2006

Biased, irresponsible journalism

I find Irfan Saeed's article extremely inflaming and biased and an example of cheap journalism. Instead of presenting balanced analysis first for the reader to draw a conclusion from, right from the outset he seems determined to brand Pakistan's president and Pakistani governement murderers. This article certainly achieves what it seems to be targeted at: widening the rift between Pakistanis, and spreading hatred.

Muhammad Irfan, United Arab Emirates - 14 September, 2006

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