KALAT: Liaqat Mengal, a senior BNP Leader and former District President was shot dead in Kalat on Tuesday. Police sources said three unidentified armed bike riders attacked him when he was on his way to Kalat city. Mengal died on the spot. (Source)
Party head Akhtar Mengal strongly condemned his assasination and said that they will continue their struggle to eradicate terrorism.
It is worth mentioning that Pakistan Army and Baloch separatists are currently involved in an unending bloody battle in which ordinary citizens as well as political leaders belonging to Baloch and other ethnic communities are being routinely targeted by both sides. It is also important to consider Akhtar Mengal’s statement regarding the BNP policy of political negotiations, which in a way alienated his party from the separatist elements.
According to Rahimullah Yusufzai:
Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal, a former chief minister of the province and head of the Balochistan National Party (BNP) to which Habib Jalib belonged, is now confronting the same situation but he must be credited for taking a stand against Baloch youngsters and organisations pushing his party to demand independence after Habib Jalib’s martyrdom. Akhtar Mengal, son of veteran Baloch politician Sardar Attaullah Mengal, too no longer trusts the Pakistan government and military and his BNP has moved from demanding maximum provincial autonomy for Balochistan to the right of self-determination for the Baloch people, but he hasn’t refused talks with the powers-that-be provided there are international guarantees for agreements that may be reached on the question of Baloch rights.
The reaction to Habib Jalib’s assassination was familiar in the context of the allegations and counter-allegations regarding his possible killers. The Baloch nationalists blamed the secret agencies for his assassination while separatists based outside Pakistan added the name of an organisation of pro-government Baloch politicians to the list of suspects. The unwieldy and largely directionless PPP-led provincial government of Nawab Aslam Raisani as a matter of routine condemned his killing and made the hollow promise of apprehending and punishing the killers. This government has been watching helplessly as not only Baloch nationalists but also Pashtuns, Hazaras and settlers, mostly Punjabis, have been systematically target-killed. When the separatists indulge in target-killings of non-Baloch people as some of their spokesmen publicly claim after every such incident, there would be reprisals and sometimes those unconcerned would become the target. It is possible that Habib Jalib became a victim of such a reprisal or he was eliminated to trigger unrest and achieve certain nefarious objectives. The true story of his assassination may never become known, but it should spur all those who are concerned about Pakistan’s future to do their bit to save the country.
Though it would be futile to expect the provincial, or for that matter the federal government, to take effective measures to provide protection to the citizens, particularly those most vulnerable, and instil hope among the people in these times of despair, the fact remains that politicians have to take the lead to heal the wounds of the Baloch people, convince them to stop looking to outside powers for winning their rights and enable them to keep faith in Pakistan. And the military must resist the temptation to use force again to resolve the Balochistan problem and assist the politicians and everyone else to keep the Baloch wedded to the idea of Pakistan.