26th August: Remembering Nawab Akbar Bugti
No single date left such a lasting impression on the society and politics of Balochistan like August 26th, 2006. It was, no doubt, “Balochistan’s 9/11” when the province’s former governor and elected chief minister Nawab Mohammad Akbar Khan Bugti was brutally murdered by the democracy-blind military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf.
Balochistan marks today (August 26th) the fourth death anniversary of the top Baloch leader who was killed by a military dictator incapable of resolving political disputes on the negotiation table. Similar to the previous anniversaries, political parties across Balochistan are observing this as a “black day”. They have given the call for a complete shutter down strike and wheel jam to condemn the abominable assassination.
August 26th is one such day on which all people of Balochistan, irrespective of their ethnic affiliations and conflicting political views, mourn collectively. Every citizen of the country’s poorest province recalls the arrogant assault on an old ailing man who fought for the democratic rights of the people of Balochistan.
Late Nawab Bugti was in fact a staunch democrat who did not shut his doors for all forms of negotiations. He was the last man Islamabad could negotiate with on the ever-worsening situation of Balochistan. By killing Bugti, Islamabad has not been able to find the right person in the last four years to talk to.
Bugti’s high-profile political assassination was condemned not only nationally but internationally. Everyone saw it as a smug offensive by a military dictator on someone who spoke for the just rights of his people. Throughout his political career, Bugti was never anti-Pakistan. He was, much to the disappointment of nationalists, a federalist who believed in coexistence with Pakistan. What he demanded was not independence for Balochistan. He stood for maximum provincial autonomy for Balochistan and other provinces of Pakistan. In Bugit’s interpretation, the federal government should solely deal with foreign affairs, defense and currency while rest of the other subjects should be devolved to the provinces.
Bugti’s killing, however, gave birth to a very different generation of young Balochs who went a step further by shutting all the doors of dialogue with Islamabad. With grandson Nawabzada Bramdagh Bugti as the successor, the younger followers of the late Nawab today only talk of an independent Balochistan. They are unwilling to compromise on anything less. This generation is beyond anyone’s control and is gaining more popularity and acceptance in the Baloch society due to its harsh stance.
Nawab Bugti was in fact the last Nawab of Balochistan with whom Islamabad could hold talk as he was a man whose decision would surely be accepted by all major stakeholders in the province. With him brutally killed, the conflict in Balochistan has even slipped from the hands of sardars and nawabs.
Now it is the middleclass educated people like Dr. Allah Nizar Baloch and his like-minded folks who call the shots in Balochistan. Their interpretation of ‘rights’ and definition of ‘struggle’ is very disconcerting for Islamabad to cope up with.
Four years after the shocking murder, no final official report has been publicized yet to confirm what actually happened on August 26th, 2006. The circumstances under which the great Baloch leader was killed still remain a mystery. Even many people find it hard to believe that the Nawab had actually been killed because the military regime refused to show the body locked in the coffin to the family members of the nationalist leader. Disappointingly, he was buried in the absence of his family members and, worse still, in the presence of deadly family members as a mark of humiliation.
The Pakistan Peole’s Party, which has experienced the trauma of losing its founding leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and chairperson Benazir Bhutto, should conduct a thorough investigation of Nawab Bugti’s murder. Agreed, the PPP has not been able to investigate the murder of its own two top-most leaders, the situation in Balochistan will not normalize until the murderers of Nawab Bugti, particularly former President Pervez Musharraf and governor Balochistan Owais Ahmed Ghani are brought to justice.
The people of Balochistan as well as Pakistan must be granted the right to accurate information as to how Bugti was killed and whose decision it was to give a humiliating burial to a former chief minister and governor.
The government of Balochistan should declare August 26th as a provincial holiday every year to pay respect to an elderly political leader who preferred to die instead of surrendering before a belligerent military dictator. In addition, the incomplete debate in the Balochistan Assembly about renaming the Quetta international airport as Nawab Bugti International Airport should be resumed and completed as soon as possible. Since the people of Balochistan collectively share Nawab Bugti as their hero, the province’s capital airport should be named after him.
Aik Zalim ko dosray Zalim nay maar dala
Killing of Bugti a blow to national unity: Nur Khan By A Reporter August 30, 2006 http://www.dawn.com/2006/08/30/nat7.htm
ISLAMABAD, Aug 29: Former Air Force chief Air Marshal Nur Khan has roundly condemned the ruling Muslim League leadership, specially its president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and its secretary-general Mushahid Hussain Syed, for continuing to serve the Gen Musharraf regime even after the murder of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti at the hands of a contingent of Army. They claim to have been very good friends of the late Bugti. Shujaat never tires of expressing his indebtedness to the Nawab for saving his father’s life when Z.A.Bhutto, the then prime minister, had reportedly instructed Bugti, then governor of Balochistan to have his father Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi who was then in the provincial jail, killed. And look at Mushahid. He was among the three whom Bugti had named for hearing his case and had promised to accept whatever their verdict. Is this how one pays back trusted friends? asked Nur Khan. Nur Khan, who as the governor of the defunct West Pakistan, had negotiated with the estranged Baloch Sardars, including Akbar Khan Bugti, in the late 1960s and brought them back into the mainstream politics, said he had found all these Sardars to be highly patriotic and devoted to Pakistan. “I would trust them more than I would trust any other Pakistani to die for Pakistan”, he said.
Talal Akbar Bugti and Nawab Aali Bugti, son and grandson of Nawab Akbar Bugti respectively, have alleged that Shaukat Aziz, PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and PML-Q Secretary General Mushahid Hussain Sayed are the real killers of the 22nd chieftain of the Bugti tribe. Reference: Trial of Shaukat, Shujaat, Mushahid sought for Bugti?s murder By Mazhar Tufail Wednesday, June 24, 2009 ISLAMABAD: Despite being sworn enemies of one another, two immediate heirs of slain Nawab Akbar Bugti have together accused former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and two top leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) of involvement in the killing of the veteran Baloch leader and have demanded their trial. NRO, Chaudhry Brothers, PML – Q & Jang Group of Newspapers http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/11/nro-chaudhry-brothers-pml-q-jang-group.html
Veteran politician Sardar Sherbaz Mazari condemned the army forces’ advance on Nawab Bugti’s residence, and said that “after this action, it is no more the issue of Nawab Bugti alone as it would provoke entire Balochistan… its outcome will not be in the national interest.”
He strongly criticized the language being used by the rulers, particularly Gen Musharraf, to address the people of Balochistan as ‘arrogant’, and said: “they believe as if every citizen was their salve.” Sardar Mazari said it was maligning propaganda that tribal chieftains were cruel towards their people. “Tribal people do have the courage to revolt against their chieftain if the latter would behave like a cruel master.” KARACHI: Politicians flay takeover of Bugti’s house By Habib Khan Ghori
February 9, 2006 http://www.dawn.com/2006/02/09/local3.htm
Body taken to Islamabad, says Mazari: ‘Let me bury my brother with honour’ August 29, 2006 http://www.dawn.com/2006/08/29/top6.htm
KARACHI, Aug 28: Veteran politician Sherbaz Khan Mazari has refuted government claims about killing Nawab Akbar Bugti in a mountain cave and said that the tribal chieftain was actually killed following a bitter shoot-out in the open. A press statement issued to Dawn by Mr Mazari says that the body of Nawab Bugti has been taken to Islamabad. “My message to Musharraf is this: General, you have finally managed to kill the man you wanted. Now, if you possess an honourable bone in your body, do the decent thing and hand the body of Nawab Bugti to his family members. The least my dear friend Akbar Bugti deserves is the dignity of a proper funeral and a final resting place in the land he loved enough to give his life for,” the statement concludes.
Zalaan says: August 26, 2010 at 7:42 am Aik Zalim ko dosray Zalim nay maar dala
He may not have been a Great Human Being, he was worst Feudal but living Bugti was not as dangerous as dead Bugti has become. Download the reports and read: Pakistan: The Forgotten Conflict in Balochistan, Asia Briefing N°69, 22 Oct 2007
Violence continues unabated in Pakistan’s strategically important and resource-rich province of Balochistan, where the military government is fighting Baloch militants demanding political and economic autonomy.