President Balochistan National Party – Mengal Sardar Akhtar Mengal said on Sunday that he is a supporter and friend of the Baloch nationalist elements. However, the province cannot be liberated if ‘other friends’ keep coming under attack, he said.
“Balochistan cannot be liberated [from its present situation] by pulling the legs of other friends and supporters,” Mengal told a rally in Quetta, referring to nationalist elements criticising his decision to participate in the polls.
The BNP-M chief also said that he could boycott the elections midway through the campaign if ground realities in Balochistan did not change.
He said that people are still being abducted in the province, and bullet-riddled bodies continue to be discovered.
“There is no place in Balochistan where mutilated bodies of the missing Baloch youths are not found,” Mengal told his audience.
He gave the example of a worker of his own party who was gunned down by what he called a ‘death squad’ in broad daylight.
Mengal, who had been living in exile for the past year, returned to Pakistan on March 25 with a renewed resolve to contest the general elections.
“Remaining in exile is a curse and it was keeping me away from the fatherland and the people,” Mengal said.
He said that his party’s decision to participate in the polls was in the interest of the Baloch people and their well-being. “It should not be treated as a weakness of a politician,” Mengal added.
Views of the politically committed Baloch people cannot be changed at gunpoint, Mengal said while referring to militants who threaten to kill political workers and activists.
Talking about his own party, he said that people were of the view that the BNP had died out from the political landscape. “BNP is present on the ground and has emerged stronger than ever,” Mengal said. “No power on earth can wipe out the BNP from politics.”
He said that his party presented their demands to the government, seeking guarantees for free, fair and transparent polls. They also sought the protection of all those people who attended political and election rallies.
“Mothers should not fear that bodies of their sons will reach home after these meetings,” Mengal said.
During his speech, Mengal reiterated his party’s decision that they might boycott the polls.
“It has been a month now and BNP is reviewing the situation constantly, if there is no improvement, we can boycott the elections ahead of the polling day,” he said.
He said that if his party comes to power it will be through fair means and the support of the people.
The BNP president promised that once he is elected, he will create favourable conditions for all the people of the province, regardless of their ethnicity, sect or religion.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2013.