Musharraf’s Balochistan operation was a “mistake”

Asim Awan May 16, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Former chief of the army staff General Abdul Waheed Kakar has said that the killing of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti in a military operation in August 2006 was “a crime against Pakistan.”

General Kakar, a Pashtun from Balochistan, served as army chief from 1993 to 1996. In his first public appearance since retirement in 1996, Kakar spoke at a seminar on Balochistan held here on Saturday. General Kakar said Musharraf “committed a big mistake” by launching a military operation in Balochistan. Terming Nawab Akbar Bugti “a symbol of the federation” he said when he met Nawab Bugti he found that not only the Baloch leader had great respect for the Pakistan army but he also considered it a unifying factor for the federation.

He said killing Nawab Bugti was not only a crime against Balochistan but it was also a crime against Pakistan. Kakar said that the killing should be investigated and those held responsible should be tried. He said what the state has done to the people of Balochistan is totally unjustified. The seminar on “Friends of the Baloch and Balochistan” was organised and funded by former speaker National Assembly Syed Fakhar Imam and former Ambassador to the US Syeda Abida Hussain.

They were also joined in their effort by two prominent Baloch political figures Amanullah Gichki and Fazila Aliyani. A number of retired bureaucrats, generals, and activists addressed the seminar. Former ambassador Jahangir Ashraf Qazi commented that the state of Pakistan has waged five wars against Balochistan since 1948. He said alienation is a “poison to national identity” and called for addressing the problems of the restive province.

Former secretary foreign affairs Tanvir Ahmed Khan said if there is no Balochistan then there is no Pakistan. He said the people who live on the eastern side of the river Indus have a poor understanding of the people living on the west of the Indus. But the ex-bureaucrat’s optimism was not shared by young Baloch nationalist activists. A leader of the Baloch Students Organisation (BSO) Aleem Baloch said that the people of Balochistan were never involved with the struggle for Pakistan. He said Balochistan was annexed into Pakistan through force. He said the Baloch could not sacrifice their 8,000-year history for the 62-year history of Pakistan.

He said the Baloch have been deprived of their rights and their natural resources. Those who speak for their rights either get killed or abducted and disappear forever. Another BSO leader, Muhiuddin Baloch said that the Pakistani military, the media, parliament and judiciary have no concern for the plight of Balochistan. A former speaker of the Balochistan Assembly called for a new social contract between the centre and the province. Lieutenant General (retired) Salahuddin Tirmizi said that in other countries the intelligence agencies collect information and the governments make decisions. “But here the intelligence agencies make decisions”.

Fakhar Imam, who presided over the seminar, said it was unfortunate that democracy had not been allowed to truly function in Pakistan. He said the problems of the country could only be solved through an uninterrupted process of democracy with free and fair elections.

Published in the Express Tribune, May  16th,  2010.


SCEPTIC | 13 years ago | Reply Okay for a moment lets sympathize with the late Baluchi Leader for a while. Lets imagine that he would have established greater autonomy and brought bouts of unseen prosperity for the natives of his province by continuing his armed struggle against the state. But than would late Bugti not have done what Mujeeb of East Bengal was planning to do? Even an innocent child knows that this was a not a movement for greater autonomy but a separatist struggle against the Federation of Pakistan. When Bugti was made the chief minister of his province he never wanted to put our national flag on the car. He always kept preference for his party flag over our national flag on national flag. Some gesture of love for the nation! But on the other hand we know President Musharraf inspite of his administrative weaknesses and political mistakes that he made during his rule, had the courage to stand up against a tyrant who had kept his tribe backward under a virulent system of oppression and tyranny, which punished all those who wanted to seek justice under the law of our country. Late Bugti administered justice through his courts , at will shot army and law enforcement agencies , killed Kalpar Bugti's and drove thousands of them out of Dera Bugti, fired anti aircraft rockets and shells at all incoming government officials, attacked natural resources of the country and at random dismantled and destroyed government and private sector infrastructure supplying gas and oil to our economy . Then the questions we need to ask ourselves are given in the following :
why he opposed economic development in the province ? Why did he hide like hermit in a a mountain and attacked PAK Army? What were the ultimate political objectives of his struggle ? Was he funded by extraneous sources and powers in the region ? Was he justified in doing what ever he was doing ? Lastly did he brought this disaster upon himself ?
These answers cannot be provided in one go or session. This requires marathon thinking at a marathon level. But I still believe that President Musharraf whose greatest achievement was the revival of economy ( which doubled over the last seven years since 1999 in dollar per capita terms) and it's growth rate (averaging 7% plus) after years of inactivity and slowdown , wanted to use the extra fiscal space that was created after 9/11 to develop all backward regions of the country. I believe Bugti sahib should have been more patient and should not have taken to the gun without giving the establishment a last chance to deliver. What were the results of his action and also of those who opposed the philosophical idea and concept regarding the creation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan before him, such as Mujeeb ? Both fell to the gun. So this our future generations should remember that if the cause is unjust then those who pick the gun in vain, also fall inconclusively and controversially in vain. Mujeeb was slaughtered by his own army and so was Bugti . What Bugti wanted to achieve was another East Pakistan , and what Mujeeb achieved was never later to be accepted by all Bengali's. An evidence to this are cricket matches played in Bangladesh , where you still hear chants of PAKISTAN ZINDABAD ! PAKISTAN ZINDABAD ! Even if god forbid Baluchistan opts for armed separatist struggle again under the guidance of misguided cynical leaders such as Bugti , they too will not be able to separate the ideological blood and bonds that exist between our people. What Musharraf had done may have been a crime if contested in any courts of law , but then do remember that again courts only administer written law and not nationalistic fervour and morality. thank you.
BB | 13 years ago | Reply Baloch people nowadays are getting out of hand... We hate Punjabis, we hate Pakistan, free Balochistan... Give me a break... You are a part of Pakistan... Accept it... Stop killing teachers and performing Karo-Kari or youir so-called 'honour killings'... to get respect you have to earn it. Yes, what Mushie did with Nawab Akber Bugti was terrible and he will suffer the consequences... But what the mind frame of an ordinary Baloch is these days is just sickening.
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