Denying any prior knowledge of Nawab Akbar Bugti’s killing and absolving the federal government of blame, former prime minister Shaukat Aziz said that law and order is a provincial subject.
In a letter sent from Dubai to the Provincial Police Officer on October 31, Aziz stated that he had been mentioned in the FIR registered at the Dera Bugti Police Station on October 13, 2009, which alleged that then president Pervez Musharraf used him as part of a conspiracy to murder Akbar Bugti.
He went on to state that he was informed of the ‘unfortunate and tragic incident’ when it was broadcast on television.
Aziz was the prime minister of Pakistan from August 20, 2004 to November 15, 2007.
During his regime, the former prime minister had never confirmed that a military operation was taking place in Balochistan. However, in his letter he stated that Akbar Bugti died in a military operation during the night of August 25 – 26, 2008.
He further stated that according to the law, it is the provincial government who requisitions the armed forces to act in aid of civil power if considered necessary.
“Neither I nor my government were aware or advised about the incident prior to its occurrence,” he stated, adding that he would be pleased to provide any further assistance that may be required by the police.
A senior journalist disclosed that Aziz had issued instructions to the Press Information Department to black out all news and statements of Baloch nationalist leaders, including Akbar Bugti. The journalist further told The Express Tribune that the former PM was involved in a political campaign against Akbar Bugti as well as other Baloch nationalists.
Earlier, in their replies to the high court, former interior minister Aftab Ahmed Sherpao and former governor Awais Ahmed Ghani also stated that they learnt about the incident through media reports and later officially confirmed it.
Nawabzada Jamil Akbar Bugti, the eldest son of Akbar Bugti, said that the then governor often levelled allegations that the Indian government was supplying arms to Dera Bugti and is now, surprisingly, distancing himself from the Bugti murder case.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2011.