Ataullah Mengal interview: ‘Aghaz-e-Haqooq package a joke’

Published: December 20, 2011
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Veteran Baloch leader expresses deep criticism of govt, army. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

Veteran Baloch leader expresses deep criticism of govt, army. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

KARACHI: In an interview with The Express Tribune prior to his meeting with Pakistan Muslim League chief Nawaz Sharif, Mengal was openly critical of the government and the military. “They have decided that we (the Baloch) were born slaves and will remain so,” he said. “Balochistan has neared the point of no return.” He said working to solve any of the issues in Balochistan was dependent on the military.

In reply to a question on the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan package, which the current government announced with fanfare as one of its ‘key achievements’, Mengal rejected it completely. “Do not even talk of this,” Mengal said with a dismissive wave. “They are making fun of us. They keep repeating these things every few months with different names.”

Expressing frustration at the province’s treatment, he said that from the day that Balochistan became a part of Pakistan, it had been wronged.

Short of provincial autonomy – which Mengal describes as where the federal government only controls defence, foreign affairs and currency – Balochistan will not be content. “The corpses will keep appearing.” Regarding his talk with the PML-N chief, he said there was no agenda set for the meeting, and Sharif had sought the meeting.

Mengal, who is in Karachi for medical treatment, said he did not see himself playing an active political role at his age. He did say that the Balochistan National Party is expected to participate in the next general elections – but this would be contingent on whether the polls were fair, and if the military was not involved in monitoring the election.

“Our problems and role have become restricted to Balochistan,” Mengal said. “It is a small province and we have limited responsibilities. We face so many problems that we have not been able to cope with those, let alone anything else.”

When asked if a starting step could be scaling back the role of the military and security agencies, Mengal returned with a question of his own: “Should I call this country a military colony or a colonial game?”

“Perhaps other provinces do not realise this, they may not have reached saturation point yet. We have crossed it a long time ago. We are helpless and can only curse our destiny.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2011.

 

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Falcon
    Dec 20, 2011 - 9:43AM

    That is so sad. Even outsiders can see this issue becoming worse every day. Famous international relations analyst Parag Khanna has cited this as one of the most volatile parts of the region that is at high risk of splitting from Pakistan. We really really need to start paying attention to this. The fear I have is that the way things are continuing, in few decades only Punjab and Sindh will be part of Pakistan because of our sheer lack of focus on the other provinces.

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  • Souped up
    Dec 20, 2011 - 10:22AM

    Whenever i read an article about Balochistan it is so disheartening. Being a punjabi I wish i could redress all the grievances of the baloch. But all i have in my power is to apologize to them for staying quiet while they were killed in cold blood…for not raising a voice in their support…for not putting an end to their expoloitation. I pray for the people of balochistan…may tommorow bring you an ever lasting peace. And I also pray that all pakistanis are able to cast off these leeches who hold power in the country and that our army starts doing its primary job which is protecting the bordersRecommend

  • Pakistani
    Dec 20, 2011 - 12:18PM

    Being a Pakistani, it is very sad to see the current situation of the Baluchistan. GOP is responsible for the prosperity of the province but one thing which bothers me that what efforts had done by these tribal leaders for their province. No school, no hospitals, no development. Why?? All tribal leaders (one by one) are governing on province. Why do they not provide basic facilities to their citizens? No Pak Army or Federal Govt. stopped them from the serving of people of Baluchistan.

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  • gill
    Dec 20, 2011 - 12:47PM

    Well, I have lived in Makran district for four year during 90s. The terrain was awsome and the attitude of the people was so warm that I faces of the people I met there are still in my mind and I still feel refreshed when I recall the time I spend there. The area is however far less developed as we could imagine while living in big cities of Pakistan and the blame lies on all of us, including the civil and military establishment. Nothing is lost as yet, we should go extra mile and do what ever we could possibly to do to win them back. The areas need massive infrastructure development that should create opportunities for industrial set ups and generate employment opportunities for our brother Baluchs.Recommend

  • Mureed Khan
    Dec 20, 2011 - 2:26PM

    Army needs to be kept on short leash. plain and simple.

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  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 20, 2011 - 2:28PM

    Where our governments have neglected developing balochistan all these years. we also cannot neglect the fact that the enemies of Pakistan ( you know who ) are trying their best to cash in through various means of propaganda and terrorism. like supported by RAW

    Pakistanis must be united to humiliate these opportunists and don’t fall in their trapRecommend

  • saleem ullah
    Dec 20, 2011 - 2:50PM

    Just make a sketch or map less of Balochistan;… we stand no where. Now the nation must stand to remove ill feelings and depriviation of the brothers and sisters in Balochistan.

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  • Salman
    Dec 20, 2011 - 6:25PM

    another over exaggerated rant by a Sardar, who never delivered anything for his ppl when he had the power. Such kind of negative politics and playing a victim card won’t yield any goals in today’s world. Time to wake up for the Balouchis. Vote a better person like Imran Khan or who ever then these useless Sardars.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Dec 20, 2011 - 6:42PM

    These serdars are the cause of problems in baluchistan when they dont allowed to build schools and colleges and keeping peoples like a slaves.Recommend

  • Vailaa
    Dec 20, 2011 - 8:22PM

    We have not learnt anything from the fall of East Pakistan. My heart reaches out to the Baloch people. I wish my apologies matter..

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  • Adnan
    Dec 20, 2011 - 9:09PM

    As a Punjabi, I’m ashamed for being remained silent for years and my Baloch Brothers were being alienated and deprived of their resources and rights. May I say SORRY on behalf of myself and all sane Punjabi people. I also condemn the Army for their insistance about resolving issues faced by Balochistan with force and weapons.

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  • Salim
    Dec 20, 2011 - 9:27PM

    What have the Baloch Sardars done for their own people?

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  • Adnan
    Dec 20, 2011 - 10:23PM

    @Salim:

    What could they have done when all the resources were with National Government or Pakistan Army.

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  • Khan Jr
    Dec 21, 2011 - 12:11AM

    If you believe the ISI-driven propaganda driven through the media, it all about the “corrupt and powerful sardars who are responsible”. Not many people know Balochistan or have bothered to travel there. The sardars may have been powerful three decades ago but hardly any more.

    Attaullah Mengal expressed the current reality: having been pushed brutally to the wall the youth of Balochistan have taken to the hills to fight oppression and what they view as colonisation. But then you can hardly blame them. With four years of “torture, kill and dump” operations what else can you expect?

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