QUETTA: Chief of the Balochistan National Party (BNP-M), Sardar Akhtar Mengal, has blamed the government and security agencies for the ongoing wave of target killings and kidnapping of Baloch political leaders and workers in the province.
Addressing a public gathering at Manan Chowk in Quetta on Saturday by telephone from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mengal said that Habib Jalib Baloch, a senior leader of his party, was killed by those people who considered Jalib as a hurdle in their way.
Earlier, BNP staged a rally to protest recent killings of its leaders. Participants marched from Liaquat Park up till Manan Chowk where they staged a demonstration. They were carrying banners and placards and photographs of slain BNP-M leaders Habib Jalib and Liaquat Mengal. The two were shot dead by unknown gunmen a few weeks ago. Protesters shouted slogans against the government which they said has failed to restore order in the province
Speaking to protesters, Sardar Mengal said that the Baloch people would not be cowed down through use of force. He added that the government had alienated the Baloch people in 1948 when it decided to mobilise army troops against the Baloch people. Ever since successive governments did not bother to bridge this widening gap between the Baloch people and the central government, he added.
“The government and its agents are deliberately whipping up panic in Balochistan but the BNP is not scared of anything as it has already scarified many lives,” Mengal said, adding that despite several attacks on party workers, crowds of people turned out at Saturday’s rally which shows that the party is enjoying full support of the Baloch people.
Mengal reiterated that the struggle for their rights would continue, saying the BNP would not give in to any pressure on its principled stand. “Those involved in the killing of Baloch leaders want to weaken our struggle. But they are living in a fool’s paradise,” he added.
The BNP chief called upon party workers to keep an eye on the government and its agents because “they can carry out attacks at any time.”
Mengal also urged Baloch nationalist parties to unite for their rights. “Without unity the Baloch people cannot get their rights,” he added. However, Mengal said that the BNP would not take any foreign dictation while framing its policies. “The BNP is the biggest and the most popular political party in the province. And it was proved after the assassination of Habib Jalib when the entire Balochistan rose up in protest,” he added. Mengal paid glowing tribute to Habib Jalib and acknowledged his long struggle for the Baloch people. He said Jalib’s assassination has created a void in the party which was hard to be filled.
Other central leaders of the BNP, including Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini, Ghulam Rasool Mengal, Jamila Baloch, Khurshid Jamaldini and Mohyuddin Baloch, also addressed the gathering.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2010.
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