Electioneering in district Khuzdar has become further complicated after the recent wave of terror that killed three close relatives of Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, the chief of the Balochistan chapter of PML-N, in a bomb attack on his election procession.
A senior official of the Home Department has accused the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) for the attack that killed five people including a son, brother and a nephew of Zehri. Surprisingly, Nawaz Sanaullah lodged an FIR against Sardar Akhtar Mengal, chief of his own faction of Balochistan National Party (BNP-M) and his father Sardar Attaullah Mengal for the bomb attack.
Sanaullah has also nominated Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, a Karachi-based Baloch separatist, and his exiled son Hyarbyar Marri who is known as the commander of BLA, in the FIR as collaborators. This give out the impression that the attack was a result of some tribal feud and has nothing to do with Baloch insurgency.
Khuzdar is the hometown of three former chief ministers of Balochistan: Sardar Attaullah Mengal, Sardar Akhtar Mengal and Mir Naseer Mengal. A former governor of Balochistan Mir Ghous Bakhsh Bijenjo also hailed from this district which has been declared, by officials, as one of the most-sensitive regions for the upcoming elections.
Who is in the race?
Sanaullah, a former provincial minister in Nawab Aslam Raisani’s cabinet, is contesting for the lone National Assembly seat from Khuzdar (NA-269), against Mir Abdul Rauf Mengal of the BNP-M, Imam Bakhsh Zehri of PPP, Maulvi Qamaruddin who is a joint candidate of JUI-F and National Party (NP) and an independent candidate Mir Attaur Rehman Mengal.
Abdur Rauf Mengal
A look back in time
Muhammad Usman Advocate, who had won this National Assembly seat in the 2008 general elections as an independent candidate and later joined the PPP, is not in the race this time. He had defeated Maulvi Qamaruddin of the JUI-F by a big margin.
Rauf Mengal, a key leader of the BNP-M was elected from NA-269 in 2002, but resigned in protest against the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti. Three other legislators of the BNP-M had also resigned along with Rauf Mengal. After resigning, all four went into exile but recently returned to take part in the elections.
Before leaving Pakistan, Rauf Mengal had said that democracy was never allowed to flourish in Pakistan and his province had been the worst sufferer of that unfortunate trend.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) could not manage to conduct by-elections on that vacant seat due to public pressure in support of Rauf Mengal.
Previous Election Results
Abdur Rauf Mengal
Mir Muhammad Ayub Jattak
Advocate Muhammad Usman
Balochistan’s former chief minister and BNP-M chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal is contesting for one out of three provincial assembly seats from Khuzdar (PB-35).
Atta Mengal is the son of former chief minister, Mir Naseer Mengal, who had also served as the federal minister and advisor to the prime minister. Atta Mengal had won from PB-35 in the 2008 elections when Akhtar Mengal’s BNP had boycotted the elections.
BNP-M Vice-President Sajid Tareen advocate has alleged that Atta Mengal is being supported by the establishment. He also alleged that Atta Mengal’s brother Mir Shafiq-ur-Rehman Mengal is heading a private militia, or a death squad allegedly backed by the government – an allegation vehemently and repeatedly rejected by the Balochistan government. Tareen claimed that the JUI-F is also secretly supporting Atta Mengal.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2013.