A lost tribe: Home is where Dera Bugti is

Published: July 11, 2013
Thousands of Bugti tribesmen appeal to the new government to address their plight. PHOTO: ZAFAR ASLAM

Thousands of Bugti tribesmen appeal to the new government to address their plight. PHOTO: ZAFAR ASLAM

ISLAMABAD: Nawabzada Gohram Bugti talks with the vehemence of a man who feels wronged, a man itching to go home. He sits at the Parade Lane, his legs crossed, as one of the 400 internally displaced Bugtis protesting against law enforcement agencies that have reportedly denied them entry into their hometown, Dera Bugti.

“We will live and die in Balochistan,” says Gohram. “But, unfortunately, we are paying the price of being loyal to our late leader, my grandfather, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. We appeal to Nawaz Sharif to come up with a new strategy to restore peace to the province.”

According to Gohram, he has not been able to enter Dera Bugti for 67 days…and counting.

Nothing being done

After the Pakistani government’s military operation in Balochistan in 2006-2007, an estimated 170,000 tribesmen who migrated from Dera Bugti and its adjoining districts were kept from resettling in their homes. According to Gohram, over 200,000 are homeless since 2005.

The tribesmen say the previous government did nothing for these displaced families, except for arresting them in 2010 and later releasing them.

Today, families continue to protest, determined to go home. The protests have taken place in front of the Prime Minister House, the Parliament House and, now, at Parade Lane.

“We will continue to protest against the continued siege-like situation in Dera Bugti,” Gohram states categorically. “We demand our basic right to return to our birthplace.” Gohram also adds that despite court orders, the government has not provided security to the internally displaced Bugti families, and no one has listened to their appeals.

Earlier this year, the tribes tried to enter into Dera Bugti twice but were stopped at the Dolo checkpoint by law enforcement agencies asking them to show entry passes. They are now living in Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Hyderabad, Rohri, Sukkur, Khairpur and Karachi.

“Tell me what we should do now?” Gohram asks. “The law should be equal for everybody!”

In this vein, Bari Bugti, who spent his entire life with the late Nawab Akbar, also reiterates that the last government severely let people down. “We are really optimistic that the government will open doors to justice.”

Similarly, Allah Bux Bugti appeals to the chief justice and the premier to let them live at home.

A clueless committee?

On June 20, Crisis Management Cell Director General Khalid Lodhi constituted a committee to resolve the issue of resettlement, on Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s orders. However, the committee has not convened a single meeting as yet.

The committee, headed by Justice (retd) Rana Baghwandas, also includes Minister for SAFRON Maj General (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Asma Jehangir and former MNA Ayaz Amir as members. Three other members of the committee will be nominated by the chief secretary of Balochistan.

When contracted, Ayaz Amir said he did not know of any development in this case. He confirmed that no meeting has taken place in this regard. Similarly, Interior Ministry spokesperson Omar Hadeed Khan also said he did not know why a meeting has not taken place. “I’ll update you [The Express Tribune] if I find something on this matter,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • A J Khan
    Jul 11, 2013 - 10:38AM

    Let’s put the basic right. Bugti Tribe consist of about a dozen sub tribes numbering around 300,000. The Nawab is from Rahija clan of Bugti Tribe who happened to be Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti.
    Present feud is an intra tribe tribal animosity between the Rahija & Kalpars. The conflict started when Rahija Bugtis murdered Amir Hamza, son of Kalpar leader Khan Mohammad Kalpar, allegedly killed by Akbar Bugti in May 1992 in Dera Bugti during a local bodies’ election. Prior his killing Amir Hamza was attempting to forge an alliance between the Kalpars and Masuris (another Bugti sub tribe), of which Akbar Bugti did not approve. The Kalpars retaliated in June 1992 by killing Salal Bugti, Akbar Bugti’s son.
    When Akbar Bugti was alive he ran the political and tribal affairs of the region like a monarch complete with imprisonments and punishments. He forced Kalpars and Masuris out from the region under threat of physical elimination.
    Pervez Musharraf resettled the Kalpars and Masuris back in their areas and made them part of the part of the Sui gas payment. This did not go well with Nawab Akbar Khan and he started armed struggle against the government.
    No Government will be able to do much unless both tribes accept existence of each other. Rest all is point scoring and politics to usurp the rights of others


  • Mukhtar
    Jul 11, 2013 - 11:54AM

    @AJKHAN Why we are trying to fool people – its political conflict – the inter-tribal feuds are flamed by our “beloved” intellegence agencies. Divide and Rule. Simply – Bugtis;s fault is that they own resource rich region –


  • Bilal
    Jul 11, 2013 - 1:01PM

    @A J Khan,
    Thank you sir for putting the facts straight!

    This is purely Bugti tribe’s internal struggle. These sub-tribes were expelled by Nawab Akbar Bugti forcefully. Government of Pakistan has nothing to with them except that Pervez Musharaf tried to settle them back to Dear Bugti.

    Express Tribune, Government bashing is fun, I know. But please try to maintain at least some journalistic standards.


  • ashar
    Jul 11, 2013 - 3:31PM

    Some body told my some years back that Akber Bugti never allowed any one to name his son Akbar. Strange in our times but shows the power they enjoy over people.


  • Tufan Agha
    Jul 11, 2013 - 4:26PM

    @A J Khan:
    I support your information. Anyone who lives in Balochistan knows that unless peace prevails between Rahija or Kalpar Bugtis, government will not be able to do any thing. Nawab Akbar Khan ousted Kalpars and captured their lands and properties. They migrated to Multan later when situation changed and Kalpars moved back to Sui, other side had to move out.
    The question now is whether Kalpars will give up their claim to Sui and its roylty? They will nor nor can this case be won by Akbar Khan’s family in any court of Law as the land belongs to Kalpars.
    So peace will remain a far cry unless Rahija bugtis reconcile to the fact to live in their own area or a grand “Mehr” of Baloch tribes is held so that they can decide the case.
    Another option is the tribal option. Let them settle it themselves.


  • vaqas
    Jul 11, 2013 - 8:18PM

    Thats what you get for supporting a terrorist and fascist like akbar bugti. This is justice for you. Just not the kind that you approve of.


  • John Falstaff
    Jul 12, 2013 - 3:21AM

    @Vaqas really? and what do you now about Akbar Bugti other than all that has been fed to you by some “anchorperson” done up like a cheap Christmas tree?.


  • Ali Baloch
    Jul 15, 2013 - 6:33PM

    @Aj Khan you’re wrong on most accounts it wasn’t a case of you kill my son I’ll kill yours and then I’ll force you to move out. This affair is far complex and deep then what you made it out to be. I did explain every thing in detail, but I guess ET looses it’s nerve when it’s not a comment bashing PPP.
    Musharraf didn’t settle the Masoris and Kalpars, they were brought armed to the tooth for one reason and that was too stop Akbar Bugti from demanding that Bugti employs working for the Plant to be made permanent and their work hours be fixed at 8 hours and over time to be paid.
    If this is a crime I’m glad he comitted such a crime and hope other Sardars and Nawabs can follow suit.


  • Zee Paki
    Jul 25, 2013 - 10:00PM

    @A J Khan:
    Thanks for the details. Your information is accurate and what I have heard from independent resources before. This is the kind of reporting I would expect from Express Tribune, but we have to read the comments section to get the story right. And shame on the media for not telling the full story. Either they are incompetent, or just plain dishonest. They would rather blame it all on Musharraf than tell the real facts behind the story.


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