After 14 years: Akhtar Mengal returns to Balochistan Assembly

Published: August 29, 2013
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Akhtar Mengal takes oath as a member of the Balochistan Assembly. PHOTO: BANARAS KHAN/EXPRESS

Akhtar Mengal takes oath as a member of the Balochistan Assembly. PHOTO: BANARAS KHAN/EXPRESS

QUETTA: 

After spending the last 14 years away from parliamentary politics, prominent nationalist politician Sardar Akhtar Mengal returned to the Balochistan Assembly as a member of the house on Wednesday.

Former chief minister and president of his own faction of the Balochistan National Party (BNP-M), Sardar Akhtar Mengal, returned to Pakistan in March this year, ending his four-odd years of self-exile to lead his party in the May 11 elections.

The BNP-M, however, didn’t fare well in the elections which, he alleged, were massively rigged. The party staged several demonstrations, triggering fears that Mengal might say goodbye to parliamentary politics for good.

It took MPA-elect Mengal over three months to make up his mind. “The members of this house should not just pledge allegiance to Pakistan, but to Balochistan as well,” he said after he and his fellow MPA-elect Mir Hammal Kalmati were sworn in. “We cannot be faithful to Pakistan without being loyal to Balochistan,” he added.

Mengal said peace could be restored in the violence-wrecked Balochistan if the federal government implemented his ‘six points’.

The six-point charter, revealed by Mengal earlier this year, calls for ending all covert and overt military operations, producing all missing persons before a court of law, disbanding all ‘proxy death squads’, bringing those responsible for the killings of Baloch leaders to justice, allowing Baloch political parties to resume their political activities without any interference and rehabilitating all displaced Baloch people.

Talking about the volatile security situation, Mengal said there was no guarantee that the various proposals being floated in this regard would work until there was change in the establishment’s mindset. “Enforced disappearances and the dumping of mutilated bodies at public places can only end if the mindset of the rulers changes.”

He claimed that despite a public apology by outgoing President Asif Ali Zardari for the past excesses in Balochistan, a military operation was still ongoing in the province with ‘visible consequences’. The BNP-M chief called for drawing a line between people waging a struggle for their ‘usurped’ rights and terrorists.

“Displaced people from the entire region used to seek shelter in Balochistan in the past … Now, there is no place to provide shelter to our own sons and daughters,” he said.

The BNP-M chief said ‘state-backed’ terrorists had imposed the ‘law of the jungle’ in Khuzdar for the past two months. The entire city has been barricaded, preventing food and other supplies from reaching residents, he added.

The BNP-M chief said instability in Afghanistan also affected law and order in Balochistan. “Extremism was introduced in this region by the US to fight communism … [Now] we are left facing the disastrous consequences.”

Mengal said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had shared his plans for development in Balochistan with him during a meeting. He said he warned the premier, however, that development and progress would not be possible without peace.

He demanded all agreements signed between Pakistan and China regarding the Gwadar port be presented before the Balochistan Assembly. He also sought a guarantee from Premier Nawaz that the Baloch people would not become a minority in Gwadar.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • fiaz ahmed
    Aug 29, 2013 - 4:13AM

    Welcome back, you have made right move, hope more will join…

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  • SHB
    Aug 29, 2013 - 5:11AM

    Welcome back home and wish you best of Luck in future

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  • Saleem
    Aug 29, 2013 - 5:18AM

    Good Amen!

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  • Ali
    Aug 29, 2013 - 6:09AM

    Warm welcome back.
    Wish and pray this move brings peace in the Balochistan.

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  • Humayun
    Aug 29, 2013 - 6:12AM

    Welcome back Sardar sb. I appreciate and respect your stance

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  • Ali
    Aug 29, 2013 - 6:12AM

    Warm welcome back. Wish and pray this move brings peace and prosperity in the region.

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  • M. Emad
    Aug 29, 2013 - 8:42AM

    Sheikh Mujib ur Rahman was not allowed in Parliament in the ’60s.

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  • Qamber
    Aug 29, 2013 - 9:22AM

    Welcome Back Akther Mangal good decision… People of Pakistan with you on the issue of rights of Balouchistan by heart and soul …

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  • Muhammad
    Aug 29, 2013 - 9:40AM

    Lots of love and respect for my favourite politician from Balochostan. Welcome back Sir, we missed you in active politics. Best wishes for a prosperous future. Take care.
    Wasalam.

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  • Pradhan
    Aug 29, 2013 - 9:59AM

    My comment was not published so let me just say, Mr Akhtar Mengal is day dreaming.

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  • KZ
    Aug 29, 2013 - 10:38AM

    Something that Nawaz Sharif has done right. Politics of inclusion was something Pakistan did not do in 60s and 70s in Bangladesh

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  • Shabir
    Aug 29, 2013 - 11:27AM

    He is a great leader and a patriotic Pakistani. I solute him.

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  • Ghulam
    Aug 29, 2013 - 4:40PM

    He demanded all agreements signed between Pakistan and China regarding the Gwadar port be presented before the Balochistan Assembly.

    Make that demand to the CM. He was there at the time of signing of agreements.

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  • xulfjan
    Aug 29, 2013 - 7:32PM

    What’s wrong with his 6 points agenda? This should have been the agenda of any sincere federal government. When would the politics of divide and rule will come to an end??

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  • a Punjabi
    Aug 29, 2013 - 10:28PM

    I like u, man. but all sardars need to share part of royalty with poor balochs

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  • Ali Baloch
    Sep 4, 2013 - 4:34AM

    @a Punjabi:
    what royalty????? Pakistan’s govt owes Balochitan 5700 billion Rs in back royalties from Sui alone! and I haven’t even touched the royalties from marble, copper, gypsum, chromite, coal, uranium, cement, precious stones, silver, gold, oil, fish exports, fruit and livestock exports, afghan transit trade ask your federal govt to first give us an account of what happened to our 117 trillion rs and then we’ll discuss the roles of sardars.

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  • SHB
    Sep 4, 2013 - 6:00AM

    I generally support Mr Mengal.
    According to the news he is going to have election in his party. This is a sign of political maturity.
    Looks like when he was living overseas in Europe , he must have learnt these good things over there.
    In USA, political parties have their own elections and have more than one candidate to get the approval of their own members. Then these candidates will contest election for the given seat.
    Chief of the each party keeps on changing every four to eight yrs.
    no body can lead the party for 15 or 20 yrs as we have seen in Pakistan.
    For example, Mr Obama was no body ten or twelve yrs ago. He was just a senetor.

    So I hope when political parties will have their own elections regularly, it will give more chance to common members to move up the ladder and they could lead their party.

    By the way I am not a political science teacher. I am just a common man and observant. I wish all the good things to both common man and sardars.
    We have to learn good things from any place or system. GOD help those who help themselves.

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