The Balochistan government has stepped up informal efforts to reach out to an estranged Baloch leader living in self-exile. A delegation comprising two influential tribal chieftains will soon leave for London to hold an ‘exploratory meeting’ with Khan of Kalat Prince Agha Mir Suleman Dawood, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Prince Suleman, the 35th leader of the defunct Kalat royal family and the grandson of Beglar Begi Mir Ahmed Yar Khan, has been living in self-exile in London since the killing of Jamhoori Wattan Party chief Nawab Akbar Bugti in a military operation in 2006.
Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, chief of Jhalawan and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s president in Balochistan, and Nawab Shahwani, chief of Barick in Sarawan and National Party’s senior leader, will soon leave for London. “We will leave for London in coming weeks to meet the Khan of Kalat,” Nawab Shahwani confirmed to The Express Tribune. The two chieftains have considerable influence in central Balochistan after Prince Dawood.
“Prince Dawood has agreed to meet the delegation in London,” Nawab Shahwani said. “We haven’t discussed anything beforehand. I look forward to this meeting as the first step [to bringing the estranged Baloch leader back to Pakistan.”
Nawab Shahwani is optimistic that they will persuade Prince Dawood to return to Pakistan. “The Khan of Kalat is our elder. And I think it is high time he returned to his ancestral town and take over the tribal affairs,” Nawab Shahwani said.
Nawab Zehri has also confirmed on several occasions that he has been in contact with Prince Dawood and will soon meet him in London.
“The meeting has neither a specific agenda nor any preconditions as both the tribal chieftains — Nawab Zehri and Nawab Shahwani – are going to meet the Khan of Kalat in their capacity as tribal elders,” a senior official close to the two Nawabs told The Express Tribune.
According to Nawab Shahwani, it will be an exploratory meeting. “We will discuss in detail what the Khan of Kalat has to say,” he said.
Balochistan has been wrecked by a bloody insurgency since 2004 which became bloodier since the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2006. Some Baloch leaders living in self-exile, Hyrbyair Marri and Brahamdagh Bugti, have been blamed for fuelling the insurgency from abroad.
However, Prince Dawood is the only Baloch leader who has not been involved in insurgency. “He is a symbolic figure and his return [to Pakistan] would be a great achievement,” a senior official of the Balochistan government said on the condition of anonymity. “Though, the return of Prince Dawood will not affect the insurgency but he is a symbolic figure and his return will definitely send out a very positive message,” he added.
A close relative, however, said that Prince Dawood was not interested in returning to Pakistan. “He might set some preconditions [for his return to Pakistan],” he told The Express Tribune requesting anonymity.
Prince Dawood, who has been living in self-exile in London since 2006, has formed a government in exile. He also plans to approach the International Court of Justice against the Khan of Kalat Mir Ahmed Yar Khan’s decision of ceding the princely state of Kalat to Pakistan at the request of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1948.
In its efforts to stamp out the bloody insurgency in Balochistan, the provincial government has recently announced an amnesty scheme and handsome monetary benefits for the militants who are willing to renounce violence and join the mainstream.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2015.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ