Who will net Bugti’s killers?
August 26, 2011
The ground realities in the insurgency-plagued Balochistan don’t match the traditional official claims of winning back the dissident Baloch leaders for establishment of durable peace in the province. Balochistan continues to be in the grip of violence and the hope that peace will soon prevail in this troubled province remains elusive. Aug 26, 2006 was Balochistan’s 9/11 when its former governor and elected chief minister Nawab Mohammad Akbar Khan Bugti was assassinated by the then military dictator General Pervez Musharraf.
Aug 26, 2006 was Balochistan’s 9/11 when its former governor and elected chief minister Nawab Mohammad Akbar Khan Bugti was assassinated by the then military dictator General Pervez Musharraf. Bugti’s high-profile political assassination was condemned not only nationally, but also internationally. The ruling PPP government had declared his killing as a national tragedy, with its coalition govt in Balochistan presenting a joint resolution in parliament demanding that the killers of Bugti should be brought to justice. The government announced constitution of judicial commissions to probe the high-profile murder but these statements proved a lollipop. Similar to the previous anniversaries, political parties across Balochistan would observe this day as a black day. They have given call for a complete shutter-down and wheel- jam strike to condemn Bugti’s assassination. August 26 is one such day on which all people of Balochistan, irrespective of their ethnic affiliations and conflicting political views, mourned collectively. Every citizen of the country’s poorest province recalls the arrogant assault on an old ailing man who fought for the democratic rights of the people of Balochistan
Similar to the previous anniversaries, political parties across Balochistan would observe this day as a black day. They have given call for a complete shutter-down and wheel- jam strike to condemn Bugti’s assassination. August 26 is one such day on which all people of Balochistan, irrespective of their ethnic affiliations and conflicting political views, mourned collectively. Every citizen of the country’s poorest province recalls the arrogant assault on an old ailing man who fought for the democratic rights of the people of Balochistan.
Bugti’s high-profile political assassination was condemned not only nationally, but also internationally. The ruling PPP government had declared his killing as a national tragedy, with its coalition govt in Balochistan presenting a joint resolution in parliament demanding that the killers of Bugti should be brought to justice. The government announced constitution of judicial commissions to probe the high-profile murder but these statements proved a lollipop.
Bugti’s son Nawabzada Jamil Bugti filed a plea with the Balochistan High Court in 2009 for registration of an FIR of his father’s killing. The court ordered registration of a murder case against Musharraf, former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, former governor Awais Ghani, former interior minister Aftab Ahmad Sherpao, former chief minister Balochistan Jam Muhammad Yusuf, Balochistan Home Minister Shoaib Nosherwani and others. The trial is still under process and important disclosures continue to surface.
On August 11, Chief Justice Balochistan High Court (BHC) Qazi Faez Isa expressed his dissatisfaction with the performance of the Crime Branch and gave it seven days to take action against Musharraf. Deputy attorney general informed the court that a letter had been written to the federal government for the arrest of the accused. Director Crime Branch said the chief secretary had stopped the recording of the statement of former Balochistan chief minister Jam Yousaf and former interior minister Shuaib Nowsherwani. The chief secretary directed the director Crime Branch to work without any pressure. The hearing of the case was adjourned to August 17.
On Aug 17, the Interior Ministry said it could not extradite former president Pervez Musharraf. Deputy Attorney General Malik Sikandar informed the court about the Interior Ministry’s response. Sikandar told the two-member bench headed by Chief Justice Qazi Essa that there were five conditions rendering the extradition impossible. He did not elaborate on what the conditions were. The bench expressed its anger at what it called “lack of seriousness” on the government’s part and asked the deputy attorney general to quit his office if he was unable to perform his duties.
The federal government had earlier sought more time from the court to prepare a response on the Musharaf’s extradition. Sikandar said that more time was required to complete the letter that the provincial government was supposed to prepare for the extradition of the accused. “The federal government is committed to ensuring the implementation of all decisions in the Akbar Bugti murder case,” he said.
In his remarks, Qazi Muhammad Faiz Essa said if the attorney general was helpless to follow the orders of the court then he should resign. He said if dacoits could be brought back from Dubai, then Musharraf could not be brought back. The court asked why the federal government had not written letters to the foreign countries for the handover of Musharraf. He said if the federal government was not willing to follow the instructions of the court then it should inform the court so that it chose another way. The DAG presented a letter of the federal government before the court which was written by a section office. The letter demanded an English copy of the FIR and asked how much punishment would be expected under Article 302. The chief justice remarked that the court had ordered the interior secretary and it was his responsibility to submit the reply. He said if the government was not cooperating with the court then the court would summon the attorney general and interior secretary.
Talking to a private TV channel after attending the hearing, Nawabzada Jamil Bugti said that the government was not sincere in arresting the accused. “We are consulting with lawyers about a security forces’ raid on our houses for arms; we would contact the courts over the illegal search of our houses.”
On August 13, security forces raided the house of Baloch leader and former chief minister of Balochistan Mir Humayun Marri and seized heavy arms and ammunition from his house. According to security personnel, on a tip off, the security forces raided the house but Mir Humayun Marri managed to flee from the scene and a huge quantity of arms and ammunition was seized from the house. A security forces official said that weapons including 133 bombs, five detonators, dozens of hand grenades and over 4,000 bullets were recovered from the house when the security personnel searched the entire house.
“The FC men and personnel of other law-enforcement agencies have cordoned off my house since 7pm and they are present around my house,” Marri told media by telephone. “They entered my house without search warrants,” he said, adding that it was a violation of the sanctity of chaddar and chardewari. “Two days ago, they (security personnel) staged a drama of recovering illegal weapons from my residence and also raided the house of Nawabzada Jamil Akbar Bugti,” Marri said. The former CM said through such raids the government wanted to harass and pressure him not to raise his voice against the atrocities and injustices being committed by the security forces against Baloch people. However, he said such tactics could not force him and Jamil Bugti to surrender to the government.
Nawabzada Jamil Bugti, son of the late Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, also accused security forces of raiding his house. He said security forces raided the house at 8:00am when armored vehicles smashed the main gate of the house, lined up the house servants and searched the house. He said security forces also raided the house of son-in-law and ex-chief minister of Balochistan Mir Humayun Marri. He said through such raids the security forces wanted to convey him a message to withdraw the case against the killers of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. He claimed that director of the Crimes Branch had informed the court that the chief secretary had told them not to arrest the people nominated in the Bugti`s murder case.
Member Balochistan Assembly Sheikh Jaffar Mandokel speaking on the floor of assembly dubbed the incident a bad decision of the government and said the reason for the raid was that the government herself wanted everyone to pick up a gun. It is an attempt to further deteriorate the situation on purpose, he said. The counsel for Akbar, Bugti Hadi Shakeel and Sohail Ahmed Rajput, said that the raid was an attempt to harass their client, which was illegal.
President Asif Ali Zardari in a high level meeting had authorized the Balochistan government to start dialogue with all dissident Baloch leaders and political parties. Acting President Balochistan National Party Dr Jahenzeb Jamaldini said that after Aghaz-e-Haqooq package the people had lost all faith in the government. “Three years back, the prime minister said it on the floor of the National Assembly that all missing persons would reach their homes before Eid but their mutilated bodies reached the grave yard,” he added.
Speaking on a point of order, provincial minister and ANP leader Engineer Zamarak Khan expressed his serious concern over the killing of innocent people in Karachi. “A specific ethnic group is spreading terror for the sake of establishing its monopoly in Karachi and it is also behind all the killings in the city. We have received several dead bodies of the Pashtoons and the Baloch who had gone to Karachi to earn their livelihood but they were killed by culprits belonging to that party,” he said. The ANP leader warned if the killing of innocent people in Karachi was not stopped, violence would engulf the entire country. He suggested that Karachi should be given under the control of army and a complete operation should be carried out in the city so that it could be freed from weapons and criminals.
PML-Q Sheikh Jaffar Khan Mandokhail supported the point of ANP leader and said Baloch were the real dwellers of Karachi and later the people belonging to other nationalities including Pashtoons came and settled there. However, he said a specific group was trying to force other nationalities to quit Karachi and it was also involved in the killing of innocent people. He said if responsible people were not punished they would not hesitate to announce their independence in Karachi. Mandokhail said Karachi should be handed over to army and an impartial operation was inevitable there for bringing peace.
Provincial minister and Balochistan National Party (Awami) leader Syed Ehsan Shah said that the Baloch people had founded Karachi but unfortunately Baloch areas, including Liyari, remained backward. He said those who came later and living there for the last 40 to 50 years dominated every sector. He said Pashtoons left for Karachi for labour and tried to establish their business but their bodies were being sent back home. Provincial Minister and leader of JUI-F Maulana Abdul Wasay said PPP, MQM and ANP were responsible for the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi. He said both Baloch and Pashtoon workers were being killed but ANP never exerted pressure on the PPP government to take concrete steps to stop the killing of Pashtoons in Karachi.
Other members Shahnawaz Marri, Captain (retired) Abdul Khaliq Achakzai and Abdul Rehman Mengal said it was a very serious issue and the Sindh government should take notice of the killing of innocent people in Karachi. They said it was a political issue and should be resolved politically instead of demanding the deployment of army.
After the debate, a consensus was developed for constituting a good will parliamentary committee headed by Senior Minister Maulana Abdul Waseh for talks with the Sindh government to ensure the safety of people of Balochistan in Karachi.