News Analysis :by Siddiq Baluch
KARACHI: When Sardar Akhtar Mengal appeared before the Supreme Court and explained his views on the recent developments in Balochistan, some hopes were raised among the people that the Supreme Court will provide minimum relief to the people of Balochistan seeking an end to the Baloch conflict with the State of Pakistan.
Sardar Akhtar Mengal specifically mentioned his demands— including withdrawal of all combat units of security forces and it deployment on the peace time position, an end to fighting, release of all political dentenus in shape of missing persons, action against those involved in target killing, illegal arrest, wrongful confinement, custodial killing and an end of role of security agencies in Balochistan conceding the supremacy of the civilians on all issues.
It was a bold decision on the part of Sardar Akhtar Mengal to return to Pakistan, though for a very brief period, ending his self exile. It was risky as extremists could have made fresh attempts on his life. Three serious attempts were made on his life by the Musharraf Government and he survived those attacks forcing him to go into self exile.
Musharraf regime chased and assassinated Nawab Akbar Bugti by design. There is no doubt about it that it was a planned murder. The troops raided his residence with precision bombing and shelling leaving more than 70 people, including women and children, dead on March 17, 2006. Nawab Bugti survived in the first attempt which was very serious one.
In the second major onslaught, Nawab Bugti’s residence was razed to the ground. Thousands of birds and domesticated animals gifted to him by dignitaries of the world were found missing. Nawab Bugti got the information ahead of the army action and left his residence before it came under attack. Fascist Musharraf is still cursing Chaudhary Shujat for the delay in attacking the residence of Nawab Bugti providing Nawab Bugti a chance to take to hills along with his grandsons and trusted tribesmen.
The trouble started when the local residents protested against the criminal assault on a young lady doctor in the maximum security residence of the lady in Sui Colony. The trouble spread and it engulfed the whole of Balochistan following the assassination of Nawab Bugti in one of the military actions.
During the prolonged hearings, expectations were raised to a reasonable level that the Supreme Court will find some solutions compelling the Government and its State functionaries to submit to rule of law and supremacy of the constitution and stop violating the Constitution of Pakistan at will.
These hopes were dashed ultimately as the Supreme Court verdict falls short of real or minimum expectations of the people in general, leaving asides the political opponents and major political parties that were expected return to normalcy with the intervention of the Supreme Court. If the court can send home the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan on an insignificant issue, then the expectations were legitimate that peace and normalcy will return to Balochistan once law breakers are censured.
It is hard to believe that the CID officials will ever dare to defy the powerful state functionaries as they refused to submit before the Supreme Court and it failed to implement its own orders. Thus the verdict to hand over the investigation of missing persons and mutilated bodies thrown in the open place will be totally irrelevant in the context of the present political situation in Balochistan or elsewhere in the country.
The verdict did confirm the involvement of security agencies in the Balochistan trouble and the court suggested no remedy to stop the security agencies from violating the laws and the Constitution of Pakistan. In a way, their actions are condoned.
However, the order is categorical that the civil administration should be restored and revived in Dera Bugti allowing the internally displaced persons to return to their homes with honour and dignity. The court asked the Government to intensify efforts for immediate rehabilitation of the internally displaced Bugti and Marri tribesmen who were dislodged following military actions in their respective tribal territories.
For security and safety of the common people, a ban on Kabuli or smuggled vehicles is a welcome move as the terrorists are using those cheap vehicles in planting car bombs in various parts of Pakistan, including Balochistan. The owners should be asked to pay full taxes and duties before using the Kabuli or smuggled vehicles. They should be registered properly having complete data of the owners with the Government and its agencies.
The Verdict censured the officials of MI for issuing Rahdari to smuggled vehicles in thousands and carry weapons and the court made it a punishable offence if anyone violates the orders of the Supreme Court in future.
There is a need for a long term solutions to the Balochistan problems and there should be an end to the cases of enforced disappearance, illegal arrests, detention and custodial killing by punishing those who were involved in the past incidents.
Withdrawal of combat units of the security forces back to peacetime position will go a long way in restoring the confidence of the common people in participating in State’s affairs, mainly the upcoming elections.
In the present circumstances, there are no chances that the people will come out of their homes and participate in the general elections in large numbers. Candidates bagging a few hundred votes of their extended families will be declared elected thus making the whole society disenfranchised and democratic right of vote is insulted in the proposed sham elections.
Holding of sham elections or denial of democratic right of franchise to the Baloch people will question the legitimacy of the elections the world over as many important countries of the world and the United Nations is keeping a close watch on the recent developments in Balochistan.
Hopefully, there will be no fresh flare up of fighting as the Central Government is no mood to end the fighting. Rather, there are indications that the fighting will intensify in near future as no relief is offered to the people of the conflict zone.
News Analysis :by Siddiq Baluch