Nawaz wins Baloch leader with poll pledge

ISLAMABAD – Supporting Balochistan National Party (BNP) President Sardar Akhtar Mengal’s six-point charter, PML-N President Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Friday assured the estranged Baloch leader that his party would not field candidates against BNP candidates in the general elections.Nawaz gave this assurance to the BNP chief during an important meeting between the two held here at Balochistan House, PML-N sources said, adding that Nawaz Sharif fully supported six-point charter presented by Akhtar Mengal to bring back people of Balochistan into mainstream national politics.Mengal has also warned the rulers that his six-point charter should be taken as the charter put forth by Bengali nationalist movement Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman prior to Bangladesh’s separation from Pakistan. On the meeting between Mengal and Nawaz, sources, both sides discussed overall political situation in the country with special reference to situation in Balochistan , forthcoming general elections and the caretaker set-up.Later, addressing a joint press conference, the PML-N President referred to the fall of Dhaka and said it was a high time that “we rectify ourselves”, adding that the matters of Balochistan should be taken up seriously.Nawaz apprised the Baloch leaders of the PML-N’s recommendations on the Baloch issue.The BNP chief presented Nawaz Sharif with his six points for the resolution of the Balochistan issue. Earlier, on Thursday Mengal had submitted the six-points at the Supreme Court’s hearing on the Balochistan law and order case.Nawaz Sharif said the entire nation should sit together and deliberate on those circumstances, which pushed the Baloch people away from the rest of the country. Measures should be taken to redress their deprivations before it becomes too late, he added.He said if the charter of democracy had been implemented, then the situation in Balochistan would not have turned this bad. Nawaz said that in 1971, East Pakistan separated from us as the voices of the public were not heard. He warned against a repeat of the history. If this continues to happen, he himself is thinking of becoming a rebel, he said.Nawaz Sharif said that the murder of Akbar Bugti was one of the blackest days in the history of the country. “The Baloch leadership is passing through difficult times,” he added. Sardar Akhtar Mengal said law and Constitution had not been implemented in Balochistan and the control of Balochistan has been handed over to agencies. He said that the genuine Baloch leadership should be given priority over the hand-picked leadership. Mengal said that the sensitivity of the situation would have to be considered and that none of the six-points presented were against the Constitution or law.He emphasised that his six-points should not be considered any different from the six-points presented by leader of the Bengali nationalist movement Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman prior to Bangladesh’s separation from Pakistan.Mengal said that if steps were not taken to implement the six-point charter then the people of Balochistan would not be able to continue with Pakistan.He said he finally spoke his mind in the Supreme Court on Thursday after having remained silent during three years of self-imposed exile. Mengal described enforced disappearances as the real cause of the current unrest in Balochistan.“Why should not we divorce peacefully rather than seeking a bloody divorce if the rulers have decided to keep on giving us mutilated bodies,” Sardar Mengal told a three-judge bench with Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in the chair.The estranged Baloch leader had especially come from London to apprise people of the issues responsible for the breakdown of law and order in the restive province.Sardar Mengal recorded a brief, but to the point statement before the Supreme Court bench in which he pointed fingers straight at the rulers and senior military leaders for the overall economic downturn of the country in general and Balochistan in particular.The six-points charter he presented in the Supreme Court by Akhtar Mengal on Thursday, calls for immediate end of all covert and overt military operations against Baloch people, all missing persons should be procured before a court of law; all proxy death squads operating in a manner like Al Shams and Al Badar operated (in Bangladesh) allegedly under the supervision of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) should be disbanded; Baloch political parties should be allowed to function and resume their political activities without any interference from intelligence agencies; persons responsible for inhuman torture, killing and dumping of bodies of Baloch political leaders and activists should be brought to justice; and measures should be initiated for rehabilitation of thousands of displaced Baloch living in appalling condition.