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Dawn

Published Date: Jul 9, 2013

Accepting Baloch rights the only way to peace, says Mengal

From January to May 2013, nearly 84 people disappeared and 79
disfigured dead bodies were recovered from different parts of
Balochistan.

The only way to establish the trust of the Baloch people on the federation and ensure peace is the acceptance of their rights.

This was stated by former chief minister of Balochistan and the
president of the Balochistan National Party (BNP) Sardar Akhtar Mengal
during a seminar titled ‘Peace in Balochistan and the role of
federation’, which was organised by the Sustainable Development Policy
Institute (SDPI) at a local hotel on Monday.

Furthermore, a book ‘Balochistan, Azadi Say Subai Bay Ikhtiari Tak’,
authored by SDPI’s senior advisor Ahmed Salim, was also launched during
the seminar.

Ahmad Salim has been conferred upon with a Presidential Pride of
Performance by the government of Pakistan and a Bangladesh Freedom Award
for his contributions in literature and human rights.

Sardar Mengal said the security establishment had never allowed
political governments to take decisions regarding Kashmir, Afghanistan,
Foreign Policy and Balochistan.

"Residents of Balochistan were secular at the time of independence
and till the 80s I did not even know that the Hazaras were Shias. But
today, Hazaras are being killed by some elements who are not Baloch.

This needs to be investigated so that it is determined who wants to shift the Hazaras from the place and why," he said.

Mr Mengal said despite five military operations in Balochistan, the
popularity of nationalist parties could not be affected. Therefore,
during the recent elections, some elements had tried to manipulate the
results which in his case were not announced for 18 days.

He said that the Baloch people did not want the resources of the province but only the right to live on their own land.

However, instead of addressing the root cause of the Balochistan
problem, the government was suggesting fancy projects to pacify the
people.

Sardar Mengal said operations were still in progress in Balochistan and in the past 25 days, 65 people had gone missing.

"Unfortunately, in Pakistan those who raise voice for their rights
are declared miscreants and those who violate the law and takeover the
government are declared leaders and heroes. We have to change this mind
set," he said.

Regarding the book, he said usually authors came from abroad,
launched their book in Islamabad, and returned, but Ahmed Saleem worked
in Balochistan and unveiled the injustice in the province.

He said the book truly documented the history of Balochistan.

The book provides the political history of Balochistan, with
analysis, copies of rare documents and compilation of events that shaped
the Baloch history.