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Published Date: Jul 8, 2013

SDPI Press Release (July 8, 2013)

Speaking at the launch of book on Balochistan, Sardar Akhtar Mengal
has said that only way forward for peace in Balochistan is the acceptance of
six point demands of Baloch people. Only then Baloch people can trust federation
and come to negotiating table, he added.

He was
speaking at the launch of book organised by Sustainable Development Policy
Institute (SDPI) here on Monday. The book titled “Balochistan: Azadi Sai Subai
Bai-Ikhtiari Tak” was written by eminent writer and senior advisor SDPI, Ahmad
Salim who has been conferred with Presidential Pride of Performance by
Government of Pakistan and Bangladesh Freedom Award for his excellent
contributions in the field of literature and human rights.

The book is
a complete political history of Balochistan, with analysis, copies of rare
documents and compilation of events that shaped the Baloch history from
independence of Pakistan to the recent events till February 2013. The event
also featured a panel discussion on “Peace in Balochistan & the Role of

Speaking at
the occasion, Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Chief, Balochistan National Party (BNP) and
Former Chief Minister, Balochistan appreciated the book which according to him
has truly documented the history of Balochistan. He was of the view that
Balochistan was repeatedly invaded not only by military dictators but civilian
democratic governments as well. Sardar Akhtar Mengal urged the need to change biased
‘thought process’ against Balochistan particularly in Punjab, which is bent
over capturing resources and oppressing the dissenting voices. He also demanded
that Baloch people must be given real power to use their land and resources.

He was of
the view that instead of addressing root cause of Balochistan problem, government
is suggesting fancy projects for Balochistan to pacify people. He explained
that operation is still in progress in parts of Balochistan and according to
human rights report, in last 25 days of current government, 65 persons have
gone missing while 13 mutilated bodies have been recovered. Abducting people
and mutilating bodies, while calling for negotiation would not work anymore, he
added.   He said that Baloch people can only think to sitting
at the negotiating table if their demands, as mentioned in six points, are accepted.

He presented
the six point’s demand of Baloch people, which according to him are under the constitution
and essential to bring peace in Balochistan. He demanded that all military
operations against the Baloch should immediately be suspended. He asked to
produce all missing persons before a court of law. He condemned the killing of
Baloch people and demanded to prosecute the persons responsible for inhuman
torture, killing and dumping of dead bodies of the Baloch political leaders and
activists. Sardar Akhtar Mengal also demanded to disband proxy death squads
operating under the supervision of establishment in the province. He also called
for giving complete freedom to political parties and rehabilitate thousands of
displaced Baloch living in appalling condition.

Akhtar Mengal criticised the recent election process in Pakistan and said that “It
is unfortunate that even today, democracy in Pakistan is at behest of establishment.”
“Elections in Balochistan were not
transparent and we experienced widespread interference, threats and rigging
where the results were withheld from 3 to 18 days without any reason,” he
added. However, Sardar Akhtar Mengal showed his commitment to remain part of
democratic process despite all injustice. It is now up to federation to demonstrate
serious attitude otherwise it’s already too late to win over Baloch people.

Speaking at
the occasion, Ahmad Salim author of the book and senior advisor SDPI narrated
brief history of federating units in Pakistan and said that unfortunately federation
in Pakistan has a week grounding when some federating units at the time of independence
had forced annexation including Qalat.  Also the democratically elected provincial government
in a smaller federating unit NWFP was toppled only after 7 days of independence
on 22 August 1947. He said that dominance of Punjab over affairs of the country
was established since then and continued till now which has weakened the
federation in Pakistan. He was of the view that there is no doubt that
resources of smaller provinces were misappropriated and time has come that
Punjab play its positive role in addressing the concerns of Baloch brother and
bring peace in the province.

Achakzai, Spokesperson, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F) said
that Balochistan has been treated unfairly by the federal government and now
the only way forward is through political realisation of actual problem especially
at center. He argued that administrative and tactical action at provincial
level may help a little but the real solution lies in ending state of denial
and resorting to political coherence in Islamabad.

I.A. Rehman,
Secretary General, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said that ironically,
Balochistan and KPK have to face injustice from the very and federation showed
a very irresponsible and insensitive behavior. He said that now a political
solution is required and the new government must be very careful in selecting
ministers who have the trust of Baloch people.

Political and Defence Analyst, Lt. Gen (Retd) Talat Masood, said
that unfortunately till now, military was used by federation to counter insurgency,
sectarian differences, political, social and economic problems in Balochistan instead
of a political discourse. He said that geostrategic location and natural
resources of Balochistan are a blessing and the only way to utilise these
resources would be through bringing peace in Balochistan .

Earlier, in his welcome remarks, Dr.
Abid Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI said that Pakistani federation had failed
to treat all unit with equity which has aggravated situation especially in
Balochistan. He however showed satisfaction over the fact that BNP Mengall
despite having serious reservation over 11 May elections is taking part in
political process. He added that Balochistan has the worst situation in human
development and added that sustainable peace not possible unless traditional
paradigm of state security is reversed in favor of individual security particularly
in Balochistan.