More than a year later in August 2006, Nawab Bugti was killed in a military operation in a cave. His killing has not helped return normalcy in Pakistan’s largest province (area wise) which is full of natural resources. Pakistan is accusing India and foreign powers of fomenting trouble and even forced its inclusion in a joint statement after meeting of Indian and Pak prime ministers at Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Iftikhar Gilani talks to Nawab Bugti’s second son Talal Akbar Bugti.
Q: Who is responsible for deterioration of situation in Balochistan?
A: Main culprit is former president Pervez Musharraf and his supporters. They used army against Baloch population. They were involved in killing people and political leaders. They killed my aged father and leader Nawab Akbar Bugti in a cave. And we were neither allowed to see his face nor to perform his last rites. I directly charge Musharaff, Governor Balochistan,- Owais Ahmed Gani, former interior minister Aftab Ahmed Sherpao, chief minister Jam Mohammad Yusuf and few individuals in agencies. We will soon approach Supreme Court for justice.
Q: It is alleged that your movement in Balochistan weakens cause of Kashmir?
A: Both are unrelated. I hope Kashmiri population which is itself suffering understands our cause and sufferings.
Q: Present government has expressed regret and apologised for atrocities and has announced a Balochistan package?
A: We will not pardon anyone until killers of Akbar Bugti are roaming free. And till military operations end and missing persons are traced and brought back. Most youth of the Bugti tribe have taken refuge in mountains and in other countries. I was expecting present government to file a case against Musharraf, if not in Bugti case, but in Benazir case. But he was allowed to leave the country. Today Balochistan has become hub of drug trafficking, originating from Afghanistan. Unless government files cases and punishes killers of Akbar Bugti, Benazir Bhutto and innocents of Lal Masjid, Balochi anger will not go away.
Q: Pakistan government has been accusing India of meddling in Balochistan?
A: I have no idea. I have no proof of Indian involvement. But still I will say that more than 30,000 people from Balochistan affected in military operations have taken refuge in Afghanistan. These people are with NATO forces. I cannot say, if anyone of them will be used today or tomorrow against Pakistan.
Q: You have been repeatedly saying, Baloch people are being kidnapped and atrocities are heaped on you. What is the motive behind it?
A: Our crime is we want rights on our resources. We want to live a life of our own as per customs and rules of our tribal system. We want a provincial autonomy. If Irish population in the American state of Philadaphilia can live and keep their customs alive why Pakistan government is apprehensive of Balochs. We are fighting for our rights.
Q: We have seen news reports that Punjabi population is migrating from Balochistan as they are being selectively targeted?
A: Those who have started this campaign against Punjabis, are conspiring against Pakistan and Balochistan itself. We are not involved in these selective killings.
Q: We have been here for past one week and almost every day we have seen suicide bombers killing people. Even the rally of Jammat-e-Islami was targeted in Peshawar. Who are these people?
A: I don’t think any Muslim can think of killing innocents. Some particular powers are conspiring against us. They are sending suicide bombers and their numbers is now in thousands.
Q: Your father has used missiles against Pakistan rangers?
A: We cannot reciprocate bullets and missiles with flowers. They were targeting us.
Q: It is also alleged that you have pushed Kalpar tribe out of Balochistan?
A: They were being used against us. But those who have left are just few hundred.
Q: Are you in touch with Brahm Dag Bugti, who has openly challenged Pakistan government and has been allegedly responsible in kidnappings and killing?
A: I don’t have any direct contact. Probably he is in Afghanistan. I met him just once after Nawab Akbar Bugti’s death. He demands an independent Balochistan and he has support of some influential people in Afghanistan, who work under direct American influence. I can work to get him back to Pakistan, provided government gives sympathetic ear to our demands that include granting autonomy to the province, ending (military) operations, return of Baloch refugees, and gives us control of our resources. It is a give and take formula. We demand adequate royalty of our gas fields.