Friday, February 11, 2005

Leghari, Mazari tribes bury the hatchet: Major political move

Leghari, Mazari tribes bury the hatchet: Major political move

By Nadeem Saeed

MULTAN, Feb 10: In a far-reaching political development in the districts of Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur, the arch-rival Leghari and Mazari tribal chiefs have joined hands to support each other on the local front irrespective of their party affiliations.

The alliance of both local and national political giants was formally announced at a big public gathering organized at Rojhan, the headquarters of the Mazari tribe chiefs in Rajanpur.

Leghari tribe chief Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan and Mazari tribe chief and former caretaker prime minister Mir Balakh Sher Mazari were there to attend the ceremony held at outhouse of former MPA Farhat Aziz Mazari.

Sardar Leghari, a former president, said on the occasion there had been political rivalries in the past among the Baloch tribes of Dera and Rajanpur but none had used the police force to denigrate the opponents because civility and tolerance were once the hallmark of area politics.

However in the recent times, he said, the unwritten code of ethics among the (Baloch) politicians of the area had been violated especially in the Rajanpur district and consequently, the police had started exercising unbridled authority. He said the Leghari-Mazari alliance would bring back decency in the area politics.

Dera Ghazi Khan District Nazim Jamal Leghari, Rajanpur District Nazim Hafeezur Rehman Dreshak and MPAs Amanullah Dreshak and Ghizali Raheem Pitafi were said to be prominent in the gathering, besides notables of both the tribes.

In the last general elections of 2002, the Legharis were aligned with the Dreshaks in Rajanpur against Mazaris and Gorchanis. The Leghari-Dreshak alliance had won all the national and provincial assembly seats in the district. But later the Dreshak chief parted ways with the Legharis and carved a niche for himself in the post-election scene when his old friends - the Chaudhrys of Gujrat and the Jamalis of Dera Murad Jamali - were assigned key roles by the power brokers in the country.

Sardar Nasrullah Dreshak bagged the finance ministry portfolio in the Punjab government for his son, Hasnain Bahadur Dreshak, deputy speakership for ally Shaukat Mazari and for himself the slot of chief whip after the demise of Abdul Sattar Laleka.

Since then there had been rumours that the Leghari-Mazari alliance was in the making. The Mazari chiefs perhaps saw the worst time under the present political set up in their political history. First, they entered into a bloody feud with the neighbouring Bugti tribe and then the Mazaris, including Riaz Mazari, the son of Mir Balakh Sher Mazari, were implicated in criminal cases ranging from murder to kidnapping.

The Legharis and their allies Hafeezur Rehman Dreshak and Amanullah Dreshak have strong presence in the politics of Rajanpur district and, perhaps, owing to this factor Sardar Nasrullah Dreshak had to make an alliance with the Legharis in the general elections of 1997 after being beaten in the previous two elections of 1990 and 1993.

Political analysts say the situation in the next general election will be interesting, as both the Legharis and the Dreshaks would be pitched against each other despite being in the same party - the official Muslim League - while the Legharis will also have to support the Mazaris currently evaluating the political pros and cons if they may join the PPP.

Baloch insurgency

The Balochis are up in arms, and the flames of the fire are spreading as far afield as Punjab and Sindh. The militants are damaging all means of communication and all utilities. They are attacking electricity pylons, Sui gas pipelines, and railway lines. More recently they have started blowing up telephone lines, so that tens of thousands of telephones are disconnected from the world at large.
The miscreants fired rockets on a telephone repeater station and tower near Nushki, as a result of which communications to eight large cities of Balochistan have been cut. It is quite possible the militants are being incited, nay even trained, by the Indians or even the Americans. However, one thing is difficult to understand. Every Baloch leader has said this issue will not end until the main accused in the gangrape case at Sui is arrested and tried. What is then preventing the authorities from doing this, which is something they should have done on day one in any case? To protect one accused, peace in the entire country has been laid on the line.
It has always been said that Balochistan is not East Pakistan, which was separated from the western wing by over a thousand miles that East Pakistan was difficult to defend militarily, and that India took advantage of that fact. However, now that the insurgency is in Balochistan, why have the security personnel not been able to contain it promptly? Why are attacks on means of communication, as well as gas and electricity, continuing unabated, in fact increasing in frequency and severity?
Not only is the leader of the ruling party Chaudhary Shujaat saying that the Balochistan problem should be solved by negotiation, every politician, every newspaper, every commentator on every TV channel is saying the same thing. Yet the one thing that all are agreed should be done by the government to start the process of negotiation with the Balochis, namely the arrest of the main accused in the gangrape case, is not taking place. The question is: if the whole nation is united on this issue, that the person should be hauled up and tried in an open court, what is holding up the process?
In 1971 there was martial law in the country, with complete censorship of the press; this piece could not have been written then. This was one very important reason for the break-up of the country, that no one could influence the course of events ever so slightly. This time there is a good deal of freedom to write. And yet the result is the same: nil. This is even more difficult to understand than in 1971.
And another thing: on previous occasions whenever, in connection with the solution of any national issue, it was proposed by anyone that if necessary, even the Constitution may be changed to solve the problem, the unanimous reaction all over the country used to be: No, the Constitution should not be tampered with. This time this also is not the case. It has been said both by Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain and also by other important political figures and commentators that if the solution of the present Balochistan imbroglio demands even amendment of the Constitution in order to increase the quantum of provincial autonomy, it should be done unhesitatingly, so that the provinces can be at peace with the centre, and the country can move on the path of progress and prosperity.
You see, the Concurrent List of subjects, i.e. those subjects which were in the purview of both the centre and the provinces, was to be abolished over a period of time and the subjects were to be handed over to the provinces. However, this was not done. This was a grave injustice to the provinces. It should be done now, and we will be able to say: better late than never. If there is unanimity of opinion on this issue between the government and the opposition, we should take advantage of the situation. Interestingly, if the Constitution is amended to increase the political space for the provinces, and if this restores peace and harmony between the provinces and the centre, we will be able to close a chapter of unease between the two. In that cause the losses suffered by the country and the community during recent weeks will not have been in vain. Let us hope that even at this late hour better sense prevails all round.

Power to 22 Balochistan districts suspended

By Azizullah Khan

QUETTA: Power to 22 districts in Balochistan was suspended when a damaged electricity pylon in Damboli near Sibi collapsed on Thursday morning.

Electricity pylon No 271 in Damboli was damaged when unidentified people set off several bombs near a railway track and the pylon two days ago, Quetta Electricity Supply Company (QESCO) officials said. The pylon was damaged but did not collapse, they said, adding that the pylon collapsed due to heavy rain and wind at about 10:25am. QESCO officials were busy restoring power and had managed to restore power to some parts of Quetta through Habibullah Power Station at Loralai.

Electricity pylons damaged in attacks on January 29 had not been repaired yet. The four other districts including Makran, Lasbela, Nasirabad and Loralai were getting power from Iran, Karachi, Jacobabad and Dera Ghazi Khan respectively.

Meanwhile, police arrested six people from Khuzdar and Sibi on Thursday for alleged involvement in attacking national installations. Balochistan IG of Police Chaudhry Yaqub told Daily Times that more arrests were expected and that the suspects arrested from Khuzdar confessed to have fired rockets and detonated bombs in the province. He said their names were Wazir Muhammad, Ali Baig, Ayub and Ali Han Bugti.

A bomb also exploded on Thursday near a road checkpoint in Mach and three rockets landed near a paramilitary troop base in Kohlu in the latest attacks by suspected tribesmen. No one was hurt.

Balochistan issue will be settled in 10 days: Shujaat

LAHORE: Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, president of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML), said on Thursday that the troubles in Balochistan would be resolved within 10 days, Geo news channel reported. According to the report, Shujaat said he was in contact with all Baloch leaders including Nawab Akbar Bugti to resolve the issue politically. Asked to comment on Information Minister Shiekh Rashid’s statement about a possible PML-PPP alliance for the next elections, Shujaat said he didn’t know anything about it. daily times nonitor

Issue of nation-building and national integration’: Balochistan issue will claim many lives: Dr Syed

By Waqar Gillani

LAHORE: Balochistan cannot separate from Pakistan but the current situation, if not managed properly, could claim the lives of many people and damage the country’s integrity, said Dr Anwar Syed, a renowned Pakistani professor, intellectual and writer, on Thursday.

Dr Syed was delivering a lecture on ‘Issue of nation building and national integration’ arranged by the Quaid-e-Azam Political Science Society of the Government College University (GCU) Lahore in collaboration with the US Consulate and American Centre.

Replying to a student’s query about the Balochistan issue in light of East Bengal’s separation in 1971 and its impact on national integration, he said, “Balochistan is not as far from Islamabad or other provinces as East Bengal was” adding, “That is why it cannot be separated from Pakistan, however many people can be killed if the current situation prevailed.”

Dr Syed said, “During my recent visit to America, my host said that Baloch Sardars (feudal lords) were the enemy of their own people. They exploited the people of Balochistan and wanted them to remain uneducated.” He added that he had disagreed with his host since the Nawabs of Kala Bagh and other Chaudhries also extended the same treatment to their people.

Dr Syed said that the solution to the issue was to give the people of Balochistan benefits from the Gawadar land and
Coastal Highway
, which was mostly owned by Punjabis. “The government should take care of the Balochi peoples’ interests and promote them in such developmental projects.”

He said that provincial autonomy was another major issue. “It creates a sense of dominance for 64 percent of the Pakistani people (Punjabis) and a sense of deprivation for the rest. He said that the country’s provinces were not enjoying the same amount of autonomy as they did during the British rule. He said that a central government was destroying national integration. He said that Pakistan had an ambivalent society, unable to end feudalism as Nehru did in India.

Questioned about the national language’s role in national integration, Dr Syed said, “Unfortunately Urdu is not spoken in many areas of Pakistan, like some specific areas in NWFP.” He proposed that at least three languages be adopted at the national level.

“Urdu is the world’s only language which does not have a single verb of its own. All verbs are derived from other regional and international languages, including Persian and Arabic,” said Dr Syed. He stressed the need to promote the identity of other regional languages, saying, “We should accept the linguistic identity of other regional languages like Balochi and Pashto.”

Dr Syed said that people should be given a stake in their land. He said that people should refuse to follow feudal lords and protest their manipulated appeals of national integration.

Earlier, he said that people constituted a nation if they followed the same ideology in spite of their differences. “People are a nation if they think like one,” he said adding, “But the ground realities portray that we are not a nation.”

Senate committee accuses PPL of mishandling Sui rape case

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources on Thursday held the Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) responsible for mishandling and mismanaging the Sui gang rape case, while the opposition called the committee’s report “an eyewash”.

Senator Dilawar Abbas, committee chairman, presented the report. The committee had taken suo moto notice of the case and summoned senior PPL officials to hear their viewpoint. Senator Abbas told the Senate that the report’s scope was limited to taking the PPL’s version on the matter.

Senator Saadia Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said the report was inadequate because it did not mention the people accused of taking part in the gang rape, which included an army captain.

Senator Raza Rabbani, opposition leader, said the victim, a female doctor, and her family were being pressured to withdraw the case against the army officer. The opposition staged a token walkout in protest against the remarks of Senator Tariq Azeem. However, Muhammadmian Soomro, Senate chairman, expunged the remarks from the record.

Senator Sanaullah Baloch of the Balochistan National Party (BNP) demanded the immediate arrest of the accused army captain, saying the entire army and government machinery was busy saving the captain’s skin. The committee also recommended offering the female doctor a suitable posting or monetary compensation.

The report stated that the PPL management was incapable of handling the gang rape issue, as the incident was not taken seriously and no senior PPL official took direct charge of the situation.

The report said that the police was not told about the incident, which the company’s management should have done immediately. The victim, for no justifiable reason, was kept away from the police on grounds of her unstable condition, it added. The report also asked why the shifting of the female doctor from Sui to Karachi was delayed till January 5. It also said that there was no reason to take her to Kandkot first and then to Karachi. It said the steps were taken by the PPL management to avoid the police.

“The PPL management did not carry out any investigations on the scene, whereas every company has a system and procedures in place for internal administrative control. The committee has asked for the internal PPL inquiry report or memos from the date of the incident,” the report added. The committee expressed its surprised over the incident, as the Sui installations were a high security area. The report said that the Sui installations had the same security code as that of the Kahuta Research Laboratory. The report noted that a large number of security forces were present at the Sui installations at the time of the incident.

It stated that the standing committee’s members would visit Sui to ensure a safe working environment for all, particularly women working there. They would also assess the damage done to the installations during the recent terrorist attacks, the report added. The committee report asked the Petroleum and Natural Resources Ministry to be vigilant in dealing with such emergencies. It also said that the performance of government corporations should be closely monitored. staff report


Post a Comment

<< Home