KARACHI: Citing sources in Switzerland, a private local broadcaster said on Friday that a request by the self-exiled Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti for political asylum had been turned down by Swiss authorities, a claim which local sources did not corroborate.
Sources close to events relating to unrest in Balochistan confirmed that the leader of the banned Baloch Republican Army (BRA) had sought political asylum in Switzerland. However, they did not confirm its fate as yet.
The Geo News channel reported that Swiss immigration authorities had rejected his asylum application ‘citing the Pakistan government’s decision of declaring him a terrorist’.
It said Mr Bugti, however, had been given the right to file an appeal against the decision.
The report was not corroborated by local political experts with a keen interest in Baloch politics.
Mr Bugti left for Afghanistan shortly after his grandfather Nawab Akbar Bugti’s death in a military raid nine years ago to lead guerilla resistance.
While fleeing to Afghanistan, Brahamdagh Bugti had accused the Musharraf regime of trying to kill him as well. He won refuge in Afghanistan despite Pakistan’s request for his return and moved to Europe in 2010 along with his family.
He offered an olive branch in August last year when he announced for the first time his willingness to hold peace negotiations with the Pakistan government. Three months after his interview to the BBC, the then Balochistan chief minister, Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, and federal minister Abdul Qadir Baloch met him. He confirmed the meeting, but said in the same breath that the chief minister was powerless and those at the helm should meet him.
Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2016