The Baloch nationalist party, BNP-M, espouses for greater autonomy for provinces via peaceful, democratic means.
Published July 17, 2018

Formed in: 1996

Balochistan National Party espouses for greater autonomy for provinces, especially Balochistan, via peaceful and democratic means.

Top BNP leaders

  • Akhtar Mengal
  • Ataullah Mengal
  • Jahanzeb Jamaldini
  • Sanaullah Baloch

Key concerns

  • Greater autonomy for Balochistan.
  • Recovery of missing persons and end to killings of Baloch activists.
  • Empowering Balochistan’s political parties.

2018 elections

BNP-M has fielded candidates from 14 NA seats — all 14 from Balochistan.

2013 elections

Despite BNP chief Akhtar Mengal's return from exile to contest the 2013 elections, the party was able to win only two seats — one Mengal’s own — in the Balochistan Assembly and one in the National Assembly. This led to the party initially rejecting the election results altogether, claiming widespread rigging. However, later, all its three lawmakers decided to take oath and sit on opposition benches in both houses.

Previous elections

The BNP boycotted the 2008 elections in protest against the military operation, extra-judicial killings and the illegal detention of political activists by the intelligence agencies in Balochistan.

The party took part in the 2002 elections, but resigned from parliament and the Balochistan Assembly in 2005 after the assassination of Akbar Bugti in an army operation.

The party won nine seats in Balochistan in the 1997 elections, following which, Akhtar Mengal became the chief minister with support from Nawab Akbar Bugti’s Jamhoori Watan Party. Mengal's stint proved to be short-lived as the party was struck with internal strife and the BNP leader resigned from his chief ministership on the pretext of not being consulted over nuclear tests in Balochistan. A breakaway faction of BNP, the BNP-Awami, was then formed under the leadership of Israrullah Zehri.

Major political plays

  • In 2006, BNP resigned from the National Assembly, Senate and the provincial assembly and all local bodies in protest against the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti and the ‘disgraceful’ burial of his body.

  • BNP boycotted the 2008 election and party head Akhtar Mengal went into self-exile after his release from Karachi jail. The political climate for BNP during the PPP-led government at the centre as well as in the province was not conducive and several party workers, including its dynamic secretary general Habib Jalib Baloch, were killed in different acts of targeted killings.

  • In 2012, Mengal presented his six points to the Supreme Court of Pakistan which were likened, even by himself, with Sheikh Mujibur Rehman’s six points prior to the break up of Bangladesh. Mengal's six points demanded the return of missing persons, an end to military operations, and disbanding of all 'death squads'.

  • Despite immense pressure from nationalists and separatists, Mengal decided to contest the 2013 general elections.

  • BNP opposed last year's census, saying the situation in Balochistan was not conducive for one because of the province's security situation as well as the presence of Afghan refugees in large numbers.

    • Mengal has said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will turn out to be another Kalabagh dam because of wrong strategy of the government. He said CPEC would deprive smaller provinces of their rights, adding that development based on dishonesty would not be acceptable to the people of Balochistan.

Criticism and controversies:

  • One of the biggest controversies in the party’s life came in 2006 when Akhtar Mengal’s guard beat up intelligence personnel at his residence in Karachi. Mengal was arrested and claimed that the intelligence men were beaten because they were trying to kidnap his children. He was jailed for a couple of years and left Pakistan after being released. He was in exile for around four years.

  • Last year, a rocket had hit the house of Mengal in Wadh, Khuzdar. A number of BNP leaders have been killed in targeted attacks in Balochistan.

  • The party faces pressure from both Baloch nationalists as well as federalists, both seeing BNP as siding with the other as it partakes in electoral poitics and simultaneously calls for the protection of Baloch rights.