QUETTA, March 10: Leader of Opposition in Balochistan Assembly Kachkol Ali has blamed the government for the Dera Bugti landmine blast that claimed 28 lives on Friday.

In a statement issued here, the opposition leader, while expressing deep concern over the loss of innocent lives, claimed that the government had engineered the plan to defame the political forces struggling for the national rights of Baloch people.

Kachkol Ali stated that the incident had occurred in an area that was in complete control of the security forces, and added that the government had resettled the Masuri sub-clan of Bugti tribe following an assertion by the government that it had flushed out anti-government forces from this area.

The opposition leader held the government responsible for the Friday’s incident on the pretext that the government had laid landmines or the security forces had failed to clear the area of subversive materials and provide protection to citizens.

He said the government had failed to suppress the political movement in Dera Bugti and Kohlu and maintained that political movements that enjoyed backing of the masses could not be crushed through state apparatus.

The opposition leader also said that nationalists had been warning that denial of political and national rights to the Baloch and Pukhtuns would push the country towards instability.

He severely condemned what he said the Musharraf government’s anti-Baloch policies to subdue the voices of political groups that were struggling to achieve national rights for the Baloch masses.

Mr Kachkol said the government must recognize the ground realities that without the acceptance of the national rights of Baloch people, there would be no improvement in the situation.

He emphasized that the government should end the military operation in Dera Bugti and Kohlu and release the hundreds of political workers to restore normalcy to strengthen political and democratic institutions.

RELEASE DEMANDED: Ghulam Jailani Bungulzai has threatened to commit self-immolation if his father was not released and demanded that the Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court should investigate the matter.

Speaking at a press conference here on Friday, he said he and his brothers and sisters were on token hunger strike for 244 days and therefore they have lost one precious year of their educational career.

He said it was injustice that government had not taken notice of their strike and did not direct the Inter Services Intelligence to release their father Ali Asghar Bungulzai who was in custody since 2003.

He said that former Quetta Corps Commander Lt-Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch and ex-ISI provincial chief Brig Sadiq had assured his family that Mr Bungulzai would be released after investigation was completed but to the day the commitment had not been honoured.

He demanded that his father should be released till March 20 or the chief justice of the high court should investigate the matter to ascertain whether his father was alive or had been killed during interrogation.

He warned that if justice was not provided then he would not desist from self-immolation.

DEMO: Islami Jamiat-i-Tulba leaders and workers staged a demonstration against the military operations in Balochistan and Waziristan.

The protesters assembled in front of the local press club and chanted anti-US and anti-government slogans and vowed to continue the struggle against oppressors.

Addressing protesters, IJT Nazim Umar Hayat Khan denounced the use of force in Dera Bugti, Kohlu and Waziristan and accused the government of acting on the orders of the Bush administration.

Mr Khan held the government responsible of the political unrest in the country and maintained that the policies of the military ruler had isolated Pakistan in the comity of nation.

The IJT nazim said that differences should be removed through peaceful ways.

ARREST WARRANTS: The judge of Anti-Terrorism Court-I, Quetta, has issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri and his two sons.

The court issued the warrants in cases registered against Nawab Marri and his two sons — Nawabzada Hairbiyar Marri and MPA Nawabzada Balaach Marri — for stockpiling arms and ammunition in Marri houses in July 2005.

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