QUETTA, Sept 1: A shroud of mystery enveloped the manner in which the Dera Bugti administration on Friday allowed only a small number of mourners to quickly bury a wooden, padlocked coffin said to contain the body of Nawab Akbar Bugti in the ancestral town of the slain tribal chief once known as the ‘Tiger of Balochistan’.

The grieving sons of Nawab Bugti, whose body was flown to Dera Bugti from the neighbouring Kohlu late on Thursday night, boycotted the funeral which was concluded within minutes amid tight security.

The administration refused to show the tribal chief’s face to mourners and newsmen.

Dera Bugti District Coordination Officer Abdul Samad Lasi said: “The body of Nawab Bugti has decomposed a lot and it cannot be shown to media and mourners.”

He said the Imam of Dera Bugti’s main mosque, Maulana Malook Bugti, had seen the corpse and confirmed that it was indeed Nawab Bugti’s body.

But when newsmen asked Maulana Malook about the identity of the body, he refused to make a comment and said such questions should be put to the district coordination officer.

Friday’s events were reminiscent of the 1979 burial of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto whose funeral was also held in the absence of his family members and his body was identified by the Imam of a Garhi Khuda Bux mosque.

The Dera Bugti DCO said while Nawab Bugti’s face and legs were unharmed, the torso had been crushed by a heavy boulder. He showed Nawab Bugti’s gold-rimmed spectacles, Rolex watch and wallet to newsmen. He said the wallet contained Rs15,000.

The newsmen could not help observing that the watch and the glasses had escaped without a scratch from the heavy explosion that brought down the mountain cave which was supposed to be Nawab Bugti’s last sanctuary.

A visibly incensed Jamil Bugti, one of three surviving sons of Nawab Bugti, told newsmen in Quetta that the military had used chemical weapons to kill his father.

“The chemical weapons used in the military attack left my father’s body in such a state of impairment that it can no longer be shown to the media. This explains the government’s refusal to hand over the body to Nawab Bugti’s immediate family,” he said.

He demanded that an independent team of doctors should examine the body buried on Friday and determine if it was indeed Nawab Bugti’s and what the cause of his death was.

Nawab Bugti’s grave is close to the graves of his father Sardar Mehrab Khan Bugti and his son Nawabzada Saleem Akbar Bugti.

DCO Lasi said the government had offered to facilitate the visit of Nawab Bugti’s immediate family to Dera Bugti. “We waited for their response till the last moment,” he said.

But Jamhoori Watan Party secretary-general Agha Shahid Bugti, who is son-in-law of Nawab Bugti, said no member of the bereaved family had been contacted by the government.

He reiterated the family’s demand that the body be handed over to them. “We don’t know whose body they have buried in Dera Bugti today,” he said.

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