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Grand jirga in Kalat decides to move ICJ

September 22, 2006


KALAT, Sept 21: A grand Baloch jirga, convened here on Thursday after about 126 years, announced in a declaration that a case would be filed in the International Court of Justice against what it termed violation of agreements signed by the State of Kalat, the Crown of Britain and the government of Pakistan pertaining to sovereignty and rights of the Baloch people.

The Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleman Daud Ahmedzai, presided over the jirga held in the Shahi Hall. It was attended by 85 tribal chiefs and about 300 elders.

The declaration expressed concern over the ‘colonial occupation’ of the Baloch land by Punjab in violation of the accord signed by the state of Kalat and the government of Pakistan in 1948.

The declaration was read out by the chief of Jhalawan, Sardar Sanaullah Zehri. It described the ongoing military operation in Balochistan as state terrorism and called for an immediate end to the operation and release all arrested political workers.

It rejected the Sui tribal jirga’s decision to abolish the Sardari system in the Bugti area and termed the action taken at the behest of the government an interference in tribal affairs and said that tribal matters should be resolved in accordance with customs and traditions.

The declaration said that the jirga recognised the heirs of Nawab Akbar Bugti as legitimate owners of the property of the deceased, adding that it would resist allotment of the property to anyone other than the heirs.

The jirga condemned the tragic incident of Aug 26 in which Nawab Bugti was killed and demanded an investigation into the cause of his death by the International Human Rights Commission to ascertain the factual position.

The declaration rejected the mega development projects, including the Gwadar uplift programme, and said that the Baloch people would not accept the agreements signed by the government with international companies.

The declaration demanded reunification of all divided Baloch lands into one entity.

In his speech, the Khan of Kalat said that the presence of so many sardars in the Baloch national jirga belied the claim of President Pervez Musharraf that 72 tribal chiefs were supporting his policy. He asserted that all Baloch people would abide the decision of the jirga.

Chief of Sarawan Nawab Aslam Raisani said that in accordance with the 1940 Resolution, all nationalities should get their rights, and except currency, foreign affairs, defence and communications all subjects should be transferred to provinces.

He said that after capturing power, President Musharraf had assured to work for promoting harmony, but now the military rulers wanted to resolve issues at gun-point. He said that if Kashmiris fighting for their rights were called freedom fighters, the Baloch should not be dubbed terrorists.

Sardar Sanaullah Zehri said that the Baloch people were unfortunate that despite having abundant resources, long coasts and a rich culture, they were being oppressed by outsiders who had occupied their land. The use of gun, he said, could suppress them for some time but they would again rise for their rights.

Chief of BNP (Mengal) Sardar Akhtar Mengal said that the Khan of Kalat had gathered all the Baloch at a time when the attention of international and regional powers was focused on Balochistan.

Sardar Mengal said that the Baloch people would live with honour, dignity and equal rights and with complete control over their resources. Otherwise, he warned, they would be free to take a decision to protect their sovereign status.

Chief of Magsi tribe Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi said that had the grand jirga been convened when security forces attacked Nawab Bugti, and not after his death, the situation would have been different today. He said that some forces were trying to exploit the matter politically.

He also said that no-one must forget that “we had taken oath as governors, chief ministers and ministers on the Constitution that we are now opposing”. He called for abiding by the decision of the jirga. Nawab Muhammad Khan Shahwani, Dr Hakim Lehri, chief of Balochistan National Congress, Sardar Asif Mengal, Sardarzada Jehanzeb, Mir Amanullah Zarakzai, Sardar Nadir Badini, Sardar Rahimdad Lango, BSO chairman Mohinuddin Baloch, Yousuf Masti Khan, Sardar Balkhsher Mazari, Amanullah Kanrani of the JWP, Mir Taj Muhammad Jamali, Sardar Aslam Bizenjo, Baloch Students Organisation chairman Bashirzeb Baloch and Sardar Sher Jamaldini also addressed the Jirga.