KARACHI: Veteran Baloch nationalist leader Sardar Ataullah Khan Mengal has accused what he described as the “Punjabi army” of committing atrocities against the Baloch people that had pushed the situation to a ‘point of no return’.
He also came up with a disarming acknowledgement that “nothing is in my control now”.
“This is not Pakistan Army. Rather it is the Punjabi army that is indulging in such inhuman acts against the Baloch people,” he said while talking to newsmen along with PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif after meeting him here on Monday.
“Baloch youths don’t want such a Pakistan in which they receive mutilated bodies of their compatriots. It is for them to decide [about their future], because they are being systematically eliminated and forced to seek refuge in the mountains,” said the former chief minister of Balochistan and the founding chief of the Balochistan National Party.
He said the people of Balochistan were disillusioned, but then held out a ray of hope: “If one last effort is made with sincerity, there is a possibility that Baloch youths might agree to discuss their grievances with Islamabad.”
An ominous note followed: “But if atrocities continue the Baloch will never accept a united Pakistan.”
He called for accountability of those responsible for the killing and kidnapping of people in Balochistan and questioned why no similar action was being taken by the army elsewhere in the country.
Mr Mengal said that if the powers that be wanted to save Pakistan, all “heinous acts” must come to an end and dialogue should be initiated with the youth of Balochistan.
He accused Interior Minister Rehman Malik of hurling threats at the Baloch.
About the Balochistan package announced by the government, Mr Mengal said: “The package is empty.”
Mr Sharif termed Ataullah Mengal’s concerns legitimate, conceding that atrocities were being committed in Balochistan. He said his party would also talk to Baloch youth.
About the assassination of Akbar Bugti, Nawaz Sharif said the “killers must be called to account”.
“If they are not made accountable then who will be?” wondered the PML-N chief. In reply to a question, he said he was looking for “a cooperative relationship” with the BNP.
Answering a question, Mr Sharif said he did not expect a martial law or any such move and called upon all political forces to pre-empt all such designs through unity.