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Exaggerated and misunderstood: Z.A. Bhutto’s role in military operation in Balochistan

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Gul Khan Nasir, Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, Khair Bakhsh Marri and Ataullah Mengal

While ZAB’s role in the military operation in Balochistan has been criticized by many amongst his friends and foes, the following extract from ZAB’s book (cited in Hamid Mir’s article in daily Jang) suggests that more than ZAB, it were army generals who were responsible for the brutal operation in Balochistan. In fact, he was very upset about the tactics and heavy-handedness of military commanders in Balochistan.

Apparently more than ZAB, it was the army which wanted the NAP government removed from Baluchistan because of its Islamopatriot reasons. It is important to recognize that Bhutto did not start any operation, in fact military simply resumed its operation in Balocchistan which was initiated in 1948. Here is a context:

First conflict 1948 (led by Mir Ahmad Yar Khan): In April 1948 the central government sent the Pakistan army who forced Mir Ahmed Yar Khan to give up his state (Kalat). Mir Ahmed Yar Khan signed an accession agreement ending Kalat’s de facto independence. His brother, Prince Karim Khan, decided to carry on with the struggle. Basing himself in Afghanistan he conducted guerrilla warfare against the Pakistan army. Later he was killed in clashes with the army along with many of his supporters.

Second conflict (1958-59 led by Nawab Nowroz Khan): Nawab Nowroz Khan took up arms in resistance to the One Unit policy designed and initiated by the federal government to eliminate ethnic and provincial divides and prejudices. He and his followers were charged with treason and arrested and confined in Hyderabad jail. Five of his family members (sons and nephews) were subsequently hanged. Nawab Nowroz Khan later died in captivity.

Third conflict 1963-69 (led by Sher Mohammad Bijarani Marri): After the second conflict the Federal government sent the Army to build new garrisons in the key trouble areas of Balochistan. Sher Mohammad Bijarani Marri led like-minded militants to start a guerilla warfare against the establishment of these posts by creating its own posts of insurgency spreading over 45,000 sq. miles (72,000 sq km) of land from the Mengal tribal area in the south to the Marri and Bugti tribal areas in the north. The insurgents bombed railway tracks and ambushed convoys. The Army retaliated by destroying vast areas of the Marri tribe. This insurgency ended in 1969 when Yahya Khan abolished the “One Unit” policy and the Balochs agreed to a ceasefire. This eventually led to the recognition of Balochistan as the fourth province of West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan) in 1970.

Regarding the question whether ZAB supported the 1973 army action in Balochistan, perhaps he did not have many options on the table, except the route of confrontation with the all powerful army that he wanted to avoid; which ultimately lead to his judicial murder in 1979.

However, in all likelihood, ZAB’s role was more of a driven one than of a driver in the Balochistan operation; he agreed to it under pressure from the military establishment while also using it for his political expediency. Therefore, it is tantamount to exaggeration to hold ZAB solely and utterly responsible for the military operation in Balochistan.

Of course, he did not mastermind dramas such as the discovery of arms cache in Iraq’s embassy in Islamabad, which appears to be a careful move to build public pressure (by the Teen Jeem mafia) on the government to agree to the Balochistan operation. According to the Director General of the Intelligence Bureau, Mian Anwar Ali, it was the ISI and MI that had been responsible for both the intelligence and the “Iraqi Embassy Operation”.

As suggested by Bhutto’s own book (cited in Mir’s column), he was quite upset with the heavy-handedness of the military operation. In his own words, he considered target killings and forced disappearances of Baloch nationalists by Pakistan army as a a mutiny more serious than the mutiny of Baloch nationalists.

Also it may not be ignored that Sardar Akbar Bugti, the chief of the Bugti tribe, and Ahmad Yar Khan, the Khan of Kalat, were on the side of the federal government under Bhutto.

According to Shaikh Asad Rahman, here is a context of the 1973 military operation: “Sardar Attaullah Mengal as Chief Minister headed [the provincial] government while Khair Baksh was representing Balochistan in the center. From 1970 to 1973 Balochistan was in the grip of a drought that had had a devastating effect on the fragile economy, based largely on livestock breeding, and Marri tribesmen were migrating into areas that afforded enough water and pastures for their livestock. This migration led them through the area of Feeder. Inevitably the hungry and thirsty livestock was let loose into standing crops belonging to the Jamali and other resident tribes. This resulted in a localized but dangerous armed conflict between the Marri and resident local tribes. The provincial government tried to resolve the issue through traditional mediation of the Jirga system prevalent in Balochistan.”

This inter-tribal conflict gave Pakistan army the excuse to ‘resume’ their military operation in Balochistan. The ISI staged dramas such as Iraqi embassy arms cache that would force the federal government to endorse the military operation.

While ZAB cannot be absolved as he took this opportunity to justify dismissal of the provincial government of NAP, it is a fact that one party, the planner and executioner of the operation, was clearly violating its legal and ethical mandate. That mandate is being violated until today, and the political government is unfortunately helpless if not clueless.

In the following article, Hamid Mir explains how the Teen Jeem alliance (of judges, journalists and generals) remained silent on brutal military operation in Balochistan in 1970s; the same silence which we are currently witnessing in Pakistan in 2011.

بڑے لوگوں کی چھوٹی چھوٹی غلطیاں بھی بڑے بڑے نقصانات کا باعث بنتی ہیں۔ ذوالفقار علی بھٹو بہت بڑے آدمی تھے لیکن ان سے بھی کچھ غلطیاں ہوئیں۔ ان غلطیوں کا اعتراف بھٹو صاحب نے اپنی تحریروں میں کرلیا تھا

۔ ایسی ہی ایک تحریر کو محترمہ بے نظیر بھٹو نے 1993ء میں الطاف احمد قریشی کے ذریعہ انگریزی سے اردو میں ترجمہ کرایا اور ”افواہ اور حقیقت“ کے نام سے کتابی صورت میں شائع کرایا۔ یہ پہلو قابل غور ہے کہ محترمہ بے نظیر بھٹو نے اپنے والد کی کتاب ”اگر مجھے قتل کردیا گیا“کو بھٹو صاحب کی پھانسی کے فوراً بعد شائع کروادیا تھا لیکن ”افواہ اور حقیقت“ کو والد کی پھانسی کے 14سال بعد شائع کرایا۔ شاید اس کی وجہ یہ تھی کہ ذوالفقار علی بھٹو نے اس کتاب میں کچھ ججوں اور جرنیلوں کے بارے میں بہت سخت الفاظ استعمال کئے تھے اور یہ سب کے سب جنرل ضیاء الحق کے دور میں بہت طاقتور تھے اور محترمہ بے نظیر بھٹو یہ تاثر قائم نہیں کرنا چاہتی تھیں کہ ان کی پارٹی کی لڑائی ایک فوجی ڈکٹیٹر کے ساتھ نہیں بلکہ پوری فوج اور عدلیہ کے ساتھ ہے۔

ذوالفقار علی بھٹو نے اس کتاب میں ان آئینی ترامیم کا پس منظر بیان کیا تھا جن کے ذریعے انہوں نے مولوی مشتاق حسین جیسے ججوں کو لاہور ہائی کورٹ کا چیف جسٹس بننے سے روکا کیونکہ بھٹو صاحب کے خیال میں ”جالندھر کے ایک قصاب کا یہ بے شرم بیٹا انصاف کی عصمت دری کیلئے بدنام تھا“۔ بھٹو صاحب نے مولوی مشتاق حسین کے ساتھ اپنی ذاتی مخاصمت کی پوری تفصیل لکھی اور بتایا کہ 1966ء میں جب وہ وزیر خارجہ اور مولوی مشتاق وفاقی سیکریٹری قانون تھا تو دونوں میں سرد جنگ شروع ہوگئی۔ پھر ایوب خان نے مولوی مشتاق کو جج بنوایا اور 1968ء میں بھٹو کو گرفتار کرکے مولوی مشتاق کی عدالت میں پیش کرا کے ان کی تضحیک کرائی۔ جب بھٹو وزیر اعظم بن گئے تو دسمبر 1971ء میں مولوی مشتاق نے ان کے ساتھ ملاقات کی اور پیشکش کی کہ اگر انہیں چیف جسٹس بنادیا جائے تو وہ حکومت کی مدد کریں گے لیکن بھٹو نے اسے نظر انداز کردیا۔ اسی کتاب میں جیل سے بھٹو کی طرف سے چیف جسٹس انوارالحق کے نام لکھے گئے دو خطوط بھی شامل ہیں جس میں چیف جسٹس پر الزام لگایا کہ وہ اپنے جالندھری دوست جنرل ضیاء الحق کو خوش کرنے کیلئے پاکستان کے پہلے منتخب وزیر اعظم کو انصاف نہیں دیں گے اس لئے وہ مولوی مشتاق حسین کے فیصلے کے خلاف اپیل کی سماعت کرنے والے بنچ میں نہ بیٹھیں۔

کتاب کے مطالعے سے صاف پتہ چلتا ہے کہ ذوالفقار علی بھٹو اپنی تمام تر سیاسی مقبولیت کے باوجود عدلیہ اور فوج کے ہاتھوں بے بس تھے
۔ انہوں نے جنرل ایوب خان اور جنرل یحییٰ خان کے لائے ہوئے ججوں کو بے بس کرنے کیلئے آئینی ترامیم کا سہارا لیا اور بعد ازاں انہی ججوں نے جرنیلوں کے ساتھ مل کر بھٹو کا عدالتی قتل کیا۔

بھٹو صاحب نے اپنی کتاب کے تیسرے باب میں رونگھٹے کھڑے کردینے والے حقائق بیان کئے ہیں۔ ایسا لگتا ہے کہ وہ 1976ء کا نہیں بلکہ 2011ء کا کوئی قصہ بیان کررہے ہیں۔ لکھتے ہیں کہ جنرل ضیاء الحق کو نیا چیف آف دی آرمی اسٹاف نامزد کردیا گیا تھا اور پرانے آرمی چیف جنرل ٹکا خان اپنے عہدے کی میعاد پورا ہونے کا انتظار کررہے تھے۔ عملاً جنرل ضیاء الحق آرمی چیف بن چکے تھے ٹکا خان برائے نام اس عہدے پر اپنے دن پورے کررہے تھے

۔ 6فروری 1976ء کوعطاء اللہ مینگل کے صاحبزادے اسد اللہ مینگل کو کراچی میں میر بلخ شیر مزاری کے گھر سے اغوا کرلیا گیا۔ سندھ کے وزیر اعلیٰ غلام مصطفی جتوئی نے اپنے آئی جی سے پوچھا کہ اسد اللہ مینگل کو کس نے اغوا کیا تو آئی جی صاحب نے لاعلمی ظاہر کردی۔ وزیر اعظم سخت پریشان تھے کیونکہ انہوں نے چند سال پہلے بلوچستان میں عطاء اللہ مینگل کی حکومت ختم کی تھی اور اسد اللہ مینگل کے اغوا کا الزام ان پر بھی آسکتا تھا۔ اس دن وزیر اعظم پشاور میں تھے۔ انہوں نے آرمی چیف جنرل ٹکا خان کو پشاور کے گورنمنٹ ہاؤس میں بلایا اور ان کے سامنے وہ تمام اخبارات رکھ دیئے جو اسد اللہ مینگل کے اغوا کی خبروں سے بھرے ہوئے تھے۔ جنرل ٹکا خان نے بڑی افسردہ آواز میں وزیر اعظم کو بتایا کہ فوج نے جھالاوان اور ساراوان میں شرانگیزی کے خاتمے کیلئے اسد اللہ مینگل کو گرفتار کرنے کا فیصلہ کیا۔ اس مقصد کیلئے ایس ایس جی کی ایک ٹیم نے کراچی میں انہیں پکڑنے کی کوشش کی تو انہوں نے فائرنگ کردی، جوابی فائرنگ میں اسد اللہ مینگل اور ان کا ایک ساتھی زخمی ہوگئے۔ ایس ایس جی کی ٹیم نے انہیں گاڑی میں ڈالا اور ٹھٹھہ کی طرف چل دی، راستے میں دونوں دم توڑ گئے تو ٹھٹھہ کے قریب دونوں کو دفن کردیا گیا۔

بھٹو صاحب کے بقول یہ سن کر وہ غضب ناک ہوگئے اور کہا کہ اگر فوج کو اسد اللہ مینگل سے پوچھ گچھ کرنی تھی تو سندھ حکومت سے وارنٹ گرفتاری لے کر قانون کے مطابق کارروائی کیوں نہ کی گئی؟ جنرل ٹکا خان کے پاس کوئی جواب نہ تھا۔ بھٹو صاحب نے کہا کہ یہ المناک واقعہ بلوچ مزاحمت کاروں کی بغاوت سے کہیں زیادہ باغیانہ ہے۔ وزیر اعظم نے پوچھا کہ یہ کارروائی کس کے حکم پر ہوئی؟ جنرل ٹکا خان نے بتایا کہ یہ کارروائی جنرل ضیاء الحق، جنرل ارباب جہاں زیب اور جنرل اکبر کے علاوہ ڈی جی آئی ایس آئی کی مرضی سے ہوئی۔

وزیر اعظم نے حکم دیا کہ فوری طور پر مقتولین کی لاشیں ان کے ورثا کے حوالے کرو۔ اگلے دن راولپنڈی میں جنرل ضیاء الحق نے وزیر اعظم سے ملاقات کی اور کہا کہ ملک کے وسیع تر مفاد میں اس واقعے کو منظر عام پر نہ لایا جائے کیونکہ فوج کی بدنامی ہوگی اس لئے حکومت اسد اللہ مینگل کے بارے میں لا علمی کا اظہار کردے اور کہہ دے کہ مقتولین افغانستان بھاگ گئے ہیں۔ وزیر اعظم نے کہا کہ اسد اللہ مینگل کی وہ گاڑی کدھر جائے گی جس پر کراچی میں فائرنگ ہوئی اور جس میں خون کے دھبے میڈیا دیکھ چکا ہے؟ جنرل ضیاء الحق نے جواب میں کہا کہ جناب اس واقعے کو اپنے ذہن سے کھرچ ڈالیں۔

افسوس کہ یہ سلسلہ 2011ء میں بھی جاری ہے۔
جنرل پرویز مشرف نے بلوچستان میں جنرل ضیاء الحق کی پالیسی کو برقرار رکھا اور اپنے حقوق کیلئے آواز بلند کرنے والے بلوچوں کو غدار قرار دے کر قتل کرتا رہا۔ جنرل پرویز مشرف کی حکومت ختم ہوچکی ہے لیکن بلوچستان میں آج بھی مشرف کی پالیسی چل رہی ہے۔ اکبر بگٹی کے قتل کے بعد سے بلوچستان میں صوبائی و لسانی نفرتوں کی آگ چاروں طرف پھیل چکی ہے۔ ایک طرف پنجابی قتل ہو رہے ہیں تو دوسری طرف پڑھے لکھے بلوچ نوجوانوں کو ایف سی والے گھروں سے اٹھا کر لے جاتے ہیں اور چند دن بعد ان کی لاشیں کسی ویرانے سے ملتی ہیں۔ مسئلے کا سیاسی حل تلاش کرنے کی بجائے روزانہ کسی نہ کسی اسد اللہ مینگل کو قتل کیا جا رہا ہے۔ مرکز اور بلوچستان میں پیپلز پارٹی کی حکومت سب جانتی ہے کہ اس قتل و غارت میں کون ملوث ہے لیکن حکومت خاموش ہے، میڈیا بھی خاموش ہے۔ میڈیا سے اگر کوئی آواز اٹھتی ہے تو اسے بھارت کا ایجنٹ یا طالبان کا ایجنٹ قرار دے کر خاموش کرانے کی کوشش کی جاتی ہے۔ افسوس تاریخ سے سبق نہیں سیکھا جا رہا ہے۔ جو حکمران اپنے شہریوں کی قتل و غارت پر آنکھیں بند کرلیں انہیں ایک دن فوج او عدلیہ مل کر قتل کردیتی ہے۔

Source: Jang

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Abdul Nishapuri

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  • Z.A Bhutto endeavored to spread modern education in Balochistan : Lashkari
    QUETTA: President Pakistan People’s Party Balochistan Haji Lashkari Raisani on Saturday lauded Shahid Zulfaqar Ali Bhuto for his endeavors to spread holistic education in Balochistan.
    Addressing a seminar held under Pakistan Education Foundation here in Quetta where Minister for Education Shafiq Ahmed Khan, Minister for Works and Construction Muhammad Sadiq Umrani, Rahila Durrani, Qazi Muhammad Sadiq, Anawr Inqilabi and Professor Asif Akhter also addressed on occasion. He assured incumbent government would make all out efforts to ease lives of the poor.
    However, he acclaimed sincere efforts of teachers for the foundation and urged for getting and providing technical and professional education in stead of just degrees.

    http://www.hamaraquetta.com/forum/za-bhutto-endeavored-to-spread-modern-education-in-balochistan-lashkari-t339.0.html

  • Balochistan Assembly Demands Reopening of ZAB Murder Case

    Apr 2nd, 2011

    The Baloch Hal News

    QUETTA: The Balochistan Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution demanding of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to re-open the murder case of former Prime Minister and founder of Pakistan People’s Party ZulfiKar Ali Bhutto.
    Speaker Muhammad Aslam Bhootani presided over the assembly session which began after two day’s break here on Friday evening.
    Provincial Minister for Works and Communication and the newly elected provincial president of PPP Mir Sadiq Umrani tabled the resolution in the house for reopening of Bhutto murder case.
    He said, the Balochistan Assembly lauded the efforts of President Asif Ali Zardari for directing the government to submit a reference for rehearing of murder case of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
    He said that the Chief Justice of Supreme Court had himself had that the verdict against Mr. Bhutto was given under pressure.
    He demanded that the murder case of former prime minister should be reopened to meet the ends of justice.
    Speaking on the admissibility of resolution, PPP parliamentary leader said, ZA Bhutto was one the greatest leaders of Asia and he was executed in 1979 by former military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq on false case.
    Terming his killing a judicial murder, he said that dictator had trampled down his democratic government on July 5th, 1977 and implicated Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in false case of murder.
    When the chair put the resolution for vote, the house passed it unanimously.

    http://www.thebalochhal.com/2011/04/balochistan-assembly-demands-reopening-of-zab-murder-case/

  • Despite the overthrow of the Bhutto government, calls for secession and widespread civil disobedience remained. The military government then appointed General Rahimuddin Khan as Martial Law Administrator of Balochistan as well as Governor. Rahimuddin’s immediate steps were to implement a general amnesty for belligerents willing to give up arms. He oversaw military withdrawal thereafter. Rahimuddin then pointedly isolated the more prominent feudal figures of Balochistan from interfering in provincial affairs.[4] Defusing their influence, coupled with authoritarian government, caused the Baloch separatist movement to grind to a virtual standstill.[5] Prominent tribal sardars Ataullah Mengal and Khair Bakhsh Marri left the province for foreign countries, whereas Akbar Bugti aborted his separatist activities.[6] No effective protests, civil disobedience or anti-government movements took place throughout Rahimuddin’s rule.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1970s_Operation_in_Balochistan

  • Let me try and get the record straight. Baloch and Pathan leadership was aware that the Army would not allow them to take control of the both Provinces. But in 1972 the army was in no position to dictate its terms and the NAP got its government in Baluchistan. Bizenjo before he was made governor, was sent to a 15 days trip to Tehran and was told in clear terms that if his party supported Baloch in Iran, NAP would lose the government in Baluchistan. ZAB and Tikka Khan maneuvered a coup in the army and that made Tikka Khan the army chief in 1973. He was the actual guarantor of the ZAB government in the center but in exchange the army wanted the NAP government removed from Baluchistan. That is exactly what happened after the Baloch signed on the constitution.As long as Tikka Khan was the army Chief Bhutto was a powerful man but immediately after Tikka Khan’s retirement the army was back conspiring against the civilian government. That hasn’t changed in the last 35 years.

    Now the question is whether ZAB was against the army action in Baluchistan or not.Truth is he saw no other option. He knew the NAP would resist its forced removal from the government and Bhutto realized that without the army action the NAP would control Baluchistan and the center would not have any control over the province. So ZAB supported the army action in Baluchistan. That support actually backfired on ZAB. It allowed the army to regain its confidence and say in pretty much all state matters. The army also forced ZAB to remove some anarchist leaders who pretended as the leftist like Shaikh Rashid and Meraj Mohammed Khan from the peoples Party. PPP shifted towards the right and Kausar Niazi become the number 2 man in the PPP.

    Tikka Khan kept ZAB in power as PM but as soon as Zia was made the COAS, his slide begin.

    ZAB shared the responsibility of the army action in Baluchistan. He was powerful and the army was weak then and he could have resisted the army pressure but he did not in the hope that if he would give crumbs to the army, it would allow him to rule the country.

    Bhutto in the PPP was the only person who understood the army well and made several compromises with the Army like Zardari is being forced to do now.

  • Let me give credit where it is due. Zardari’s role in today’s Pakistan in much more positive than ZAB role was from 1974 to 1977. Zardari despite all the odds stacked against him, is still resisting the establishment but eventually he gives in because the US needs the army support more than the Zardari support. He actually has personified the middle class resistance to the army rule in Pakistan. unfortunately, he has to rely on feudalistic political rules to fight his middle class battle with the establishment. This is his major weakness. He time and again fails to fathom the dynamics of the Punjabi politics. And runs looking for his support in the most corrupt elements in Punjab and Karachi where as his real support is in PMLn whose political fate is tied with the PPP.
    The problem is that the minute the PPP and the PMLn unite against the establishment, the army would take over the country. So it is a tightrope but in the last three years Zardari should have found a solution.

  • I agree to what Hoss has written in above.
    And wont like to add to the credibility of Hamid Mir by posting his pieces as substantial facts regarding any matter whether its in defence of Bhutto or any other issue.

  • What must not be ignored here is that through operations such as “discovery” of arms cache in Iraqi embassy in Islamabad, ISI made sure that ZAB had no other option but support the military operation in Balochistan.

    Mind you, it is not only ZAB, many Baloch leaders too were on board with the ISI in the Iraq embassy operation. The following is from Wikipedia:

    ………..

    The 1973 Arms discovery in the Iraqi Embassy in Pakistan refers to an armed conflict between the State of Pakistan and the Iraqi Embassy situated in Islamabad. The conflict ended with a successful special military operation led by Pakistan’s Special Service Group (SSG) and the Pakistan Army Rangers. Following the incident, the Iraqi Ambassador and his staff were expelled from Pakistan as personae non gratae.

    Background

    Following the 1971 war and the partition of East Pakistan, Iraq (was alleged by the ISI to have) collaborated with the Soviet Union to launch a covert operation to provide military aid to the Balochi nationalists in Pakistan and Iran. The (alleged) aim of this exercise was to destabilize the two countries by helping dissident Baloch parties in their struggles to seek independence from the Pakistani and Iranian States. The operation remained successful during the early 1970s, but ultimately failed when there was a dispute amongst the Nationalist leaders involved in this operation. The dispute took place when Balochi leaders Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo and Ataullah Mengal of National Awami Party refused to accept the demands of Akbar Bugti to establish himself as the Governor of the Province of Balochistan.

    Operation

    On the midnight of 9 February 1973, the Pakistani authorities were informed by Akbar Bugti regarding a weapons shipment that had been smuggled into the Iraqi Embassy with the help of the Soviet Union. On 10 February 1973, the Pakistani authorities started their preparations to launch a quick military operation. After limited hours of planning, a operation took place in which the Iraqi Embassy was stormed, led by the Special Service Group and aided by the Pakistan Army Rangers.
    In 9 February 1973, at midnight, Akbar Khan Bugti had revealed to Pakistani authorities about weapons shipment smuggled from Soviet Union by help of Iraq which kept in the Iraqi embassy in Islamabad. In 10 February 1973, the Pakistani authorities began to prepared to launch a quick military operation. After limited hours of planning, a special military operation was led by Special Service Group accompained by the Pakistan Army Rangers to storm the Iraqi embassy. Following this incident, authorities discovered 300 Soviet submachine guns with 50,000 rounds of ammunitions and large amount of money that was to be distributed amongst Baluchi separatist groups.

    Aftermath

    Following this incident, the nationalist leader Sher Mohammad Marri visited Baghdad. Newspapers reported that the arms were intended to be given to Balochi separatists in both Pakistan and Iran to fuel tentions amongst the two states and the dissident tribes. A few months later, it was also reported that in reality, the arms were not found in the Iraqi Embassy but in the Iraqi consulate in Karachi. Some authorities predicted that the discovery of these weapons would muster greater support for the government from other ethnic groups in the country. A military operation was also launched in Baluchistan shortly after this incident. This counter-insurgency operation finally ended in 1977 after the deaths of thousands of civilians, Balochi separatists and Pakistani military personell. Despite this setback, Iraq continued to support underground activities to empower Balochi nationalists.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_discovery_in_Iraqi_Embassy_(Pakistan)

  • @Hoss

    You wrote: “He [COAS Tikka Khan] was the actual guarantor of the ZAB government in the center but in exchange the army wanted the NAP government removed from Baluchistan.”

    I agree.

    I also agree when you write that: “Now the question is whether ZAB was against the army action in Baluchistan or not.Truth is he saw no other option.”

    However, my concern is that ZAB’s role was more of a driven than of a driver in the Balochistan operation; he agreed to it because of a number of reasons including his political expediency.

    However, perhaps he did not mastermind dramas such as the discovery of arms shipment in Iraq’s embassy in Islamabad, which may be seen as a public pressure (by the Teen Jeem mafia) on the government to agree to the Balochistan operation.

    As suggested by Bhutto’s own book (cited in Mir’s column), Bhutto was quite upset with the heavy-handedness of the military operation. One party, the planner and executioner of the operation, was clearly violating its legal and ethical mandate. That mandate is being violated until today, and the political government is unfortunately helpless if not clueless!

    @Ali Arqam

    In the world of politics and reason, there are no substantial facts unfortunately. There are only perspectives and interpretations. Apparently Hamid Mir cited an extract from ZAB’s own book.

  • target killing / forced disappearance = mutiny

    ۔ بھٹو صاحب نے کہا کہ یہ المناک واقعہ بلوچ مزاحمت کاروں کی بغاوت سے کہیں زیادہ باغیانہ ہے۔ وزیر اعظم نے پوچھا کہ یہ کارروائی کس کے حکم پر ہوئی؟ جنرل ٹکا خان نے بتایا کہ یہ کارروائی جنرل ضیاء الحق، جنرل ارباب جہاں زیب اور جنرل اکبر کے علاوہ ڈی جی آئی ایس آئی کی مرضی سے ہوئی

  • Context:

    Balochistan Conflict

    The controversial history of the south-western region of Pakistan dates back to the time when the Durand Line was drawn by the British in 1893 after fighting two wars with Afghanistan. The border was drawn to divide the Pashtun and Baloch tribes of the area into the international borders of Iran, Afghanistan and what later became West Pakistan (present day Pakistan). The Balochs found their nomadic ways disrupted by the division created by the international borders, and were not happy with the outcome, and hence the seed of strife was sown.

    Afghanistan also strongly objected to the inclusion of ethnic Pashtun and Afghan areas into present day Pakistan. When India and Pakistan eventually gained independence from the British in August 1947, provinces were given the choice of either joining Pakistan or India or being independent. Khan of Kalat, Mir Ahmed Yar Khan declared Kalat’s independence. The Governor-general Lord Mountbatten decided that the province would not survive as an independent entity and that offer was taken off the table.

    Area of dispute
    Distribution of Balochs is marked in pink.Historical Balochistan comprises the Balochistan region. In the west, is the southern part of Sistan o Baluchestan province, Iran. In the east is Pakistani Balochistan. In the north is the Helmand province of Afghanistan. The Gulf of Oman forms its southern border.

    Pakistani Balochistan is one of the four provinces of Pakistan. Although it is the largest (45% of the country’s area) of the country’s four provinces, it is the least populated (only 5% of the country’s population) and the least developed.

    Balouchi peoples were not given a share in the Federal and local government and they were forced to join Pakistan in 1948. The Federal government with the help of local Sadars looted the natural resources of Baluchistan.

    Baloch grievances
    Fueled by grievances of lack of autonomy, excessive meddling in nomadic affairs, and influx of skilled settlers, miners and traders from other provinces of Pakistan into Balochistan, there erupted an armed conflict between the Baloch and the central government.

    Main characters
    There are three distinct parties involved and affected by this conflict:

    Central governments (1946-2006)
    Sardars (Tribal chiefs)
    Baloch people

    First conflict 1948 (led by Mir Ahmad Yar Khan)
    In April 1948 the central government sent the Pakistan army who forced Mir Ahmed Yar Khan to give up his state. Mir Ahmed Yar Khan signed an accession agreement ending Kalat’s de facto independence. His brother, Prince Karim Khan, decided to carry on with the struggle. Basing himself in Afghanistan he conducted guerrilla warfare against the Pakistan army. Later he was killed in clashes with the army along with many of his supporters.

    Second conflict (1958-59 led by Nawab Nowroz Khan)
    Nawab Nowroz Khan took up arms in resistance to the One Unit policy designed and initiated by the federal government to eliminate ethnic and provincial divides and prejudices. He and his followers were charged with treason and arrested and confined in Hyderabad jail. Five of his family members (sons and nephews) were subsequently hanged. Nawab Nowroz Khan later died in captivity.

    Third conflict 1963-69 (led by Sher Mohammad Bijarani Marri)
    After the second conflict the Federal government sent the Army to build new garrisons in the key trouble areas of Balochistan. Sher Mohammad Bijarani Marri led like-minded militants to start a guerilla warfare against the establishment of these posts by creating its own posts of insurgency spreading over 45,000 miles (72,000 km) of land from the Mengal tribal area in the south to the Marri and Bugti tribal areas in the north. The insurgents bombed railway tracks and ambushed convoys. The Army retaliated by destroying vast areas of the Marri tribe. This insurgency ended in 1969 when Yahya Khan abolished the “One Unit” policy and the Balochs agreed to a ceasefire. This eventually led to the recognition of Balochistan as the fourth province of West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan) in 1970.

    Fourth conflict 1973-77 (led by Nawab Khair Baksh Marri) & General Sherof Bijarani (bijarani is a sub tribe of marri its only for Marri People to Know their tribes men not for the all people to make Bijjarani an issue for brekage of Marri tribe ,Hamza Marri (Marri)
    In 1972, major political parties from a wide spectrum of political ideology united against the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (the then President of Pakistan) and formed the National Awami Party NAP and demanded more representation for the ethnic Baloch in the government. This did not sit well with Bhutto’s approach, seen by some as elitist and authoritarian. In February 1973, in the presence of news media and the Iraqi ambassador to Islamabad, the police opened a consignment of Iraqi diplomatic pouches containing arms, ammunition and guerilla warfare literature. The Pakistani intelligence agencies claimed these arms were en route to the Baloch (Marri) insurgents of Balochistan. Citing treason, Bhutto subsequently dismissed the provincial government of Balochistan and imposed governor rule. Secretly, the intelligence agencies as well as Bhutto knew the real intended party of the arms consignment were the ethnic Balochs of Iran. This was Iraq’s response to Iran’s support for the Kurds in northern Iraq.

    Dismissal of the provincial government led to armed insurgency. Khair Baksh Marri formed the Balochistan People’s Liberation Front (BPLF) which led large numbers of Marri and Mengal tribesmen into guerilla warfare against the central government.

    According to several authors, the Pakistani military lost 3,000 to 3,300 soldiers during the conflict with the Balochi separatists, while the Balouch lost 5,300 men, and civilian casualties during this period are estimated at 6,000.

    Fifth conflict 2004-to date (lead by Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and Mir Balach Marri)
    Due to government policies in 2004 Baluchistan was up in arms against the federal government, with the Baluchistan Liberation Army, Baluchistan Liberation Front, and People’s Liberation Army conducting operations. Rocket attacks and bomb blasts have been a regular feature in the provincial capital, particularly its cantonment areas of Kohlu and Sui Town, since 2000, and had claimed over 25 lives by mid-2004. In response Pakistan army demolished many houses and Marri areas and killed many civilians as war is still going on though media is not reporting much on it because of restriction on media in Pakistan.

    The Gwadar Port project employed close to 500 Chinese nationals by 2004. On 03 May 2004, the BLA killed three Chinese engineers working on the Port. Gwadar airport was attacked by rockets at midnight on 21 May 2004. On 09 October 2004, two Chinese engineers were kidnapped in South Waziristan in the northwest of Pakistan, one of whom was killed later on October 14 in a botched rescue operation.

    Pakistan blamed India and Iran for fanning insurgency in Baluchistan.

    Violence reached a crescendo in August of 2005 when the Pakistani government attempted and killed Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, a eighty one year old Sardar (tribal leader) who had fought against the government for decades.

    Main characters
    Pakistan Army claims that Balochistan Liberation Army is clandestinely funded by the Afghan government and its arms supposedly flow into Baluchistan through the Pakistan-Afghanistan porous border. Iran also has strategic interests in the region and keep an eye on the affairs of Balochistan.The Indian government has been trying to help Pakistan with this grievance in spite of bitter relations between the two countries.

    Development
    Balochistan’s population consists of mix between Balochi & Pashtuns but Pashtuns enjoy a reasonable representation in the state & military jobs of Pakistan and their more religious leaning makes them mainly more pro-Pakistan but after 9/11 they have been fighting too, for the pro-Baloch independence. It is widely believed that the government of Pakistan needs to bring an end to the tribal system and provide more job opportunities to the common Balochistani, in the name of education, outsiders (especially Punjabis and Urdu speaking) are being settled in different parts of Balouchistan turning majority of Balouch area into minorities which threats local tribesmen. As such, steps are being taken for industrialisation of the province and industrial zones are planned along the new Gawadar-Karachi highway. This development is expected to bring accelerated progress in the near future although uprisings against the decline of the tribal system will probably accompany such a situation.

    http://www.cssforum.com.pk/css-compulsory-subjects/pakistan-affairs/16041-balochistan-conflict.html

  • The Shah of Iran did not like the democratic institutions to flourish in Pakistani Balochistan for that had the potentials to destabilize Iranian Balochistan; and he also pressed Bhutto to act.

    As a result of the dismissal of popularly elected government, an unprecedented uprising took place in Balochistan in which the Marris were in the forefront and Sher Mohammad Marri became a legendary figure. The casualties on the sides of the rebels and the government troops were in thousands. Reportedly air power was also used and the insurgents had to withdraw to the mountains from where they conducted guerrilla warfare.

    Ironically, Sardar Akbar Bugti, the tumandar of the Bugti tribe, and Ahmad Yar Khan, the Khan of Kalat, were on the side of the federal government under Bhutto

    http://www.koolfree.com/Education/Essays/Essays%20-%20%20Balochistan%20crisis.html

  • Benazir seeks withdrawal of cases against Akhtar Mengal
    By Our Reporter

    ISLAMABAD, June 14, 2006: Former prime minister and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)Chairperson Benazir Bhutto on Wednesday condemned the victimisation of former Balochistan chief minister Akhtar Mengal and warned that chasing and hounding ofBaloch leaders for political dissent could have serious repercussions for the federation.In a statement, the PPP chairperson criticized the policy of seeking to eliminatepolitical leaders through abuse of judicial system. She said such narrow-mindedtactics had also failed in the past leading to the disintegration of the country.An anti-terrorist court in Karachi declared the other day Akhtar Mengal a proclaimed offender and also ordered attachment of his entire movable and immovable property.Sardar Akhtar Mengal, who is also chief of Balochistan National Party (BNP), was earlier declared absconder in a case registered by the security agencies.Ms Bhutto said that it was shocking to note how the regime was dealing with thepolitical issues in Balochistan. Political issues can be resolved only through politicalmeans and use of force is counter productive, she said. She expressed the fear thatturmoil in Baluchistan might spill over into Sindh. Declaring Akhtar Mengal a proclaimed offender and placing legislators of the Balochnationalist parties on the Exit Control List is a violation of the fundamental rights offreedom to travel, she said.It also mocks the Parliamentary Committee on Balochistan that recommended several political measures for defusing the Baloch tension, she added. The continued victimisation of Balochistan National Party, a secular and moderate force, is aimed atstrengthening theocratic elements, she said.

  • Here is an extract from an interview with Sardar Khair Baksh Marri in which he offers a candid assessment of ZAB as a political opponent. Worth noting is this line: “I wanted to ask her [BB] why she did not consider taking revenge.” This then clearly describes why PPP’s struggle and its impact on Pakistan is so much different from that of some other parties and leaders including Baloch nationalists.

    ………

    Interview with Sardar Khair Baksh Marri

    http://www.thebalochhal.com/2010/07/ultimately-the-world-will-have-to-directly-negotiate-with-the-balochs-sardar-khair-baksh-marri/

    Q: What is your opinion about Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto?

    A: [replies with a mocking smile on his face] Now you should tell me what I should tell you. He was not a nationalist. He was was democratic, Islamic socialist and (Niccolo) Machiavelli. [pauses]. Well, he was Machiavelli.

    Q: Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto ended tribal system. What would you say about it?

    A: He was a wadera (landlord) who admired Napoleon. Do you think Napoleon was a good guy? He (Bhutto) abolished tribalism only to stage the drama of socialism.

    Q: One particular family in Pakistan, the Bhuttos, have been killed. In the meanwhile, Benazir Bhutto was held responsible for the murder of Mir Murtaza Bhutto. How do you see this bloody game?

    A: There is no doubt that this family has been killed. The Establishment wanted to kill Murtaza Bhutto. I cannot say with certainty but I doubt that Benazir (Bhutto) knew that Murtaza (Bhutto) would be killed. She may have told him to keep quite. What else could she do? She had come to meet me and I wanted to ask her why she did not consider taking revenge.

    I did not ask because she was too depressed and I also did not have the time to ask the query. I had met Mir Murtaza in Afghanistan. That meeting was also accidental as he had come with my son Gazin. I asked what People’s Party meant for Mir. Did it refer to some people of Sindh. He smiled and said: “People”. I did not argue with him because I did not want to spoil the environment.

  • The dismissal of the Balochistan government in 1973

    The dismissal of the Balochistan provincial government by Bhutto in February 1973 set the stage for the 4 year long military action in Balochistan that ultimately contributed to Bhutto’s downfall and had enormous repercussions for Balochistan – Islamabad relations to this day. It’s useful to look at the events leading up to the dismissal of the government and examine the causes and whether it was avoidable.

    In the general elections of 1970, the PPP, while winning a majority in Sindh and Punjab, did not win a single National Assembly seat from Balochistan. Bhutto thus had to contend with a NAP-JUI alliance in both Balochistan and NWFP and these two parties formed the basis of the opposition for the purposes of pushing through his proposed constitution. Balochistan had only become a full-fledged province in 1970 and so the NAP-JUI government was the first provincial representative government in Pakistan’s history.

    In March 1972, Bhutto was able to work out an accord with the NAP-JUI which, among other things, guaranteed the convening of the provincial assemblies and that, while the governors of the provinces would be appointed from the center, this would be done with consultation with the NAP-JUI.

    Initially Bhutto tried to appoint a loyalist Ghaus Bakhsh Raisani to the position of governor, but this was not approved by the provincial government. The next governor appointed by the centre in April 1972 was the well-respected Baloch nationalist leader Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo. Bizenjo had earned respect for his principled opposition to One Unit and martial law and had spent time in jail during Ayub’s regime. He was known for his conciliatory approach to politics. Atuallah Mengal became the chief minister. The other main Baloch political leader in the government was Khair Bakhsh Marri who headed the NAP in the provincial assembly. At this time, Nawab Akbar Bugti was aligned with Bhutto and against the provincial government. Marri and Mengal were both leftist in their political inclinations and the new provincial government set about on an ambitious agenda of reforms. A large number of the local police and bureaucracy and intelligentsia was dominated by Punjabis. This issue was somewhat neutralized when the chief minister of Punjab Ghulam Mustafa Khar made the decision to recall many Punjabi bureaucrats and police servicemen to Punjab.

    The issue of Punjabi bureaucracy illustrates the difficulty faced by the provincial government – on the one hand,it was resentful of the over-representation of Punjabis in the civil service and professional class, on the other hand the fact that Balochistan was so poorly developed necessitated the presence of outsiders.

    Another point of contention between the province and the center was when provincial government decided to establish its own rural police called the Dehi Muhafiz. This was done in part to fill the vacuum left by the abolishment of the Civil Armed Force by the federal government and in part due to the perceived non-cooperation of the police which was under the Interior ministry headed by Abdul Qayyum Khan, a lifelong enemy of the NAP and Wali Khan.

    It is not surprising why the actions of the provincial government, while by no means particularly aggressive (for example, it chose Urdu over Balochi as the official provincial language), were regarded with suspicion by the centre. For one thing, the Bhutto government was closely aligned with the Shah of Iran and the Shah was deeply suspicious of any political autonomy given to Balochistan since he had just spent a decade suppressing secessionist movements in Iranian Balochistan. Iraq, allied with the USSR, had a history of supporting Baloch separatism in Iran in response to Iran’s support of Kurd separatists in Iraq. So the US, too, was suspicious of the political empowerment of the Pakistani Baloch. The Pakistani army, fresh from its defeat in East Pakistan, was deeply suspicious of the Baloch nationalists and moves like the establishment of the provincial rural police only added to this suspicion.

    In September 1972, the central government actually accused the NAP leaders of what was called the “London Conspiracy” with Mujibur Rehman – allegedly they had plotted to divide Pakistan up into four states. The government never provided any evidence for these claims beyond the physical presence of the leaders in London.

    By early 1973, a law and order situation had arisen in Patfeeder and Lasbela districts of Balochistan. The provincial government sent the Dehi Muhafiz to handle the situation and the central government allegedly (although it later denied it) sent its own armed forces that actually ended up skirmishing with the Dehi Muhafiz. According the Adeel Khan, the essentially provincial issues of local law and order faced by the NAP government were exacerbated by the high-handed interference of the central government and thus magnified, dooming the provincial government to failure. As the threat of India on the Eastern border diminished, the army’s heavy-handedness in dealing with Balochistan, after a brief period of respite in early 1972, increased.

    Finally in February 1973, Bhutto abruptly dismissed the provincial government. The dismissal was justified by the claim that a large cache of weapons had been discovered in the Iraqi embassy in Islamabad, en route to Balochistan to be used to arm Baloch nationalist militias. This claim became the basis of the infamous Hyderabad tribunal from 1975- 1979 and which led to the banning of the National Awami Party in 1975, on the basis that it was acting against the interests of Pakistan. Nawab Akbar Bugti played a significant role in making accusations against the NAP politicians, claiming, among other things that Mengal and Wali Khan had shared with him their “free Balochistan” plan in early 1973. Mengal, Bizenjo, Wali Khan and Marri were all imprisoned for several years.

    Why did Bhutto take this step and was there any justification for it? According to Ataullah Mengal, the dismissal of the government was directly related to Bhutto’s inability to share power from the centre, especially with a party that he distrusted as much as the NAP. Dr. Mubashir Hasan, a PPP minister, in his book The Mirage of Power claims that the dismissal was a consequence more of the Army and bureaucracy’s suspicion of the NAP-JUI government and that Bhutto’s hand was forced. Pro-establishment politicians like Abdul Qayyum Khan were said to have played in a role in driving a wedge between the PPP and the NAP.

    Others argue that Bhutto’s hands were tied by his loyalty to the Shah of Iran. Indeed in the subsequent military operation in Balochistan from 1973-1977, key help was provided by Iran in the form of US manufactured Cobra helicopters that were crucial in fighting the Baloch guerillas in the mountainous terrain.

    The argument that Bhutto’s hands were tied, however, does not hold much water when the events of the Liaquat Bagh public meeting held on 23 March 1973 are taken into consideration. The NAP and other opposition party members (under the collective banner of the United Democratic Front) held a rally to protest the dismissal of the Balochistan government and were fired upon by the paramilitary federal security force. Wali Khan narrowly escaped death and over a dozen party workers were killed. Mubashir Hasan quotes Bhutto, describing how he got a consensus on the Constitution as saying the following:

    While putting on a facade of conciliation I was firm in my belief that the violent threat had to be faced courageously at the right moment. The right movement came on the 23rd of March 1973. I had no doubt in my mind that the ground had to be held no matter what the cost. So much so that some of the so-called militant leaders of my party were expressing their doubts on whether 23rd of March should be made the decisive day for a show of strength. Firmness and flexibility were combined to bring about the unanimous approval of the constitution. If the classical attitude of the opposition is gauged, if the historical position of the NAP and the statements of their leaders are scrutinized it would appear that the consensus on the Constitution was a miracle. It was not a miracle, all it needed was clear thinking, steady nerves, correct strategy, a sense of anticipation and the collaboration of my principle colleagues.

    This quote neatly illustrates both Bhutto’s brilliant political instincts and his unscrupulousness. Given this statement, it is very, very difficult to believe the argument that Bhutto’s ‘hands were tied’ in his dealings with the NAP. One of Bhutto’s gifts as a politician was his ability to gain politically, in tandem with the military elite’s own goals. I believe that the dismissal of the Balochistan government was as much a consequence of Bhutto’s distrust of the NAP and his desire to see it neutralized as a voice in the opposition as it was an action taken by the military.

    The military action that followed the dismissal of the Balochistan government lasted until 1977 and due to its brutality succeeded in uniting all factions of the Baloch nationalists against the government of Pakistan. Even Akbar Bugti, who initially supported the operation and who was made governor of Balochistan following Bizenjo’s dismissal, resigned in 1974 as a result of his disagreement with the centre on the military operation in Balochistan.

    So the first representative provincial government of Balochistan lasted only 10 months in an ill-fated tenure against almost impossible odds – a hostile military and hostility from several foreign powers. Bhutto had an opportunity to manage this difficult balance in a way that would not have alienated the Baloch politicians but chose to gain politically by first coercing the NAP to support his constitution and then ultimately neutralizing the threat it posed through the Hyderabad Tribunal. The dismissal of the government led to a long and bloody military action in the province which would have been entirely avoidable through political compromise. Mubashir Hasan rightly claims that the the Pakistani army as an institution is, when crude political intrigue fails, unable to deal with domestic unrest with anything other than brute force. However, Hasan’s analysis is equally applicable to the short-sighted and heavy-handed behavior of Bhutto towards the provincial government.

  • I am grateful to Usman for publishing the history of Baloch conflict and that brings me to another point that usually is ignored by the pro Baloch element, such as myself in this debate. Not everything stated in Usman’s post is accurate but something that comes out clearly is that all Baloch conflicts were primarily tribal in nature. Baloch never tried to democratize their struggles against the army. Even the struggle in 1973-76 was turned in to a tribal struggle. The goal was always to return power to some prominent tribes but not to the people of Baluchistan. That resulted in the inability of the Baloch to sustain their movement and only fragmented support from other provinces and the international community.
    The Baloch are still following the same pattern. Sardar never allow the leadership to pass on to the common Baloch and control it from the top.
    Sardar Akber Bugti’s role in 1973 was horrendous and thats why I never agree with some Baloch who try to make him the leader of the Baloch resistance. He never was the leader, he successfully manipulated the Baloch for his own and other Sardar’s interests.

    In 1973 KB Marri and Gen. Sharof hid behind socialism to support the tribal system and now Akber Bugti’s followers are hiding their intentions behind the Baloch rights facade.
    Baloch leadership has always sought support from the outside but never tried to democratize the movement and the result is before us. The army is picking up poor Baloch one by one and slowly breaking the back of the Baloch movement.

  • “I wanted to ask her [BB] why she did not consider taking revenge.” KB Marri
    There is more to this sentence then just his pity on Benazir. His own struggle in 1973 was all about revenge and still is about revenge. The tribal mindset would jeopardize the democratic goals of any movement. In the 70s, Khair Bux Marri touted his knowledge of socialism and his reading of Marx and Lenin. He almost claimed that he was primarily a leftist. Gen. Sher mohd Marri or Gen Sharof too believed that he was Che Guevara reincarnated. But as we can see both were primarily relying on their tribal instincts to fight a battle that was for Baloch democratic rights and not tribal rights.
    In the modern history tribes or tribal mindset had not won a battle against the State apparatus. The Baloch cannot change that history. They need to democratize their struggle and raise support in other Pakistani provinces.

  • Its always convenient for our leaders to dump their garbage into the laps of others.