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Akhtar Mengal: Baloch reformer or soft face for Baloch Militants?

Jan Achakzai, Baloch insurgency & Geostrategic expert, observes that Akhtar Mengal’s six-point agenda and missing person’s issues is nothing but a bid to exert pressure upon the federal government and military establishment. Achakzai underscores that Akhtar Mengal is the soft-face for Baloch militants in the guise of a Baloch reformer.

Mengal

News Desk |

Akhtar Mengal, President of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal, has reinstated that he will not be willing to comprise with the PTI-led federal government if it fails to show tangible progress on the BNP-M’s six-point demands that seeks to address the grievances of the people of Baluchistan.

BNP-M President Akhtar Mengal made it clear that he has not “asked the center for high-level posts and ministries in exchange for political support, but instead, we are demanding justice for the people of my province.”

The state of Pakistan and the current system does not encourage and support to middle classes to join politics. Hence, all government perks and money of corruption make these vested Sardars more powerful.

Mengal, also a member of the National Assembly, tweeted from his account earlier on Sunday, “Blackmailing is if we asked for ministries and high level posts. We are not asking for anything that will benefit my party and myself personally. What I’ve asked for is justice that people of my province really deserve after years of neglect and oppression.”

Akhtar Mengal further added, “It will be extremely difficult for peace to prevail in Baluchistan if a political solution is not tackled. It should have been a priority for every government regardless of a vote.”

Since its emergence in the National Assembly after the 2018 General Election, the BNP-M President has been urging the government to address the six-point agenda, which demands the recovery of missing persons from Baluchistan.

Earlier, Mengal had tweeted, “My main priority are the political issues which include missing persons, legislation of demographic areas affected by CPEC, Afghan Refugees honorably sent back to their country, 6% quota of Baluchistan in federal & foreign  services.”

Mengal said, “If these problems aren’t resolved no government in Baluchistan will able to successfully govern. Our demands were the same yesterday and are the same today. Nor have I comprised nor will I.”

Missing Persons: A Political Leverage?

Jan Achakzai, Baloch geostrategic analyst with vast expertise on Baluchistan’s ethnic insurgency, observed that BNP-M President Akhtar Mengal is using the issue of missing persons as a leverage to exert pressure on the military establishment and the Imran Khan-led government as he believes the issue can be used to gain political influence, not only in the province, but also in the federal government.

Read more: CM Jam Kamal: A different politician from Baluchistan

Speaking to Global Village Space, Achakzai noted, “Federal government is despondent for his support on legislation, therefore, it gets easily blackmailed. Baluchistan is unfortunate that these Sardars and Nawabs have represented it throughout history”.

Referring to the issue of missing persons as a “lever to blackmail army and federal government”, Achakzai stated, “The claims of missing persons have never been verified, as they cannot account for relatives of the missing person to establish the real IDs as per practices worldwide.”

Mengal: Supporter of Baloch Militants?

Recalling Akhtar Mengal’s family “anti-national credentials”, the Baloch insurgency expert noted, “He (Akhtar Mengal) is a soft face of Baloch militants. One of his brothers, Javed Mengal, is a militant and separatist leader, whom he never condemned.” Achakzai added, “His family’s anti-national credentials are established. Yet the state is so kind to them. He was once CM Baluchistan and now wants the coveted slot again.”

Lamenting the lack of political leadership from middle and low-income classes of Baluchistan, Jan Achakzai noted, “The state of Pakistan and the current system does not encourage and support to middle classes to join politics. Hence, all government perks and money of corruption make these vested Sardars more powerful.”

Read more: Balochistan continues to bleed: Where is Pakistan’s counter-terror strategy?

He added, “This is why there is no chance the current form of democracy may even be able to deliver even after 3 assemblies (i.e. 2023-2028-3033). Same families and same Sardars and Nawabs selling ethnic grievances and blackmailing the federal government and establishment.”

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