Sad. Very sad.
Police used disproportionate force on Thursday to disperse a long march of Balochistan National Party (BNP) in Gwadar, leaving twenty workers injured and around 60, including the party secretary general Habib Jalib, detained.
According to the details, BNP secretary general Habib Jalib and a leading leader of late Akbar Bugti’s Jamori Watan Party (JWP), Hussain Ashraf, were arrested along with 60 other Baloch activists when they were poised to lead the first day of a protest rally at Mullah Fazal Chowak of Gwadar district against the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti, the ongoing military operation, mega projects and construction of cantonments and the large number of mysterious disappearances of Baloch youths in the hands of intelligence agencies.
” As the leaders gathered at Mullah Fazal Chowak amid heavy presence of the police, BNP secretary general Habib Jalib and other party workers were immediately booked by the police,” Behram Baloch, a Gwadar-based journalist, told Daily Times.
He said the police even did not wait for the public rally to formally begin.
” Party workers were booked by the police by applying force against them even before the commencement of the rally,” he added.
Habib Jalib, the detained BNP secretary general, told Daily Times from Gwadar via phone that though their struggle was purely peaceful and democratic, the government dealt with it brutally and undemocratically.
” Police dispersed our long march as it resorted to baton charge, injuring 20 party workers, including a 12-year old kid.”
Jalib said presently hundreds of BNP workers, including its president Sardar Akhtar Mengal, were in the custody of the police.
While, Sardar Akhtar Mengal, told Daily Times that the arrests were actually a ‘ remarkable success for the BNP.’
” We proved to the world that the Baloch are a purely democratic and peaceful people. We registered our protest against the ‘Baloch genocide’ in the hands of he Pakistani army through proper channel but in this country democratic forces are discouraged and only the democracy which is backed by the military is, unluckily, endorsed in this country. We have emerged victorious once again,” he claimed.
Sardar Mengal said since the entire party leadership and hundreds of party workers had been arrested, Balochistan National Party’s ‘Lashkar-e-Balochistan’ long march would temporarily remain postponed. However, BNP would stage Balochistan-wide protests in front of the press clubs on the December 1st at 3:00 pm.
” We will observe a complete shutter down strike across Balochistan on December 2nd which would be followed by a wheel jam strike on December 3rd against the mass arrests of BNP leaders and the use of force against the Baloch workers,” Sardar Mengal announced.
He alleged that the government had even removed security personnel from various check posts and deployed them in Gwadar city in order to block the Lashkar-e-Balochistan. ” It was a referendum against the government policies. We won; the government lost again,” the BNP president added.
Sardar Mengal, who said he was under arrest at his friend’s house in Sakran but under the decree of the government, said former MNA Rauf Mengal and 35 other party leaders were under house arrest with him. While the BNP vice president Dr. Jhanzib Jamaldini has been kept under house arrest in a guesthouse in Panjgur.
“We will observe a complete black day on the eve of General Musharraf’s tour to Balochistan [which is scheduled for December 6th] and adopt a ‘new strategy’ to unwelcome the General in Balochistan,” he announced.
Sardar Mengal accused the government of being intimidated by the rising popularity of Baloch nationalist forces which, he added, had gained overwhelming popularity among the Baloch people in the aftermath of Nawab Bugti’s death.
Meanwhile, Kachkol Ali Baloch, the leader of opposition in Balochistan, told Daily Times he strongly condemned the ‘unconstitutional arrest’ of Baloch leaders and prevention of the long march. “Protests are the democratic right of every individual and political party. No government can curb such peaceful and democratic moves,” he remarked.
Mr. Baloch said the arrest of Baloch leaders, particularly that of Sardar Akhtar Mengal, would lead to more trouble in Balochistan. By its massive crack down against the Baloch leaders and workers the government had proved that it had closed all the doors for a peaceful and democratic settlement of the dispute with the Baloch leaders, he alleged.
Earlier, the BNP, which quit its seats in Balochistan and National assemblies and the Senate against the killing of Nawab in September, had given the call for a province-wide long march, called Lashkar-e-Balochistan, to protest the government policies. The long march was scheduled to kick off from Gwadar and end in Quetta on December 11. However, police started a province wide crack down against the Baloch leaders before the commencement of the rally.