Managing dissent in Balochistan: frozen accounts and exit control
QUETTA:The bank accounts of as many as 67 Baloch tribal and political leaders and their families remain frozen by the government, while several have also been placed on the exit control list. Baloch leaders deny allegations of links with the banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), say that they are victims of ‘racial discrimination’ and that their accounts were frozen without court orders, legal process or notification.
Jamil Bugti, son of the late Nawab Akbar Bugti, says that the accounts of 25 members of his family remain frozen since the government accused his family of having links with the BLA.
The government has also frozen the bank accounts of members of the Marri tribe and the bank accounts of Balochistan National Party information secretary Senator Sanaullah Baloch and two of his brothers, Obaidullah and Samiullah.
Sanaullah told Daily Times, “These accounts have been frozen without any court orders, legal process or notification. These orders are being issued arbitrarily.”
On February 7, the Balochistan High Court served notices to the State Bank and the National Bank of Pakistan in a petition filed against the freezing of Senator Sanaullah’s account, but to no avail as his account remains frozen.
Sanaullah says that not a single Baloch activist has been proven guilty of having links with the BLA. “They are trying to sweep political dissent in Balochistan under the carpet by framing allegations of links with the BLA which are baseless. Courts and security agencies are involved in racial discrimination against the Baloch people,” he said.
Jamil Bugti alleges that the government has begun to restore the accounts of Baloch leaders who have given up opposing the government.
Daily Times asked the Balochistan chief of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Irfan Ahmed, why some accounts remain frozen while others have been restored. Ahmed’s response was that the State Bank Balochistan office did not directly deal with the matter. “All such instructions come from the Home Department,” he said. Waseemuddin Ahmed, Karachi-based chief spokesman of the SBP, refused to comment.
The government has also placed the names of several Baloch leaders on the exit control list. This includes three Baloch members of parliament, one of whom has resigned; three former chief ministers, one of whom is now dead; a senior nationalist leader; a member of the Balochistan Assembly; and four family members of former parliamentarians.
No government official in the Balochistan Home and Tribal Department would agree to explain the reasons for putting these people on the exit control list.
Jamil Bugti alleges that government intelligence agencies are trying to create rifts within the Baloch leadership. They patronised the arrangement of a JWP convention that elected Talal Bugti as party president, he adds. “Not a single acquaintance of Nawab Bugti attended the convention. Talal is being used as a tool by the agencies. This is not what Nawab Bugti sacrificed his life for. The government is acting on a policy of divide and rule. We have to play our Baloch cards more cautiously,” he said.
The frozen accounts of the Bugti family include those of the late Akbar Khan Bugti, Agha Shahid Bugti, Mir Chakkar Bugti, Durdana Bugti, Chaakar Domki, Hazoor Bakshi Domki, Agha Zahid, Shameerah Maparah, wife of Jamil Bugti, Gohram Bugti, Maryam Shaheen Bugti, Talal Bugti, Zainab Bugti, Noor Jahan, Shzain Bugti, Mir Ali Saleem Bugti, Gamon Bugti, Gohar Taj, Ameena Bugti, Anita Bugti, Mohammad Bakhtiar Domki, Sher Ali Mazari, Jamil Bugti, Tabish Bugti and Braamdagh Khan Bugti.
The frozen accounts of the Marri tribe include those of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, his sons Mir Gazain Marri and Hamza Marri, and his granddaughters Mahreen Marri, Mashaan Khudija, Jia Marri and Maryan Marri. Other Marri’s whose accounts have been frozen include: Laila Mengal, Rameezah Marri, Khodayar Marri, Bazeer Marri, Haseena Marri, Changez Marri, Fahmina Marri, Maryam Marri, Balaach Marri, Suraya Khair Baksh Marri and Hayerbiar Marri.