By Malik Siraj Akbar
QUETTA: The worrier Bugti tribe on Tuesday crowned 36-year old Mir Aali Bugti, a grandson of late Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, as its 23rd Nawab in Sui tehsil of the gas-rich Dear Bugti district in a Jirga after a lull of four years since the killing of their tribal chief in a military operation in August 2006.
The Jirga, which was convened at Bugti House in Sui district amid extremely tight security arrangements, was attended by 257 chiefs of various clans of Bugti tribe. The ceremony was attended by the tribal leaders from Rahija, Kalpar, Masuri, Pirozani, Shambani, Nosani and Mundarani clans of the Bugti tribe. Bugti tribesmen from Sindh, the Punjab and Balochistan had rushed to the historic occasion.
The chief of the Bugti tribe, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, had been killed in a military operation in 2006 but the Bugtis had to wait for four years to chose their new Nawab as most of them had been displaced and driven out of their homes due to the military operation carried out in the province.
As Mir Aali Bugti, attired in traditional Baloch dress with a turban on his head, walked inside the hall, his supporters chanted slogans in support of the Bugti tribe and their late leader Akbar Bugti. Mir Aali carried the traditional Balochi sward in his hands which symbolized his empowerment as the chief of the tribe. The crowning ceremony was initiated by Pir Amir Khan of Pir Sori darbar and was completed after the tribal elders from other clans also took part by completing the fixing of the tribal turban on the head of their new chief.
No son of Akbar Bugti, either Talal Akbar Bugti or Jameel Akbar Bugti, attended the ceremony.
Strict serurity arrangements had been made to mark the occasion. The town of Sui had been sealed from all directions to avoid any untoward incident.
Speaking on the occasion, the new chief of the Bugti tribe appealed for unity among his tribesmen and promised to work for the welfare of the Bugtis who had been the victim of a conflict for the past few years. He paid tributes to his slain grandfather Nawab Bugti and extolled the latter’s services for the Bugti tribe.
Mir Aali Bugti is the son of former member of the national assembly and the eldest son of Nawab Bugti, late Mir Saleem Akbar Bugti. Aali was recently reported as saying that the situation in Dera Bugti had remarkably improved and the current government was not carrying out an operation in the area.
“ Had I not decided to come back to Dear Bugti, the area would have remained here but the Bugtis would have been eliminated,” he said, “ I have decided to return to my home town in order to protect the Bugtis from further displacement and sufferings.”
However, Mir Aali is not being fully supported by all factions of the Bugti tribe. A Quetta-based son of Nawab Bugti, Nawabzada Talal Akbar Bugti, insists that Mir Aali has being pitted by the intelligence agencies against him and his tribesmen to create tribal rifts. Similarly, the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) has alleged that the jirga was being sponsored by the government but it lacks the support of all Bugti clans.
On the other hands, the supporters of Nawabzada Bramdagh Bugti, another grandson of Nawab Bugti, who has become more popular than Aali Bugti due to the ongoing insurgency that he is leading, rejected Aali as the successor of Nawab Bugti. “The only man who can lead the Bugti tribe is Nawabzada Bramdagh Bugti,” says Mir Wadood Raisani, a leader of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) headed by 28-year old Bramdagh Bugti.
According to the Baloch tribal traditions, the chief of a tribe is supposed to be succeeded by the eldest son of the tribal elder. In case, the sons of the tribal chief are dead then the eldest grandson is inducted as the tribal chief. However, when Nawab Bugti had decided to nominate Nawabzada Bramdagh Bugti as his successor during his life time, several tribal elders had resisted the decision saying that they would not accept any other tribal chief in the life time of Nawab Bugti.
In the last days of his life, Nawab Bugti had informally appointed Bramdagh has his political successor and Mir Aali as the tribal successor. Since the killing of Nawab Bugti, the Bugti tribe and his political party, the Jamori Watan Party (JWP) have experienced serious differences and infightings.