Guest blogged by Winter Patriot
Online News [Pakistan] September 6, 2006: NATO forces be deployed in Balochistan: BNP [emphasis added, here and below]
He said this while addressing a press conference in cafeteria of parliament here Tuesday. He told BNP had decided to resign from senate , national assembly, provincial assembly and district government.
He alleged the incumbent government and the generals are murderers of Nawab Akbar Bugti. Forces be withdrawn from Balochistan and NATO troops be deployed there.
What? Did we miss something?
Apparently! Somewhere in between the hunt for the real reason why Rashid Rauf was arrested and the stunning interruption in the Pakistani cricket tour to Britain, we did miss something of importance. I've been meaning to blog about it, but in the midst of everything else it hasn't quite risen to the top of my To-Do List --- until now!
Quotes and links from relevant stories you may have missed, below the fold:
BBC News, August 27: Pakistan says key rebel is dead
The battle near his mountain hideout in south-west Pakistan caused heavy casualties, reports say.
At least five soldiers and at least 30 rebels are thought to have died.
A 24-hour curfew has been imposed in the city of Quetta where hundreds of students from Balochistan university rioted at news of the death.
The octogenarian was at the head of a tribal campaign to win political autonomy and a greater share of revenue from Balochistan's gas reserves.
Press Trust Of India, August 28, 2006: Balochistan in flames after Pak Army kills top leader --- Bugti killed in missile attack: Red alert across Pak, curfew in Quetta after riots; Pak Opposition warns of 1971-like situation
Pakistan was put on high alert and curfew imposed in the provincial capital Quetta, a day after 80-year-old Bugti was killed after the Army launched air strikes in the mountains of the province where the rebel chieftain was hiding.
“It is confirmed Nawab Bugti has been killed in an operation,” Information Minister Muhammad Ali Durrani said here. The Baloch leader’s son-in-law, Senator Agha Bugti, also said Bugti was killed in the military operation. Reports said the hideout of Bugti was discovered through a satellite phone tracking system.
Besides the British-educated tribal leader, 38 armed rebels, including Bugti’s two grandsons, were killed in the fighting. Twenty one security personnel also lost their lives, media reports quoted Defence officials as saying.
As news of Bugti’s death spread, parts of Balochistan, including Quetta, experienced heavy violence and rioting. Angry mobs ransacked and torched banks, petrol pumps and government offices and vehicles. People also fired on police, said Quetta’s top police official Syed Muhammad.
Abdul Sattar on the AP wire via the Houston Chronicle, August 27: Riots grow over tribal chief's death --- Some fear his killing by troops will widen conflict, radicalize youths
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told Pakistani television that Nawab Akbar Bugti's death Saturday was "the darkest chapter in Pakistan's history."
Police arrested 450 people for rioting, but the violence spread from Baluchistan province into neighboring Sindh province, where ethnic Baluchis burned tires in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi.
Political leaders and analysts feared the killing of 79-year-old Bugti, a champion of greater rights for ethnic Baluch tribespeople, could influence more young Pakistanis to take up militancy.
AP's Abdul Sattar again, this time via The State [South Carolina], August 28: More rioting hits southwestern Pakistan
"This is a major event in Baluch history. We didn't join this country in 1947 to have our tribal elders, political leaders and children killed," said opposition leader Kachkul Ali Baluch.
Three opposition lawmakers were briefly taken into custody in Quetta but were freed after questioning about the street violence, said Mayor Mir Maqbool Ahmed Lehri.
Bugti died when Pakistani troops, backed by helicopters, attacked his cave hide-out in the Kohlu area, about 140 miles east of Quetta, officials said. Authorities say the cave's roof collapsed, killing Bugti and 24 of his fighters.
and there's a lot more...
Pakistan Dawn, September 1: It’s target killing: Marri
He also said that it was an untimely ‘mode of resistance’ and the late Bugti should have adopted it in the early days.
Sardar Marri said he was not against Punjabis as a whole but detested the fact that Punjab did not practically endorse the rights and autonomy of smaller provinces.
He accused them of colluding with the ‘establishment’ in usurping the rights of other provinces. About the life and safety of Nawab Bugti’s grandsons, he said that he prayed for their safety and was determined to assist them.
About the committee which had been formed to held talks with Nawab Bugti, he said it was a camouflage to hide the real intentions of the government.
He said that a team had approached President Gen Pervez Musharraf with assurances of holding dialogue with Mr Bugti, but the president backed out because the dialogue would have involved only the JWP chief while others would have stayed out of it without making any commitment. —Online
In between everything else, I'll try to keep you up-to-date on this very interesting --- and potentially volatile --- situation.