If the Mengals, half the Bugtis are on board, can the other Marris (Khair Buksh Marris’s clan) be far behind Power politics in Balochistan has been a revolving door between the Bizenjos, Marris, Bugtis, Mengals and others. Some say Balochistan is in the hands of Allah or Allah Nazar. Others say, the Sardars are the problem and need to be eliminated altogether.
No one Sardar can speak for all 250 tribes. Imagine a population of 50 lakhs divided into 250 factions, geographic locations, different religions and varying political alliances. The Baloch issue is all about the Sardars and who is aligned with whom. The Bugtis, Marris, Menglas, Mekran, Kharan and Nushki, are totally controlled by the Sardars. A dozen folks run the destiny of Pakistan’s largest province. Bribe these Sardars and everything is resolved–antagonize them and you have a revolt.
Sardar Justice Khuda Bakhs Marri has written several books on Balochistan and Baloch history and poetry. There are more than 250 Baloch tribes ( http://baask.com/diwwan/index.php?topic=4957.0). He describes the traditions, culture and languages of those who reside in what is today called Balochistan.
According to Marri and others Baloch speak many languages. Some speak Balochi, some speak Sindhi (Talpur, Zardari), others speak Barouhi (Nichari, Pirkani, Qalandrani, Qambrani, Sasoli, Sumalani, Zarakzai, Zehri), some speak Badini,Dagarzai, Jamaldini (Rakshani ), some speak Mamasani (Muhammad Hasni), some speak Persian (Dehwar) while others speak Arabic (Sahibzada).
Towards the end of the first Anglo-Afghan War (1838-42) the demographic state of this region was 300,000 Brahuis, 200,000 Pushtuns and only 80,000 Baluchis. As per the last census of 1998, the province has a population of about 6.566 million. According to an earlier 1981 Census Report, linguistically, there were 38.28 percent Baloch, 25.15 percent Pushtuns and 22.02 percent Brahuis and the remainder 14.55 percent spoke other languages.
The latest Census Report of Balochistan Province of 1998, has grouped together Balochis and Brahuis, making a total of 54.76 percent besides 45.24 per cent Pushtuns and others, who speak Sindhi, Punjabi, Saraiki, Urdu, etc. There are 7 million Baloch, and 40% of Balochistan is Pushto speaking, with other nationalities making up the other 10%.
The huge province of present day Balochistan was a construction in 1947. After 1947, some of he states still existed. During the Yahya Khan era, the states were abolished, but instead of creating new provinces out of them, Yahya simply incorporated Bhawalpur into Punjab, and all these other states into Balochistan, creating huge unmanageable “provinces” which never existed before. So in the province cobbled together by amalgamating Kalat, British Balochistan, Lasbela and other others, the Baloch are a minority. What is now called Balochistan is actually a conglomeration of many states, nationalities, racial and religious groups.
Historically it was a follows:
1) British Balochistan included districts obtained by treaty or conquered or obtained on lease.
2) Balochistan Agency included the native states of Kalat, Las Bela, Kharan and the Tribal Areas of Marris, Bugtis, Mengals and others. The British Political Agent dealt with these states and tribes. Kalat itself was made up of several states who did not owe allegiance to the Khan of Kalat.
On June 3, 1947, the British Government held a referendum in Balochistan. They convened “Shahi Jirga, excluding the Sardars nominated by the Kalat State, and the non-official members of Quetta Municipality” to decide the future of Balochistan.
“Fifty four members of the Shahi Jirga and Quetta Municipality voted en bloc to join Pakistan. The eight non-Muslim members of the Quetta Municipality and the Shahi Jirga (seven Hindus and one Parsi) did not attend the meeting.” The then member of the Indian Central Assembly from British Balochistan, Nawab Muhammad Khan Jogazai, therefore, joined the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and not of India. Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, addressed Sibi Darbar (i.e. Sibi Court) in Balochistan on February 14, 1948, expressed the desire “of improving the lot of our people in this Province and of enabling them to secure for themselves the same position and the sa.e political status within the polity of Pakistan, which are open to their brethren in other provinces”.
Now getting to the present,
I met Sardar Mohammad Khan Raisini on Eid day in 2010. The “shamiana” had Pakistani paper flags and he was meeting and greeting everyone. A couple of Pakistan flags had fallen down, I picked them up and was putting them in my pocket. I didn’t realize anyone was watching me. Sardar Raisani noticed me, walked over and thanked me, took the flags from my hand and put them in his own pocket.
On the same day I also met one of the Mengal Sardars. He was of the mindset that the US would never leave Afghanistan, and would move in and support Baloch elements. At the time the US was building a huge Consulate in Quetta. His mindset was definitely Pro-Indian and Anti-Pakistan. We had a long discussion and some said it was an argument. However a lot of water has gone down the Indus since 2010–when it was thought that the US would stay in Afghanistan perennially and forever. President Musharraf has publicly stated that “The chiefs of Bugti, Marri and Mengal (tribes) are involved in the prevailing condition of Balochistan. The Balochistan Liberation Armyis a terrorist organisation which is targeting non-locals in the province. The present government has failed to tackle the province’s issues,” said Musharraf.
The former head of the Pakistani Army, Mr. Pervez Musharraf claimed that “the likes of Shahzain Bugti, Talal Bugti and others are being funded by foreign forces but the former President is confident about the defense of the country. He believes, “Shahzain Bugti, Talal Bugti and others have contacts with foreign elements. Not a single inch of the country would disintegrate in the presence of Pakistan Army.”
Mr. Musharraf had first hand experience. When he wanted to go to Agra, the likes of Khair Buksh Marri were in jail (convicted for the murder of the brother of the the venerable Justice pro-Pakistan Khuda Buksha Marri). Justice Khuda Buksh Marri was a London, Lincoln’s Inn graduate, a self-made man and one who was a pillar of strength.
The former governor of Balochista, K.B. Marri had refused to sign General Zia Ul Haq‘s LFO (PCO) and had resigned instead. Musharraf made a deal with the bad Marri Khair Buksh Marri, released him from jail, and Khair Buksh made a deal with India and Musharraf was able to go to Agra. On his return, he took strct action against the Bugtis and the bad Marris and also the Mengals.
In the meantime Sardar Khuda Buksh Marri died of natural causes in Switzerland (may God bless his soul), while Khair Buksh Marri is in London and other places. Khair Bakhs Marri wanted to unite the Marris through marriage, but the Bajrani Marris rebuffed the overtures of reconciliation through marriage. A major development was the Mengal-Marri (Non Bijrani) alliance though marriage. Sardar Akhtar Mengal’s brother Javed Mengal married the daughter of Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri. Thus the Mengals and at least half the Marris are in alliance today. How the wheel turns in Balochistan.
After Bhutto came into power he formed alliance with the Nawab Akbar Bugtiwho was revered and feared by his people. As governor of Balochistan, he instigated Bhutto to launch the military action in 1973, primarily against his arch rivals the Marris and Mengals. Fast forward to the Musharraf era. Nawab Raisani was the Chief Minister of Balochistan. He convinced Musharraf to launch at attack on the rival Bugtis. At the time the Marris were fully aligned with Musharraf while the Mengals were opposing Musharraf.
There is concrete proof that the Marris assisted the army in exposing the Bugti hideout in a Marri area (Tantri). The Marris took revenge on Akbar Bugti’s for instigating the 1973 military operation against them. The Bajrani clan of the Marris are almost always aligned with the government in Islamabad. The question is where the Khair Baksh Marris beloning to Khair Baksh Marri joined the Khuda Baksh Marris in eliminating the Bugti Sardar, or was is only one of the Marri factions?
When Zardari took over, he released the Mengals. However due to personal conflict, Sardar Mengal did not personally thank Mr. Zardari and actually left for London. Mr. Zardari felt rebuffed and continued to ask the army to pursue the Mengals. That was then, and this is now. Sardar Akhtar Mengal has gone to the Supreme Court and submitted a statement.
It is obvious that Mr. Mengal wants a piece of the action in the post-Zardar, post-Musharraf era. It is believed that the Mengal Sardari is in touch with all the bad boys of Balochistan. News reports indicate that he has discussions and developed consensus with the so called “moderates” of the National Party, the Jamhoori Watan Party and other Baloch nationalists headquartered in Dubai.
Mengal is also said to have met the exiled leader of the separatist Balochistan Liberation Army, Harbiyar Marri, in London. Both Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan have supported him and his six points. There is nothing in the six points that cannot or should not be implemented. They are logical and sane. Sardar Mengal however also wants the army to crack down on, and cold storage, pro-ISI, pro-Pakistan militant groups like the Baloch Musallah Difa Tanzim.
The Army on the other hand wants Javid Mengal to dismantle the Lashkar-e-Balochistan. Here is lies the rub. Akhtar Mengal can deliver the Lashkar e Taliban and gauge the army and the state into giving him power in Balochistan. They could then go after their rivals the Bugtis and the remnants of the Marris who have not joined them.
The question arises–why did Sardar Akhtar Mengal and former Senator Sanaullah Balochmake a trek to Islamabad, meet all the politicians and worked the media circuit and talked to several Talk-show hosts? The answer complex. There is a lot of conjecture and conspiracy theories. Some of the factors that may be at play are as follows:
- It is now an announced certainty that the US will leave Afghanistan in 2013
- According to various US and UK intelligence assessment, it is also a certainty that the government in Kabul will not survive the onslaught of the Talibs
- The US has refused to furnish planes to the Afghan National Army (ANA) and also has refused to “defend” the ANA in the face of shelling from Pakistan
- Mr. Karzai will not be office in Kabul after 2014–he is constitutionally barred from running for a third term in office.
- The US is no longer interested in brokering a peace deal of building nation out of the various factions in Afghanistan
- Sanity in India is not interested in entering the Afghan imbroglio. Thus the Northern Alliance is an orphan, not supported either by Iran or Russia either. It is believed that India is under pressure not to participate in Balochistan any more.
- After the US departure the Mengals, Bugtis, and the bad Marris would have lost their sponsors in Afghanistan
- Nawaz Sharif in a brilliant move suggested the name of Sardar Akhtar Mengal as the interim Prime Minister of Pakistan. Initially this was rebuffed by Mengal. The next thing we know, he arrives in Islamabad and begins talking to everyone. It is our analysis that the Sarar is very interested in becoming the PM and thus affecting the situation in Balochistan. This would also give him an edge over his rival Sardars the Marris and the Bugtis and the Achakzais etc
- The departure of US troops from Afghanistan leaves that area controlled by the Talibs–which have no love lost for Baloch leaders.
- With their bases gone, the Sardars will be eliminated from their constituencies, where either younger tribal leaders will replace them or the Sardari system will simply die.
- With half the Marris and the Bugtis in his hand, Akhtar Mengal can control the rest of the Bugtis and possibly all the Marris.
If Sardar Mengal runs in the elections, his party could get a serious chunks of the votes in the Baloch assembly. With power comes economic advantages etc. A wild card not in the equation is Allah Nazar. Dr. Allah Nazar the son of Nabi Bukhsh Baloch.
A former member of the Baloch Students Organization he is a hard core militant and the top leader of the Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF). One of Bugti’s son is also running in the next elections. If some of the Bugtis and the Mengals run in the elections, the bad Bugtis and the bad Marris (already in matrimonial alliance with the Mengals) will be left behind.
It is our analysis, the if the Mengals run, the other tribes will also begin running. External factors influence each of the tribes. It is a matter of fact that the neighboring countries and world powers fish in troubled waters. The arrival of Mengal in Islamabad is a golden opportunity that has to be grabbed. Already the Army Chief and all the major political parties have endorsed Mengal’s demands. It is all in the hands of the winners and losers of the next elections.