Published On: Thu, Aug 31st, 2006

Iron Hand Kills Bugti

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After dominating the Baloch political scene for 50 years the 79 year old Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti leader of the Bugti tribe was killed by the state in a military operation on Saturday 27 August 2006. Musharraf has said that “Whoever wants to harm Pakistan nationally or internationally would have to fight with me first”. He reiterated on Monday 28 August that elements trying to inflict harm to Pakistan in general and development of Balochistan in particular will be dealt with an iron hand.

We live in 21st century and the civilised societies have a political system that has graduated far beyond the Hobbesian, Lockian and Roussean philosophies of political disciplines. All civilised nations around the world since some time have decided to discharge all civic obligations in ‘plural’ and have discarded the ‘singular’ claim. It is because the latter does embed a sense of ‘inheritance’ in person. The ‘iron hand’ of a single person is replaced by a due process of law.

The general seems to have relapsed back in time and has misconstrued his obligation towards Pakistan, nationally and internationally. He has skipped the reality that armies around the globe have lost their killing instinct and have turned democratic instead. The army of Pakistan cannot be an exception.

Killing of Bugti is no credit to Pakistan or an institution of Pakistan. He has been a former provincial governor and has been leading a fight for his people, demanding a larger share in the resources of the gas-rich province and more rights for the native Baloch people in government and development. This makes Bugti a Pakistani in exactness to what one could infer from Musharraf’s understanding of a good Pakistani.

Musharraf has got his definition wrong many a time. Unfortunately Musharraf got it wrong when he fumed fire against Human Rights Lawyer Asma Jehangir on her modest desire to feel free to express her opinions in Delhi. He wanted to make an example out of her. Luckily fortune still smiles on her shoulder. She is in one piece.

He got it wrong a second time in regard to Bugti. And he is abysmally dead wrong this time again. He remains responsible for the death of another human person who made a conscious error of demanding a larger share in the resources of the gas-rich province and more rights for the native Baloch people in government and development. He is a humanist and a general defending the people and the domicile that reared him till Saturday the August 27. Defending your resources and demanding your rights does not make one an enemy of Pakistan.

If one goes by Musharraf’s definition then all blacks of the state of Louisiana demanding and defending their rights could be classed as anti Bush or anti America deserving a military operation. It makes Spike Lee’s epic and complicated documentary, “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts,” which poignantly weaves reams of astonishing footage into a complex, heartfelt examination of the fate of both a city and the nation that seemed to stand by as it was swallowed by the sea a subversive act meriting a death in a military operation.

Musharraf’s understanding makes film Katrina by Estee Blancher, a film student at CSU Monterey Bay who was granted an independent study to return to her home state of Louisiana to document the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, an anti state act. Fortunately Bush with all his killing instincts, has not the freedom to slip down the plural faith that his society has progressed upwards from the days of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau.

Musharraf is a defender of the constitution and has to yield to the supremacy of law. Pakistan is a result of democratic aspirations. It is not an inheritance. The death of Bugti remains embedded in many answerable questions. The first and foremost doubt is raised by the former governor of Punjab Ghulam Mustafa Khar that Bugti had told him some eight months before that army was planning to kill him. The second doubt is raised by the former care taker prime minister Mir Balukh Sher Mazari that army had surrounded Bugti for three days and instead of arresting him for a due process of law opted for an ‘iron hand’. This version makes it a targeted killing?

There is anger from Quetta to Karachi. Every decent human being around the globe who desires Pakistan to progress and prosper and who wants rule of law take roots in Pakistan is left aghast.

It is reported that 600 protesters, mostly Baloches, including two MPAs have been arrested in Quetta alone. It is not the first time that Pakistan army has found a cause to march on its own people. In early 1950s it has marched on non Pakistanis in Poonch, Azad Kashmir as well. Rather than defending it has the honour of offending the territorial integrity of its own country.

One can agree a full hundred percent with Musharraf and one is tempted to inculcate the level of fearlessness that general has evinced. He has said that “I only fear Almighty and nothing… Nothing else can scare me out”. However, those who “fear Almighty” alone, by practice keep out the reasons of ‘revenge’.

It is reported that general was entertaining a grudge against Bugti since December last when his helicopter was attacked by Balochi resistance. If a taste for revenge has contributed to this military operation to kill Bugti, then Musharraf is all wrong in faith and in practice. If ‘revenge’ sleeps in the womb of military operation – it makes it a state murder.

Supreme Court Bar association president Justice (retired) Malik Qayyum has called for a suo moto cognizance by the chief justice of the supreme court of Pakistan in regard to the killing of a man who was about to turn 80 and was demanding a larger share in the resources of the gas-rich province and more rights for the native Baloch people in government and development.

If Bugti had lived in the United Kingdom he would have got a personal message from Her Majesty the Queen on turning 80. In Pakistan Musharraf sent him a special messenger of death before he could turn 80. It is time that the general sits quiet and broods over that he cannot be larger than life. Ayyub, Yahya and Zia could not be larger than life. If the good and welfare of Pakistan sits in the deeps of his heart he should pile all the ‘iron rods’ for blacksmith’s use and go for defending the due process of law.

General should look over and above his shoulder and listen to what the former care taker prime minister Mir Balukh Sher Mazari has said – “…the slain leader was not fighting for his personal interests but for entire Baloch nation. He will go down in history as martyr”. The former prime minister’s statement that “Musharraf is using army to settle personal accounts”, cuffs the iron hand of general Musharraf for a due process of law.

General has to be reminded that “What is the source of justice, or of any virtue? Is it the state, as Plato thought in his utopian period, or is it the rational faculty of human beings, as Socrates said? Is it collective historical experience that evolves a mindset of progress, or is it God conferring a divine right to whomever embraces a justifying interpretation of power?”

From collective experience came constitutions and declarations. From divine right and the “will of the people” come kings, potentates, and dictators. But in the end, all unnatural and contrived expressions, whether of power, divine inspiration, or seizing of opportune historical moments, are destined to pass.

Humanity fails to embrace justice because it fails to comprehend that these aforementioned are not its source. Justice comes not from anything humans create. Justice comes from the universe and from nature. Bugti shall rise and live in the hearts of his people and those who have a desire that rule of law takes roots in Pakistan, would remain bewildered, whether ‘iron hand’ is an unnatural and contrived expression, ‘destined to pass’ or whether the people of Pakistan are tailored to be greeted and treated with an ‘iron hand’.


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