Supporters of the militant Baloch Liberation Army have taken an aim at the main freedom icon Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri and have accused him of nepotism for supporting his youngest and most loved son Mehran Baluch.
A war of words is being witnessed in the pro-militant Daily Tawar newspaper over the last couple of weeks, but the most explosive among them was an article last week by Salam Sabir, a former spokesperson for the militant Baloch Students Organization Azad.
The militant student organization has lost more than a hundred activists in the newest Baloch uprising since 2005.
The article by Salam Sabir was taken off the web by the Daily Tawar newspaper eleven hours later.
“The biggest misfortune of the Baloch national movement is that instead of organization, principle, belief, ideology and goal, we have promoted personalities,” Sabir said, reserving his ire for Nawab Marri and his youngest son Mehran Baluch, who has been raising a voice for Balochistan at the U.N. Human Rights Council for more than 10 years now.
“We thought and came to belief to a great extent that Nawab Marri would never compromise on principles and would never give precedence to blood ties on national imperatives, but are sorry that we were wrong,” Sabir wrote in his hard hitting piece.
“The sapling that was planted by Nawab Marri by his own hands was nurtured by the present generation of youngsters by their blood to become a tall tree, that very fruitful tree is now being uprooted by Nawab Marri because of his compromise on principles and double standards,” Sabir wrote, asking “What is the reason? The Baloch people need to know.”
Sabir wrote that the era of family and tribal politics has ended and accused the veteran leader of trying to conceal the truth to save the “political image of his son Mehran Marri.”
However, Mehran Baluch appeared to be elated over the charges levelled against him by B.L.A. supporters.
“This proves beyond any doubt that I enjoy my father’s support,” he said on phone from Dubai.
Sabir asked, “What license does Nawab Marri have to keep the Baloch youths, who have put their lives on the line and left their families and in many cases lost their aged fathers, in the dark.”
Sabir accused Nawab Marri of being well aware of his favorite son’s activities and said it was on record that even a European parliament member had expressed shock at Mehran Baluch’s lavish style.
However, Mehran Baluch’s friends say he mostly stays at moderate price places whenever he goes to Geneva to attend the U.N. Human Rights Council.
The former BSO Azad spokesperson asked Nawab Marri to answer “How come he had given Mehran Baluch and Brahumdagh Bugti the go-ahead to form an alliance with Sardar Akhtar Mengal and his Pakistan-backed party?”
Mengal, a former chief minister of Pakistan’s largest Balochistan province, is called “Baloch Nelson Mandela,” and heads the largest Balochistan National Party. Mengal believes in politics of moderation, political mobilization and democratic struggle, but is under attack of the hardliners.
Mengal’s highly successful visit to Islamabad to appear before the supreme court in the last week of September created a political storm in Pakistan.
Sabir appears to be close to Nawab Marri’s second to last son London-based Hyrbyair Marri, who is accused by Islamabad of being the operational commander of the Baloch Liberation Army. He describes Hyrbyair Marri as a man who upholds organizational principles, but paints Mehran Baluch as a fame seeker.
The B.L.A. was proscribed by the U.K. government in fall 2006. The British High Commissioner to Pakistan recently indicated that London would take action against Baloch militant leaders on U.K. soil if Islamabad provides sufficient proof of their involvement in terrorism.
Sabir’s article coincided with another article by Oslo-based columnist Hafeez Hassanabadi, in which he attacked not only the Mengal family for allegedly selling out to Islamabad, but also Mehran Baluch and Brahumdagh Bugti for being politically naive.
Hassanabadi in particular confronted Brahumdagh Bugti, 32, who heads the Baloch Republican Party and is now exiled in Zurich, for forming an alliance with Mir Javed Mengal, a brother of Akhtar Mengal. Nawab Marri stays at the home of Javed Mengal, who is his son-in-law, in Karachi.
Hassanabadi, who is now a paid adviser of Hyrbyair Marri, had previously worked as the campaign manager of Lt. Gen. Abdul Qadir Chana’al in the 2008 elections that were boycotted by Baloch nationalist parties.
According to Balochistan observers, after the killing of former Balochistan governor and chief minister Nawab Akbar Bugti and provincial assembly member Mir Balach Marri, the militant movement has gone into highly inexperienced hands.
About two weeks ago, Hyrbyair Marri fired the first salvo at Brahumdagh Bugti and in a Press release accused Bugti of not answering his phone or emails regarding a so-called Freedom Charter, handwritten by a group of his paid advisers.
In response, Bugti said the Freedom Charter had published a “lie” in its preamble that it was endorsed by Nawab Marri. He said his people were in constant touch with Nawab Marri and there was no such endorsement.
“Nawab Marri has neither endorsed nor rejected the charter. His attitude is indifferent,” Mehran Baluch confirmed from Dubai.
Instead of brainstorming issues at the central committee of a mass political organization, Hyrbyair Marri relies on the counsel of paid advisers. He is said to believe in militancy rather than popular politics that requires painstaking and meticulous work.
As such under his command the B.L.A. has carried out and owned some actions that were never heard of before in Baloch martial history like the killing of Professor Nazima Talib in spring 2010. According to Baloch martial traditions females, children, aged, sick, and the invalid are not touched during conflicts.
Baloch militants have also bombed buses carrying children and opened indiscriminate firing on trains carrying civilians.
Another hardline leader is Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch, who according to Pakistani media was allegedly tortured and humiliated by Pakistan secret services while under detention at a secret torture cell in 2006. His chief aide is Gulf-based terrorist Borhan Arifee, who advocates killing the entire Mengal family and all 70,000 members of the moderate National Party.
However, Mehran Baluch has made it clear he does not believe the militants have the right to become judge, jury and executioner. He has also opposed the killing of poor Punjabi settlers and has tried to build bridges with other stakeholders in Balochistan, in particular the B.N.P.
In fact, a Punjabi friend of Mehran Baluch had posted the 300,000 pound sterling bail money for Hyrbyair Marri when he was tried on a charge of terrorism at the Old Bailey in London three years ago.
Former Pakistan skipper and Tehrik-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, who is also from Punjab, appeared as the key defense witness in the case.