“Baloch Nelson Mandela” Sardar Akhtar Mengal brought the issue of enforced disappearances to the front burner in Pakistan politics and is returning to London after a brief stopover in Dubai.
“For five whole days Sardar Akhtar Mengal was the main source of gravitational pull in capital Islamabad,” Dr. Jehanzeb Jamaldini, acting president of the Balochistan National Party, said on phone from Quetta.
Jamaldini,who lost three close relatives to extrajudicial killings by Pakistan secret services, said the Balochistan National Party believed in politics of mass mobilization and democratic struggle and would not be discouraged by criticism.
He said during his stay in Islamabad, not only political leaders but opinion leaders from civil society, lawyers, intellectuals and human rights leaders all met Mengal in large numbers.
Former senator Sana Ullah Baloch also accompanied Mengal during the visit and left with him.
In the Washington DC area, former speaker of Balochistan assembly Waheed Baloch said in spite of some criticism on Mengal’s visit, he believes that efforts should be made to persuade the other stakeholders that Mengal’s stance is correct.
“There are many petty, vested and special interests of multiple players involved,” Baloch, who has the reputation of being a honest politician and straight talker said. But he emphasized, “There is no need to condemn anyone who does not agree with Mengal’s viewpoint at this time.”
Some Baloch politicians, who are now living in the West, had accused Mengal of entering into a deal with Islamabad. The toughest criticism on Mengal came from hardliners, who are being blamed by the general populace of adopting the suicidal path for the folks back in Balochistan while they themselves remain out of harms way in safety of the West.
However, Dr. Wahid Baloch, president of the Baloch Society of North America, welcomed Mengal wise decision to return and hold out an olive branch, even if it is a part of deal, as many have claimed.
.”I think it is better for Akhat Jan Mengal and all other Baloch leaders to return to Balochistan and be among their own people to lead and organizes them instead of being away from them, non-functional in exile,” Dr. Baloch said.
Sardar Akhtar Mengal was chief minister of Balochistan in the late 1990s, while his father Sardar Ataullah Mengal was on the same seat in the early 1970s. The military establishment let neither father nor son ro complete their full tenure in office.
During his appearance before the Supreme Court, Mengal presented a six-point solution to the bleeding wounds of Balochistan that mainly focussed on the military and secret services dirty war in Balochistan and control of politics.
Mengal’s six-point plan received support from two key players in Pakistan politics, former premier Nawaz Sharif and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, among a wide array of public opinion leaders.
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who is believed to be one of the most influential leaders in Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League because of his blood ties in the military general headquarters, also defended Mengal’s six point plan for sanity and sobriety in Balochistan.
A Baloch tribal chief who has allegedly killed countless of members of his tribes with his own hand, Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, earlier came out with a statement saying Sharif did not support Mengal.
Zehri is considered to be a right-hand man of exiled Baloch tribal personality, Khan of Kalat Mir Suleman Daud, who is now in Cardiff, U.K. The Khan of Kalat, who earlier this year allegedly allied himself with the Jondullah organization — declared a terrorist outfit by the U.S. Department of State — and Zehri both came out with a statement against Mengal on the same day.