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Baloch have reached point of no return


By Sajid Hussain

Karachi: Veteran politician Sardar Sherbaz Khan Mazari has said that the Baloch have reached the point of no return and had he been younger he would have joined the Baloch struggle in the mountains.

In an exclusive interview with The News, Mazari said that Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti’s assassination had created a wide gap between the federation and the Baloch which was difficult to bridge.

“Akbar Khan [Bugti] called me via satellite phone weeks before his assassination. He wanted to say goodbye to me because he knew he would be killed sooner or later. I told him that I wanted to (fight) along with him, but he replied in his characteristic style: ‘No Sherbaz, you are too old to fight with me’. The fact is that he was older than me,” said the 79-year-old politician-cum-intellectual.

Mazari was particularly harsh about General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. “He is a very lowly and cheap person. I first saw him at a gathering where he was invited out of my knowledge. He came to me and said ‘I’m a commando’. I said, ‘So what if you are a commando!’” Mazari was of the view that Musharraf should be punished for his crimes against the Baloch.

A Harvard University graduate, Sherbaz Mazari started his political career by supporting Fatima Jinnah against Ayub Khan in the 1964 presidential polls. He became a member of the National Assembly in 1970 and since then he has seen the ups and downs of Pakistan politics as a very close observer.

He said that when he had visited Shaikh Mujeebur Rahman for negotiations, he was told by some Bengali leaders that the Baloch would be the next victims of the establishment after Bengalis. “I had not realised this at that time, but history has proved that they were right,” he said.

On the Balochistan package, the seasoned politician said that he would not support any package until it is accepted by the Baloch nation. “The genuine grievances of the Baloch could only be addressed with honest efforts,” he said, adding that the operation in Balochistan should be stopped immediately.

Pakistan, Mazari said, was a multi-national state and all nations inhabiting the country should be given their due cultural, political and financial rights. “If Baloch, Sindhis, Seraikis, Pakhtuns and others want the demarcation of provinces on the basis of nationalities, no one should have any objection to it. Personally, I believe that the question of nationalities should be solved within the federation of Pakistan,” he said.

He supported the Supreme Court’s verdict on the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). “Despite being a Chaudhry, the chief justice seems to be an honest person. As a Baloch, I will support anyone who fights for justice,” Mazari said, adding however that Aitzaz Ahsan was “playing his cards” to get hold of a public office.

Once a close friend of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) founder and former prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Mazari has not forgiven Bhutto for the 1970s military operation in Balochistan. “Benazir used to call me uncle. I told her, ‘Yes, I’m your uncle, but not from your father’s side’. Bhutto wronged the Baloch,” Mazari maintained.

Also read: Let Me Bury My Brother With Honor

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