Cross-posted from The Baloch Hal
An Imposed Hero
Every day has a new reason why Balochistan must continue to remain unstable. While the assassination attempts on the lives of Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani still reverberate in our minds, the murders of two Baloch journalists add to our pessimism about a positive change in the state of affairs in the largest province.
In a fresh development which may contribute to chaos and disorder in some parts of Balochistan, the Frontier Corps (FC) arrested the provincial president of Jamori Watan Party (JWP) Shahzain Bugti. The FC says it received information from its “reliable sources” about the jounior Bugti coming from Pak- Afghan border district Chaman with a large quantity of newly purchased weapons hidden in all 12 cars in the convoy. Bugti’s convoy was intercepted at a check post near Baleli in the outskirts of Quetta. The Baloch leader was arrested and detained at FC headquarters.
According to Major General Ubaidullah, the Inspector General of the Frontier Corps (FC), Shahzain refused to allow checking of his van in spite of three-hour long negotiations with him. So far, no case has been registered against the Bugti leader because the officials say are still investigating him and hoping to get more information about ‘hidden weapons’.
Shahzain was quoted by a private news channel saying that the weapons actually belonged to the FC and he was being falsely implicated in the drug smuggling case. According to BBC Urdu Service, he said was innocent and a conspiracy had been plotted against him.
Shahzain has a valid point as common sense suggests that even the worst of all fools will not fill 12 vans with weapons and drive straight on a regular route with every possibility of being stopped, searched and arrested at umpteen of omnipresent check posts in and outside the provincial capital. As the new development was unfolding, the Bugti grandson flaunted ridiculously about his “foreign contacts” by saying he was going to contact the U.S embassy in Islamabad. On the other hand, Shahzain’s father Talal Bugti, who is the central head of the JWP, convened an urgent meeting of the party and condemned the arrest. The JWP meeting also deliberated over the future course of action in the wake of this fresh unanticipated development.
Shahzain is in fact the most overrated Baloch leader in the views of the Pakistani media. While he is a nobody in Balochistan’s complex politics, no other leader has gained so many opportunities of being depicted as a hero. The latest development once again looks like making a hero out of a non-entity in order to give birth to fake heroes to maintain the status quo in the province. A similar attempt was made much earlier by detaining Shahzain in the alleged custody of the Military Intelligence. There was a great fanfare and media hype about his release but the fellow did not emerge as a hero of the Baloch people. Yet again, the Sharifs of the Pakistan Muslim League also arranged a momentous trip to Lahore for father Talal and son Shahzain Bugti to present them as the genuine leaders of Balochistan.
Thelocal media in Lahore extensively covered the father-son yatra with over-excitment. They pretended to snub the fact that Jamori Watan Party was long dead with the demise of late Nawab Bugti while the father-son team had become less popular than Nawabzada Bramdagh Bugti who had reconfigured JWP as the Baloch Republican Party (JWP).
Shahzain’s arrest coincides with the time when he announced to lead a long march of the Bugti internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Kashmor to Dera Bugti. The displaced Bugtis, who are a victim of former dictator General Musharraf’s antagonistic policies, have been yearning for a while to return home after six years of unmitigated sufferings. The long march, as announced, is scheduled for January 28th but political pundits see it skeptically because Shahzain had announced such plans on plenty of occasions in the past but never implemented them.
We urge the newly appointed Inspector General of the Frontier Corps (FC) to refrain from becoming a tool in the hands of the Establishment by hatching such ugly dramas on Balochistan’s political scene. Shahzain has a long way to go to become a popular leader of the Baloch masses, a goal he can soley accomplish by his own actions not by that of FC. Pitching him against cousin Bramdagh Bugti or any other Baloch leader is insane and a mere extension of Islamabad’s divide and rule game in Balochistan. Likewise, if such dramas backfire, moderate and pro-Islamabad leaders like Shahzain may also end up joining the separatist block.