Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti

Nawab Akbar Shahbaz Khan Bugti (July 12, 1927–August 26, 2006) was the Tumandar (head) of the Bugti tribe of Baluch and served as Minister of State for Interior and Governor of Balochistan Province in Pakistan. He received his early education from the towering personality of Allama I. I. Kazi. An Oxford-educated man, he was a towering personality in Baloch politics for more than five decades.

After an armed struggle started in Balochistan in 2004, Bugti was widely perceived as a leader but went underground in 2005. On August 26, 2006, after several attempts were made on his life in the preceding months, he was killed in his cave in Kohlu, about 150 miles east of Quetta, leading to widespread unrest in the area, where he is widely regarded as a hero and martyr.
With a wide following that crossed tribal lines among ethnic Baloch groups, the contradictions in this western educated tribal leader roused strong emotions, both positive and negative. Despite making harsh decisions at times, he was considered a pacifist by many and certainly did not espouse a violent path in his early political career. In recent years, he was accused by the Pakistani government of being a warlord and running a well-organized militia, sometimes thought to be the shadowy Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) with members numbering in the thousands. The BLA allegedly ran dozens of militant guerrilla training camps. While campaigning from the mountain ranges of Dera Bugti, he was, according to the Pakistani government, directing a “Omar Mukhtar, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara” style guerrilla war. In July 2006, Pakistani president General Musharraf targeted him through aerial bombing, using air force jets and gunship helicopters. The leader of Balochistan National Party, Sardar Akhtar Mengal said, “The increase in bomb attacks in the Bugti and Marri areas are meant to target Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and his associates” and called upon the international community to take note of the situation.

With names such as The Tiger of Balochistan, The Trade Unionist, or Gas Man (supposedly having ownership of many gasfields), he was a towering figure in the Baloch world. The longstanding conflict in Balochistan stems from the quantum of autonomy the province was promised when they joined Pakistan in 1947 and then under the 1973 Pakistani constitution. Today a large faction continues to campaign, sometimes violently, for an autonomy which Balochistan’s citizens believe to be their due under the promises made to them by various Pakistani leaders. The BLA is painted by the Pakistani government as a “great threat” to law and order in Balochistan and was recently banned by the Government of Pakistan as well as by the United Kingdom.
Akbar Bugti was the son of Nawab Mehrab Khan Bugti and a grandson of Sir Shahbaz Khan Bugti. He was born in Barkhan on July 12, 1927. He was educated at Oxford, England and Aitchison College, Lahore. It is alleged that he committed his first murder when he was only 12 and that he had several men killed to avenge the assassination of his son, (Salal Bugti).Nawab Akbar Bugti was elected in a by-election to the National Assembly of Pakistan in May 1958 to fill the vacancy created as a result of the assassination of the incumbent, Dr Khan Sahib, and sat on the government bench as a member of the ruling coalition.Bugti (Republican) served as Minister of State (Interior) in the government of Prime Minister Malik Sir Feroz Khan Noon (Republican) from September 20, 1958, to October 7, 1958, when the cabinet was dismissed on the declaration of Martial Law by President Iskander Mirza.He was arrested and convicted by a Military Tribunal in 1960 and subsequently disqualified from holding public office. As a result of his legal battles, he did not contest the 1970 general elections. Instead, he campaigned on behalf of his younger brother, Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Bugti, a candidate of the National Awami Party.However, Bugti developed differences with the NAP leadership, especially the new Balochistan Governor, Mir Ghaus Baksh Bizenjo. He informed the Federal Government and President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (Pakistan Peoples Party) of the alleged London Plan, which resulted in the dismissal of the provincial governor as well as the Chief Minister Sardar Ataullah Khan Mengal and his cabinet on February 14, 1973.The next day, the Federal Government appointed Bugti as the Governor of Balochistan, and the Pakistan Army was deployed in the province as part of a crackdown on the National Awami Party.He resigned on January 1, 1974, after disagreeing with the manner in which the Federal Government was carrying out policies in Balochistan. The army had deployed 100,000 men in Baluchistan and with the help of the Iranian airforce killed large numbers of Baluchis. Muhammad Raza Shah Pehlavi, the King of Iran, sent F-14 fighter jets and AH-1 gunships along with his pilots, to help Pakistan Army combat the insurgency. The Pakistani army is alleged to have killed more than 4000 Baluchis, mostly Marri insurgents, in these operations. Akbar Bugti is said to have supported the military action.There was a lull in his activities when General Rahimuddin Khan was appointed Governor of Balochistan in 1978. Bugti remained silent throughout the course of Rahimuddin’s rule, which was often characterized by hostility towards the Baloch Sardars.

In 1988, he joined the Balochistan National Alliance and was elected Chief Minister on February 4, 1989. His government frequently disagreed with the Federal Government led by the Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan Peoples Party).Bugti resigned on August 6, 1990, when the provincial assembly was dissolved by Governor of Balochistan General Muhammad Musa Khan in accordance with the instructions of President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, who was exercising his authority by virtue of Article 58 (2 b) of the Constitution of Pakistan.The incoming caretaker, Chief Minister Mir Humayun Khan Marri, was his son-in-law.For the 1990 General Elections, Bugti formed his own political party, the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP), being Balochistan’s single largest party and was elected to the provincial assembly.In 1993, he was elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan, representing the JWP in parliament. Also, in 1993, Nawab Bugti announced his candidacy to be President of Pakistan but later withdrew his candidacy and announced his support of the eventual winner, Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari. In 1997, Nawab Bugti was re-elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan, representing the JWP.Bugti was involved in struggles, at times armed ones, in Balochistan in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. He led the current movement in Balochistan for greater autonomy. He was the public face and provided political support for the movement while his grandson, Brahamdagh Khan Bugti, led the Bugti tribesmen.
Death:- On Saturday August 26, 2006, around 2230 hrs (PST), Bugti was killed in a bombing operation that caused the cave roof to collapse on him. His location was traced through the satellite phone he was using, and Pakistani secret service agencies pin-pointed his location. (It is not clear if he was pinpointed through a satellite phone) The news of his death was broken to the media by Makhdoom Amin Fahim, leader of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians.Pakistani President, Gen Pervez Musharraf, has termed his death a victory for Pakistanis and congratulated the secret service chief who carried out this operation. Pakistan’s Information Minister Mohammad Ali Durrani, confirmed that the operation included both air and ground assault. In a short telephonic interview made to a private television network, Pakistani Information Minister said that Bugti’s death occurred as the cave he was in collapsed.There have been stories reported in the press that Akbar Bugti’s otherwise Marri allies, who apparently were still embittered by his support of the 1970s military operation against them, exposed his hiding place to the Army, who surrounded the area and sent in a few senior officers in charge of the operation along with a Bugti guide into the Nawab’s cave to negotiate a surrender. Given Akbar Bugti’s renowned stubbornness and non-compromising attitude, it is thought that Bugti or his associates detonated explosives in the case, killing all present inside, including the army negotiators and Akbar Bugti himself. Thus creating a legacy that Bugti was a ‘martyr’ for Baluch rights and freedom.On August 24, 2006, under controversial circumstances, some Bugti tribesmen announced an end to the Nawabi system and requested the handing over of Nawab Bugti to authorities. His property was seized, and he was declared as a “proclaimed offender.
Bugti’s death was followed by rioting by hundreds of students from the state-run Balochistan university. As the news flashed across television screens in Pakistan, the government deployed Rangers and paramilitary forces across major cities to prevent a backlash and impose a curfew in the provincial capital, Quetta. Security arrangements for the Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf have been beefed up to the highest level, and his movement has since been very restricted, fearing a retaliatory attack. Security arrangements have been further enhanced in and around all airports of Pakistan. The media both in Pakistan and outside have severely condemend the killing as the “[m]ilitary’s second biggest blunder after Bhutto’s execution” and calling it a “political nightmare”. Others have likened it to the East Bengal crisis of 1971 where military violence eventually led to the Bangladesh Liberation War.On August 27, 2006, some private media broadcasted news that Bugti’s grandsons, Bramdakh and Mir Ali, are still alive, but no official confirmation has been made.On September 1, 2006 Bugti was buried in Dera Bugti with three locks on cofin, next to the graves of his son and brother. His family, who wanted a public funeral in Quetta, did not attend the burial, their protest against his body was locked in cofin .This is one of the few instances in Asia of a government killing a political leader who had previously served in high official positions as a cabinet minister, Senator, and Governor.

Family:- Akbar Bugti (right) and his Grandson in the mountains of Balochistan.Nawab Mehrab Khan Bugti, son of Sir Shahbaz Khan Bugti had two sons, Nawab Akbar Bugti and Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Bugti. Nawab Akbar Bugti had three wives and six sons and two daughters. His Baloch wife gave birth to four sons: Nawabzada Saleem Khan Bugti, Nawabzada Talal Khan Bugti, Nawabzada Salal Khan Bugti, and Nawabzada Rehan Khan Bugti. Of these four sons, three have died. Nawabzada Salal Bugti was murdered in a shootout in Quetta by the rival Bugti Kalpar sub clan in 1993. Nawab Akbar Bugti’s second wife was a Pathan; she gave birth to Nawabzada Jameel Khan Bugti. Nawab Akbar Bugti’s third wife was Iranian, and she gave birth to Shahzwar Khan Bugti. Jamil Akbar Bugti, Talal Akbar Bugti, and Shahzwar Khan Bugti are the surviving sons of Nawab Akbar Bugti. Sardar Nawab Akbar Bugti’s daughter is married to Mir Balakh Sher Mazari’s son who is the chieftain of the neighbouring Mazari tribe. Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Bugti had four sons: Tanvir Khan, Anees Khan, Farooq Khan, and Naveed Khan. Tanvir Khan, who was the oldest, also passed away in 1991 due to natural causes.The Bugti Grandchildren consist of Brahamdagh Khan Bugti, Mir Aali Khan Bugti, Washane Bugti, Ahmad Marri, Muhammad Marri, Sarang Khan Bugti ,Taleh Bugti, Shahzain Bugti, Gohram Bugti, Tabish Bugti.
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