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September 7, 2006

Rauf Mengal says goodbye to NA

September 7, 2006

ISLAMABAD: Rauf Mengal, the lone member of the Balochistan National Party (BNP) in the National Assembly on Wednesday handed in his resignation to Deputy Speaker Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob after delivering an emotional speech.

“I am quitting in protest against the killing of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in a military operation in Balochistan and against the kidnapping of political workers by the agencies. That leaves me with no reason to continue as a member of this House,” he said in his 20-minute speech heard in pin drop silence.

BNP members in the Balochistan Assembly have already tendered their resignations. As soon as Rauf Mengal handed over his resignation, his colleagues, both from the treasury and the opposition, gave him farewell hugs and warmly shook hands with him, many with tears in their eyes.

From the treasury benches, Riaz Hussain Peerzada, Malik Farooq Azam, Makhdoom Ahmed Alam Anwer, Farooq Amjad Mir, Haider Abbass Rizvi, and Minister of State Ishaq Khan Khakwani bade him farewell.

In order to show solidarity with his colleague, members of the combined opposition staged a token walkout. Earlier, members from both sides and even the speaker tried to persuade Rauf Mengal to change his mind, but they failed to do so. The speaker did not hear his speech as he went to his chamber leaving the House to the deputy speaker who conducted the business afterwards.

In his emotionally charged speech, Rauf Mengal flayed the military operation in Balochistan and condemned the killing of the Baloch struggling to get their due rights. “The killing of elderly Akbar Bugti has increased the sense of deprivation among the people of Balochistan and I am convinced that there is no reason left to continue as member of the House.”

He accused the regime of committing gross human rights violations in the province. Rauf Mengal said the people are celebrating Defence Day while on the other hand Black Day is being observed for the

martyrs in Balochistan and Sindh. “For the last 59 years Balochistan has been targeted and only bombing has become the fate of the people of Balochistan,” he said.

He said the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti at the age of 80 was a gruesome murder and Bugti is a martyr. “His body was not handed over to the heirs, something which can only be condemned as inhuman, callous and contrary to religious injunctions. What message do they want to convey to us by putting a lock on the coffin of Nawab Akbar Bugti,” he asked.

He said Jamil Bugti, son of Nawab Akbar Bugti, has expressed fears that the government would kill DCO and Mulla Malook and put the blame on the family of Nawab Bugti. He said the provincial assemblies of Balochistan and NWFP passed a resolution against the establishment of cantonments in Balochistan but it was not honoured.

Rauf Mengal said cases have been lodged against Senator Sanaullah Baloch and his brothers while his brothers have been missing, adding that there are numerous youngsters languishing in prisons of Balochistan and are not being presented before courts.

He disclosed that Senator Sanaullah Baloch would fax his resignation to the chairman Senate. He bitterly criticised the policies of President Musharraf, saying violation of the Constitution, and human rights all have occurred during his tenure. “The fallout of the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti would be very serious and grave. Of what use are the mega projects if the government cannot provide justice to our mothers and sisters,” he said.

He appealed to the United Nations and to all the human right organisations to help the people of Balochistan and end the military operation. He demanded release of detained ARD president Makhdoom Javed Hashmi. “He should be allowed to attend the proceedings of the House as it is his right. His production orders must be issued immediately.”

He thanked his colleagues in the opposition, journalists and staff of the NA for their cooperation. Later, addressing a press conference he said the FIR of the murder of Bugti would be filed against President Pervez Musharraf, the federal government and the Balochistan government.

During his press conference, Khawaja Asif of the PML-N, Manzoor Wassan and Nabeel Gabool of the PPPP were also present. Rauf Mengal said his party members would resign from the NA and provincial assemblies, Senate and local governments. “I request the opposition to resign from the assemblies to show solidarity with the people of Balochistan.”

He said a powerful movement was needed to restore the rule of law and to bring an end to the military operations. He said the Punjab should hold more protests against the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti.

Khawaja Asif of the PML-N said the people of Punjab should rise against the government steps. “We are with Rauf Mengal,” he added. He said if a peace agreement can be struck in Waziristan, why it could not be struck in Balochistan?

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