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Brahamdagh insists he does not support militancy

GENEVA: Exiled leader of the Balochistan Republican Party (BRP) Brahumdagh Bugti has denied sponsori

By Murtaza Ali Shah
March 19, 2012
GENEVA: Exiled leader of the Balochistan Republican Party (BRP) Brahumdagh Bugti has denied sponsoring armed militancy in Balochistan and maintained he only supported the movement through political means.
Speaking to this correspondent in Geneva, the dearest grandson and heir apparent of slain Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti said he was not in Afghanistan for any purpose other than the fact that he was looking for an exit, had no other choice and it had become impossible to live in Pakistan. Bugti has made Geneva his home, with western help, after coming under tremendous pressure from Pakistan and he said he feared for his life in the turbulent Afghanistan but has appreciation for Hamid Karzai for hosting him and his young family. He lives a normal life in a posh Geneva suburb and has round the clock security with him, provided by the Swiss government as well as two men from his own Baloch tribe who shadow the young but suave leader all the time.
It is from his idyllic residence that Pakistan’s most wanted rebel leader plots Balochistan’s struggle, with the help of another most wanted man, Bugti’s brother-in-law Mehran Baloch, who divides his time between Dubai and Geneva but has been representing Balochistan’s case at the United Nations Human Rights Council single handedly for well over a decade. His car was broken into in an exclusive Geneva area only a few weeks ago but the causes are unknown and the police are still looking into the matter.
Bugti insisted that no western country had helped him leave Afghanistan but The News had exclusively revealed that the young Baloch leader was helped out of Afghanistan by at least five countries and the effort was led by America. He accepted that some countries understood his predicament and provided only “moral support”.
He strongly refuted Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s claim that Brahumdagh Bugti ran terror training camps inside Afghanistan which the Afghan government has now dismantled.“There is no point in taking Rehman Malik seriously. If he means what he says then he should produce the facts before the media and not merely indulge in propaganda.”
Bugti, 31, said that elements with the ruling establishment were propagating that India was helping him but he said he was never given any Indian help, although he would welcome India or any other foreign support. He said he applied for asylum in Switzerland to save his life and the rumours of him carrying Indian or Afghan passports are baseless.
When asked how he maintained his lifestyle in an expensive suburb of Geneva, where he lives with his family, Bugti said he has never encountered any financial problem, as his family was “one of the richest in the region”.
He said doors for negotiations are open but any negotiations would be pointless while the military operation was in full swing, according to Bugti’s claim. “The operation has not been suspended for a single day. We are ready to talk but to whom do we talk? The operation is so severe that Pakistan is not letting in journalists and human rights NGOs. People are living a miserable life there. We need to know what will be the agenda of these talks.
“Right now the Baloch nation doesn’t want anything less than freedom. Freedom is the basic human right. Some people say that missing persons’ issue is the biggest but we need to know why they disappeared, what was at play, what were the real reasons.”
He said he had decided to go the path that he’s treading now after first accepting the supremacy of Pakistani Constitution and then realizing some 50 years later that it was a folly. “We remained within the system but what did we get out of it other than military operations, mutilated bodies and our families being butchered,” he said.
The News asked him about rifts in his family and the fact that a significant number of his closest relatives didn’t share his views. Brahumdagh reacted that they are “roaming free because they are not on the same page with us on Balochistan’s national question”. “This issue is not anymore about a few Sardars and their sons. We have the support of 99 percent Baloch people. If this was not the case then the insurgency would not spread out of Marri, Bugti and Mengal areas. This is happening despite the state of Pakistan spending vast resources against us. Give us the same resources and we will show you how to create bigger differences in Punjab and elsewhere.”
Insisting that his means were only political and civil, he categorically denied sponsoring the militant wing of BRP and says, “We have nothing to do with them”. He said figures in the government like Rehman Malik are routinely coming up with fictitious stories, were framing charges and dropping at their free will, only exposing the inherent weakness of the criminal justice system.
Pakistani government recently announced that Swiss and Britain were approached to keep an eye on activities of the Balochs living in exile but involved in “anti-Pakistan activities” but Brahumdagh said the Foreign Office statement had “no value and it was aimed only at Pakistani audience”. “We are highlighting human rights violations. We want international interference for the end of Balochistan human rights violations.” Without revealing the names of international players who were covertly supporting him and Mehran Baloch, Bugti said many countries supported their ideas and understood their “point of view” but he would rather keep their names confidential.
Brahumdagh famously spent time with Nawab Akbar Bugti in the mountains of Balochistan till the killing of veteran Baloch leader in a suspected missile attack and was himself injured as shrapnel hit him in a separate jet attack.
He said in his last days Nawab Bugti regretted that he had wasted his time and misjudged his decision to remain part of the government. He told us that the youth should not commit the same mistakes and waste their time following the same old route, said Bugti, recounting the last days of the Baloch leader whose killing is believed to have sparked the latest round of insurgency.
Brahumdagh Bugti condemned the killings of “non-Baloch” in the province by the suspected Baloch insurgents but blamed that the military and the security agencies for flaring the situation in the province and pushing the impoverished people towards the wall, forcing them to take up arms. “Balochs living in remote areas are victims of bombardment. They can’t reach Islamabad. It should be investigated why they are taking up arms. Why didn’t it happen before but is happening now,” he questioned.
Brahumdagh Bugti admitted that he didn’t have a timeline in mind and there was no assurance to them from any side about a timeline of the struggle but he said the profile of the issue had gone global and mentioned as encouraging the recent hearing in American Congress and grater awareness about the issue in European countries.
Bugti said Pakistan should have allowed the US to open a consulate in Quetta as it would have helped America understand the Balochistan situation better. “It would have also helped the US know from close quarters the reality about the Talibanisation and the Quetta Shura,” he said, suggestively. He called on India to come out from the fear factor and being paranoid about its global image and lend a hand to the Baloch cause and come out in open.