A believer in unity

Prince Mohiuddin was a staunch believer in the necessity of uniting Baloch people

Prince Mohiuddin Ahmedzai Baloch, aged 79, the chief of the Baloch Rabita Ittifaq Tehrik and a former federal minister, passed away on Thursday night. He had been under treatment at a private hospital in Karachi for a kidney disease. He had also suffered a heart attack last year.

Prince Mohiuddin, a paternal uncle of the Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleman Dawood, was laid to rest in the royal family graveyard in his native Kalat. The funeral prayers were attended by many, including Jam Kamal Alyani, the chief minister of Balochistan, Home Minister Ziaullah Langove, Prince Ahmed Ali, MNA Syed Mehmood Shah, Senator Agha Omer Ahmedzai and tribal elders.

Born in Kalat to Mir Ahmed Yar Khan Ahmedzai on November 5, 1942, Prince Mohiuddin acquired early education at Government Dawood High School. For further education, he went to Quetta.

In 1958, he was arrested along with his father and he remained in jail for several years.

In 1970s when his father became the Balochistan governor, the prince worked as his principal staff secretary.

In 1985, he was elected an MNA in the party-less elections and was initially mentioned as a candidate for prime minister. When Mohammad Khan Junejo was appointed prime minister,

he became the federal minister for communications. He also served as a federal minister for trade.

After the 1988 elections, he formed the Baloch Rabita Ittifaq Tehrik in Karachi along with his younger brother, Prince Yahya Ahmedzai Baloch. He was a strong believer in the necessity for Baloch unity.

Prince Mohiuddin’s blamed Gen Pervez Musharraf for the prevalent unrest in Balochistan.

He asked the Indian leadership not to interfere in Balochistan. He said there was proof of Indian involvement in the province and that India was doing this to divert attention from human rights atrocities in Occupied Kashmir. 

He had been reported as saying that “I can play be the bridge between the federal government and Baloch insurgents if I am appropriately empowered.”

After remaining silent for many years, in 2014, he had addressed a media briefing where he had proposed that the government should hand over the province’s reins to him for three years. Defence, finance and foreign affairs portfolios, he said, should remain with the Centre.

He was always wary of external interference in the province. Prince Mohiuddin had insisted that military action must be avoided. He said he feared a 1971-like situation developing in Balochistan.

He wanted his people, especially the youth, to work hard. He once said, “Baloch youth should be imparted technical training so that they can get decent jobs in the projects being implemented under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).”

In September 2016, he had asked Indian leaders not to interfere in Balochistan. He said there was proof of Indian involvement in the province. He said India was doing this to divert attention from the human rights atrocities in Occupied Kashmir.

The prince had opposed a demand by a leader of the Pakhtunkhwa Awami Party (PkMAP) that Afghan refugees in Pakistan should be given Pakistani citizenship. He had warned that “Baloch and Pashtun people have enjoyed cordial relations for centuries but some political parties are trying to create rifts between them for their vested interests.“

Prince Mohiuddin had insisted that all ethnic communities in Pakistan should have appropriate representations in the government. He was a supporter of accountability for those who had held public offices.

Prince Mohiuddin will be remembered for his efforts to unify the Baloch people.

The writer is a journalist based in Lahore

A believer in unity