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Saturday, April 20, 2024  
09 Shawwal 1445  

Missing persons issue not limited to Balochistan, claims Mengal

BNP-M chief doesn’t see elections in January 2024
There is no house left in Balochistan where there are no missing persons: Akhtar Mengal - Aaj News

The missing persons’ issue was not limited to Balochistan, BNP-M chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal has said as he presses the government to resolve the issue as many families were affected because of it.

“Missing persons or enforced disappearances belong to different provinces and no doubt that it started from Balochistan,” he said in an interview with Asma Shirazi on her show Faisla Aap Ka which was aired on Aaj News on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Mengal staged a sit-in in front of Parliament in Islamabad against enforced disappearances and alleged death squads in Balochistan. Former parliamentarians and members of civil society also participated in it.

“We were criticised when we raised this issue. This issue has spread to the whole country. When it came to them [critics], they realised how important this issue is. Not just those persons but their families were also affected,” he said and added that they had signed agreements with the government in the past.

When asked about the timing of the sit-in, Mengal alleged that powers involved in picking up the people have described forces used for such acts as their “assets”. He wondered where the people should go if such “forces” were treated in that way.

He went on to add that the government apparently tried to sabotage their ‘long march’ from Wadh to Quetta. “The issue is so important in Balochistan that there might be any village in the province where people were not missing.”

Wadh dispute

Mengal said that the Wadh dispute was old, but he claimed that the issue got tense when the other party in the dispute abducted their men and took extortion.

“The government asked people from both sides to withdraw and then I said that I am sitting on my land and another person had occupied our land. But the issue is about their crimes. At least eight members of Levies were martyred in 2014. The FIR was also registered against them. The state at least could have saved their men.”

He claimed that such people were described as an “asset” by the government.

The BNP-M chief added that his party talked to the elected government and time after time raised the missing persons’ issue. He lamented that after coming to power such governments avoided the matter.

He added that there were many tribes in Balochistan where over 40 people were killed and lamented that such issues were not discussed in the apex committee meeting. In the same committee, Mengal said that the missing persons issue was not discussed.

Talks

He added that his party was ready for talks with the “owners” of the incumbent government in order to resolve the issue.

The BNP-M chief was of the view that there “was not” a level-playing field for political parties in Balochistan and the country. He called for respecting the people’s power and giving them the right to elect the leader.

Without naming politicians, he alleged that those who have changed their loyalties with the change of political atmosphere would come into power in Balochistan.

“This question was also asked to me and I replied that please tell me the year,” he said when asked whether he saw timely elections in January.

The BNP-M chief does not see election environment as it occurred when the caretaker government came after the dissolution of the assembly.

In response to a query, he said PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif has not contacted them. He wished that the former prime minister or someone from his should have met them at the sit-in

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