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Bugti Checkmated In Balochistan

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In the dangerous game being played between the Baloch tribals and the Pakistan Army, Nawab Akbar Bugti, 79, was reported killed by an Air Force missile.  Bugti, as he was generally known, was a tribal chieftain of the Bugti tribe in Balochistan.

Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan bordering Iran and Afghanistan, is sparsely populated, and has major gas and mineral resources. Pakistan has also developed a strategic warm water port at Gwadar with the help of Chinese that sits atop the Straits of Hormuz.

Bugti was reputed to be a backer of and a spokesperson for the banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). It is reported that BLA chief Balach Marri was also killed with Bugti.  At its web site, the BLA speaks of the inequality and sufferings at the hands of "Pakistan and its tyrant Punjabi institutions." The same sentiments are echoed by another site, BalochWana, representing the Baloch Youth, which goes on to call Balochistan "Pakistan occupied country."

BLA and other guerrilla groups seeking justice in Balochistan have been actively involved in blowing up natural gas pipelines, refineries, train lines, electricity grids, service facilities, and government installations not only in Balochistan but increasingly in other provinces of Pakistan to press for their demands.  The Pakistani Army is strained and stretched in fighting terrorists and Taliban supporters in the North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan and in trying to curb ethnic and religious violence in its major cities of Karachi, Sind and Lahore, Punjab. And with India, it has a festering dispute in Kashmir.


Nawab Bugti belonged to one of the three main tribes of Balochistan. Educated at Acheson College, Lahore and at Oxford, he was once a part of the Pakistan Administration in the 50s and 60s. In the 90s he was in the vanguard confronting the Pakistam Administration and the Army, both as an eloquent elder statesman and as a warlord with his own missile-equipped army.

Along with Khair Bux Marri and Ataullah Mengal, the other two prominent and powerful Baloch Sardars, he was a constant thorn in the Pakistan Army's designs.

According to journalist and author Ahmed Rashid, the manner in which Bugti was killed does not serve the Pakistani Government. It was portraying Bugti as an "anti-government renegade" and warlord. Instead Nawab Bugti will end up as a "martyred hero" not only for Baloch Nationalists but also other minority groups and nationalists who complain of the Pakistan Army's high handedness.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has said the death of Bugti is a "black day" in the history of Pakistant, and that "the blood would continue to flow from his wound for a long time."

Following the announcement of Bugti's death the government moved quickly to impose a 24 hour curfew in Quetta, Balochistan's main city. Thousands ignored the curfew and demonstrated against the government as reported in the Washington Post today.

There are reports of widespread rioting that have also spread to Karachi, Pakistan's main city.


Since independence in 1947, the federal government has been hampered in its efforts to impose federal laws over extended areas of its border in the west and north-west of the country. In the provinces where it had ostensibly more support, it has tended to neglect popular opinion and showed a readiness to accommodate the powerful zamindars (landlords with vast holdings lording over peasants) and regional power lords such as Jamiat e Ulema e Islam (JUI) a fundamentalist group in Balochistan and NWFP and Muttahida Quomi Movement (MQM), ruled by Altaf Hussain from self-imposed exile in London. The leaders of the two main opposition political parties in Pakistan the Muslim League and the People's Party also live in exile. (Both face corruption and abuse of power charges while in power in the 90s.)

It belies President Musharraf's much publicized stand of enlightened moderation.

The Bush Administration considers Pakistan as a front-line ally in the fight against terrorism. But historically, despite all the talk about democracy and reforms, almost all previous administrations have shown a preference to deal with dictators and autocrats rather than democratic leadership in the the third world. The Bush Administration is no exception to this.

President Musharraf's term as President expires next year. He is reported to have indicated a willingness to stand for another term. And to be successful, he needs the support of the same religious parties that are anathema to the Bush Administration.  The President walks a tight rope.  Internationally he has succeeded in playing a secular moderate leader. But nationally, he needs the support of the fundamentalist parties. This dichotomy is overlooked by the Bush Administration much to the chagrin of political parties in Pakistan and by her neighbor, India. The Indians allege that the army is not doing enough to curb terrorism and its breeding grounds.

With this killing, President Musharraf may have been sending signals to nationalist movements within Pakistan and to neighbouring India and Afghanistan whom it holds responsible for funding, arming, and training Baloch guerrillas.  It should be noted here that India and Afghanistan in turn accuse Pakistan, and its notorious Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of fomenting and supporting rebels in their countries.  All countries named here deny these charges.

The moderate majority thinks President Musharraf's flip-flops over major problems and issues facing the country and appeases the fundamentalist parties. They cite his indecisiveness over Hudood Ordinance as an indicator of his lack of resolve to right a wrong and accuse him of giving in to the fundamentalists.  The ex-commando is known to lead his country into and out of messes of his and his army's creation. Time will tell if and how he will extricate them both this time.

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  • Sanjay

    Another unelected dictator is hellbent on destroying Pakistan, just as occurred in 1971. Bugti’s demands on Baloch rights had been very reasonable, but Musharraf is a trigger-happy commando. The dictatorship is only going to drive more Baloch towards seeking independence.

  • Hey Sanjay,
    Dictators usually come unelected…smile….

  • Mayank — amazingly, not always. Some people elect their dictators.

  • (long post)

    the political game and gamesmanship being played out in pakistan is no different than anywhere else

    musharraf is not a fundamentalist…we see him as president of pakistan…but his real constituency is the “army”… every one of his action (in pakistan and abroad) can be viewed through this prism and when done so will give an added clarity to western political pundits

    his single agenda is to perpetuate and enhance the army’s stranglehold over pakistan’s affairs

    power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely said lord acton…it makes one less responsive to the demands of the citizens… political problems need political solutions…we see this played out in other areas of the world all too frequently…in vain, sadly

    the bomb is not a factor in internal politics

    without mentioning his backers in the west…if ‘they’ facilitate (insist) on a change in the pakistani power structure – meaning clearly spell out that the army should have a hands-off policy and let the civilian leadership breed and grow …nothing will change on the grounds there

    the above is also fraught with danger… the civilian leadership has not shown any spine either…both nawaz sharif and benazir bhutto had had two spells in power…and whatever they may say while in exile….each one of them was worse than the earlier one


    one can hope for a civilian leadership to grow and mature and the army back into barracks

    what did they say about wishes being horses?

  • zobal

    Bugti’s demands for Baloch people? Remember Bugti was no less of a dictator than Musharraf is. He was a Sardar. Like Musharraf, whatever he did or said he wanted to do was to increase his power.we all know why? Musharraf may have removed an obstacle. good for him but indirectly Bugti’s death would serve the locals better in the long run. they are rid of an oppressor.

  • Sanjay

    Bugti was legitimately demanding a more fair share for his people. Look at how large Baluchistan is, and how much it contributes to Pakistan.

    Don’t pretend that Bugti wasn’t a mainstream politician — he had the JWP party. That showed he was more than just a Sardar.


    Unlike Musharraf the dictator, Bugti was a man of the people.

  • Sanjay

    More people are showing up for Nawab Bugti’s funeral, than will ever show up for Musharraf’s funeral:


  • bugti was a little bit of everything…urbane, suave, feudal, autocratic, a law unto himself

    desire for change is a legitimate expression…but not when you start blowing up infrastructure to press for your points…only terrorists resort to that…

    and let us not forget one other thing…the average baluchi did not benefit from the annual largesse bugti and other tribal lords receive from the federal government…

    when musharraf claimed that the federal government has done more in the last five years for baluchistan province and for average baluchis than was done for them in the previous 50 years there is a ring of truth to it

    in the end it is a political problem that begs political solution

  • Aamir Ali

    Bugti was a cruel feudal lord disguised as a nationalist. His violent campaign was primarily meant to keep the feudal system alive with a few crumbs thrown to the Baloch. I am glad he is dead. Musharraf is one of the few in Pakistan with the courage to attack powerful criminal.

    I am also amazed that Sanjay knows how many people will come to Musharraf’s funeral. Wow can you also tell us who killed JFK? or when the flying car will be introduced?

  • Kunwarzada

    All Hail Nawab Sahib, a real man of his people who at the age of 70 plus took up armed struggle aginst the tyraanical rule of Pakistani Punjabis. Balochistan is absolutely just in asking for freedom from pakistan. The Blaoch are a martial strong people who I’m sure will avenge not only Bugti’s death, Dr. Shazia Khalid’s rape but also the death of innocent Balochis thorugh spohisticated Gunships.

  • Kunwarzada

    Pakistan doesn’t learn from its mistakes or from history. It lives in its surreal world of martial warriors,mughal descendants and such. It has therefore totally neglected governance and hailed martiality and consequently ended up losing territores like East Pakistan and Siachin. Musharraf is nothing more than a rustic, hard headed terrosit himself and knows little about governance. How can one forget the the genocide in Balwaristan , when truckloads of human bodies were fished out of it in the name of suprressing the rebels in early 90s by a certain Brig. Musharraf. It won;t be any surprise if Balwaristan and Balochistan soon emerges on the map of the world as independent nations. Afghanistan was just in announcing its mourning for the brave sardar Nawab Muhammad Akbar Khan Bugti. Jab tak Suraj Chand Rahega Bugti tera Naam rahega.

  • Kunwarzada

    The BNP, JWP, and the people of Baloch should completely boycott Pakistan, launch a civil disobedience movement against their Hukumraans in Islamabad.They should stop paying taxes,and balochs in the amred forces should resign with immediate effect.This will cripple the PAk army and would also hold the Baloch head high again, as the majority of army regulars killed in Occupied Kashmir were Baloch and Musharraf and the establishment in Islamabad refused to take back the bodies, a cruel slap in the face of Baloch pride. With a little hgelp from the Pathan bhais,and an international bodies like NATO and UNO, Insha Allah,, Musharraf and his bunch of jokers would be brought to their knees within weeks. Balochistan Zindabad, Nawab Bugti Zindabad

  • salim sindhi

    Bugti was a true nawab. He did not like the one side power of Punjabi leader in Army. He was known as “Tiger of Balochistan”.he was a leader of BLA ( balochistan liberation army) i m from india. to say truth, this is all creation of Pakistan.” Freedom , Azad , Minority , Liberation “” are famous words for Pakistan. they always try to free. This is my advise. Country can not be run if everybody is free.there suppose to be the law. There suppose to be the law and peace.

  • Satpal singh Yadav

    mussharaf is the smartest president of pakistan. He kills the man which is already dead and then tells to usa that their army have killed a terrorist. and get a grant of billions of dollar from usa and decrease their debt. He shows the dead terrorist which are already dead by heart attack or something else.i think we should try this idea. it is a great idea actually. LOL

  • Aamir Ali

    The mourners of Bugti are the also the enemies of Pakistan. I am glad your hero Bugti is dead. Pakistan Paindabad aur feudalism murdabad.

    Let the next Baloch “warrior” emerge. We will blast him to pieces. We want Baloch who are patriotic, educated and good. We dont want thugs like Akbar Bugti.

    Pakistan Paindabad aur feudalism murdabad.

  • kunwarzada

    Pakistan itself is an enemy of Pakistan. The word Pakistan and the country Pakistan are two illegitimate accidents of destiny. It has no right ot exist, it never had from the day one. The Pakistan Paindabad is a contradiction in itself. History bears testimony to the fact that all things bastardly come to a tragic end if not a farcical one. Nawab Saahib’s death has just precipitated the entire process. The beginning of the end of Pakistan. Insha Allah!!!

  • Karim Bhangarwala

    I think these all are the creation of Pakistan. I see many pakistani newspaper and they always show different news of india ,very far away from reality.
    As example, if somebody is sentenced to death and he is muslim , then pakistani newspaper shows that muslim was sentenced to death by hindu judge. it is not true. there are 15 % muslim in india ,may be more than pakistan. Pak means pure and we all know how pure it is. if 2 dalit people die in the accident , they write 2 dalits were died . where they suppose to write that 2 people died in the accident. if any riots occur, they shows the number of muslim died in the riot, but they do not mention the reason of the riot. Pakistan always tries to divide people. that’s why it is happening to them.

  • f.baloch

    nawab bugti (tiger of balochistan) was our great leader, but his grandson brahumdagh bugti ran away to afghanistan i think hes scared to musharaf, brahumdagh bugti u r doing wrong, this is not good 4 u and 4 ur grand fathers name…u have any ”ghairat” come back n complete ur and nawab bugti’s mission, coz that all camps, ferrari’s r start u and balach marri so now dont ran away and complete this war, otherwise we all baloch r say tht u r scared to musharaf or u people deal with musharaf.

  • Washane

    Nawab Bugti has left a trail, a path for every “Ghairat mand” Baloch it is not just for a Bugti or a Marri or Mengal to participate in this struggle against the evil tyrannical regime but it is for all the BALOCH in general to do whatever they can to bring the enemy to their knees.
    Nawab Bugti’s blood should not go in vain, but it will be the source of life to make the small little burning flame of anger and revenge in our heart’s to a raging FIREBALL which will crumble the standing pillars of this already shaky country, and leave it the mercy of our friendly neighbours India and Afghanistan.

  • Chief Crazy Horse

    “The mourners of Bugti are the also the enemies of Pakistan. I am glad your hero Bugti is dead. Pakistan Paindabad aur feudalism murdabad”

    Listen you dumbhead(Aamir Ali
    ) Perhaps it seems easy to blow up each and every one who is does not think like you or act like you… but in reality it is not as easy as thought by you..

    I dont know whether you (Paki forces) can blow up every Balochi or not…but I think Pakistan’s sensitive installations and its armed forces are no longer safe in Baluchistan and Baloch freedom fighters will hit them hard…. the only thing is to see how much time it takes to get Balochistan free from Paki occupying forces.
    See….. I’m not Baloch I live in Punjab and belong to a Mughal family but pray for the success of great Baloch freedom fighter.

  • baloch fighter

    3 tribes bughti marri and mengal are the tigers of balochistan.we proud of them

  • ejaz

    If some one have the photo of pakistani politician nawab khir bux mari? please paste in this site


    All BALUCHISTANI RAJPUTS should stand together with baloch brothers against the enemies of baluchistan. The enemies of baluchistan are the enemy of all of us. we lived in baluchistan and this is our home we should not allowed anti baluchistanis in our home. Whoever they are. Pakistani establishment should control the fuedalism of f.c and other forces and should stop operations in baluchistan on immediate basis. Pakistani establishment and forces torturing our people like animals the forces tageted balochs leaders and innocent people of baluchistan. Forces have no right to kidnapped and kill our people. We all baluchistanis condem the fucking policy of pakistani forces. Jiyay baluchistan jiyay RAJPUTS.