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IANS Analysis: Nawab Bugti, Baloch nationalist whose death sparked 5th phase of Baloch freedom movement

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IANS Analysis: Nawab Bugti, Baloch nationalist whose death sparked 5th phase of Baloch freedom movement

New Delhi: On the intervening night of January 2-3, 2005, Dr Shazia Khalid, a lady doctor, was raped by a Pakistan Army captain in a highly guarded Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) hospital facility in Sui, Dera Bugti, Balochistan.

Instead of arresting the officer, authorities under direct orders from President General Musharraf, who was also the military chief, sought to protect him.

They first sent the victim to a psychiatric facility in Karachi, subjecting her to character assassination, and ultimately hounded her to leave Pakistan.

Whilst the state authorities tried to cover up the incident, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, head of the Bugti tribe, condemned the rape as a violation of their tribal code and vowed to avenge it “at all costs.”

This sparked an uprising in Balochistan, with a series of attacks by the Baloch rebels on the military installations and PPL facilities. The Pakistani state responded with its military might, initiating a military campaign against Baloch tribes led by Bugtis, with General Musharaf mobilising nearly 5000 additional troops to the region. For a Baloch nationalist like the tribal chieftain Nawab Sardar Akbar Khan Bugti, this was as if life had come a full circle.

Nawab Bugti was born on July 12, 1927, in Dera Bugti, Balochistan, to the Bugti tribe chief, Nawab Mehrab Khan Bugti. He received his early education from Karachi Grammar School, South Asia’s second oldest private school, before attending Aitchison College Lahore. Akbar Bugti completed his university education at Oxford University before entering Pakistan’s political arena.

He assumed the tribal chieftainship by becoming the 19th Tumandar (chief) of his Bugti tribe following his father’s demise, allowing him a greater role in the tribal affairs of the region.

Nawab Akbar Bugti won his first election in 1958 by contesting a National Assembly byelection, paving his way to become the federal interior minister in Prime Minister Malik Feroze Khan Noon’s government before it was dismissed under the Pakistan Army-backed martial law declaration by President Major General Sikandar Ali Mirza months later.

With General Ayyub Khan’s administration barring him from holding any office through a 1960 political trial, Akbar Bugti continued to voice Baloch issues as the region witnessed recurrent anti-government nationalist movements.

He assumed a public role in February 1973 as the provincial governor of Balochistan when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s relationship with Ataullah Mengal, who headed the National Awami Party (NAP) government in the province, became precarious and descended the region into anarchy.

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With Bhutto-led federal government taking a high-handed militaristic approach against the Baloch leadership, Akbar Bugti resigned from the governorship in November 1974.

The Bugti tribal chieftain assumed the chief ministership of Balochistan in February 1989 when he led the Balochistan National Alliance (BNA) to victory.

Yet again, Akbar Bugti took a strong position against the Benazir Bhutto-led federal government’s exploitative treatment of the region, seeking greater control over its resources and security affairs.

As such, he resigned in August 1990 when the provincial assembly was dissolved by the governor under orders from President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, who was nudged by PM Bhutto to dismiss Bugti’s government.

Although he launched his own political outfit, Jumhoori Watan Party (JWP), and returned to the provincial assembly before joining the National Assembly in 1993, he continued to advocate for Balochistan’s internal autonomy. He pressed for the provincial government to have greater control over regional resources, including petroleum and gas plants, and called for a moratorium on land acquisition by the Pakistan Army for building more cantonments in the province.

While advancing age led Nawab Akbar Bugti to focus on tribal affairs, he remained a vocal advocate for Baloch grievances against Pakistan’s federal government as one of the three most prominent tribal chiefs, alongside Ataullah Mengal of the Mengal tribe and Khair Baksh Marri of the Marri tribe. This triumvirate continued to highlight the Baloch issues.

In September 2004, Bugti presented a 15-point charter of demands to Pervez Musharraf’s government, which included calls for provincial autonomy for Balochistan, greater control over resources, local government authority to execute and collect revenue from mega projects, the return of land acquired by the Pakistan Army, a halt to further cantonment construction, the disbandment of ISI-controlled militias in Marri, internal security to be managed by provincial police, and the release of all political prisoners.

Despite these demands, the federal government continued to ignore Baloch grievances, with the Pakistan Army unleashing its military might on the Baloch people under the pretext of America’s War on Terror. The rape of Dr Shazia by an army officer in Sui gas field hospital was more than a mere catalyst; it was seen as a significant affront to local traditions and tribal codes of honour, exacerbated by General Musharraf shielding the culprit from investigation.

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The calls of Akbar Bugti, a septuagenarian figure of Baloch resistance, to avenge the honour of the lady doctor inspired a series of attacks on PPL facilities, gas pipelines, and military installations by various Baloch groups, including Bugti and Marri militias and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).

For Bugti, this marked a full-circle journey from playing a marginal part in Baloch resistance to holding government positions to declaring war against the oppressive Pakistani state.

With Balochistan on edge following Bugti’s calls, General Musharraf warned Baloch nationalists that they could no more “hit and run and hide in the mountains. This time you wouldn’t know what will hit you.” The Pakistan Army’s desperation was evident when it bombed and shelled the residence of the Akbar Bugti on March 17, 2005, killing 67 people in an attempt to silence this profound and veteran voice of Balochistan. This high-handed response only made Akbar Bugti a unifying figure for all Baloch people, who rallied behind his calls, including armed groups targeting military and state symbols.

Displaying its colonial and imperialistic attitudes, Pakistan’s federal government consistently declined to engage the Baloch leadership on their grievances and demands, as stated in the 15-point charter.

For instance, in December 2005, General Musharraf accused the Bugti-led tribal chieftain triumvirate of destabilising Balochistan, ruling out any negotiations, and declared his government was determined to “finish” the Baloch tribal chiefs and their groups.

In June 2006, merely two months before his killing, Nawab Bugti stated in a BBC interview that the “Pakistani government are communicating with us through the use of these cannons, fighter jets, deep penetration bombs; these are such great dialogues that they are having loud discussions with us.”

Akbar Bugti, along with dozens of his associates, was killed by the Pakistan Army on August 26, 2006, when a mountain cave in the Bhamboor hills of Dera Bugti was bombed by Pakistani forces. His assassination led to a large-scale civil disobedience movement in the region and became a primer for the ongoing fifth phase of Baloch insurgency since 1947, aimed at liberating the province from Pakistan’s control.

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Furthermore, Bugti’s killing unified the tribes and internationalized the Baloch struggle, as evidenced by the grand jirga organized by the Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleman Daud, on September 21, 2006.

This jirga saw the participation of 83 tribal chiefs and over 300 tribal elders, and it adopted a declaration calling on the United Nations (UN) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to investigate Bugti’s killing and end the high-handedness of the Pakistani state and army. Baloch people’s struggle finally garnered the international media attention it truly deserved after enduring the highhandedness of the Pakistani state for decades.

After years of legal battle and protest by Baloch nationalists finally on 11 July 2012, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court in Sibi, Balochistan, issued arrest warrants for the former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf and several other high-ranking officials who were accused of involvement in the killing of Akbar Bugti.

The other officials included the former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, former Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Sherpao, former Governor of Balochistan Owais Ahmed Ghani, former Chief Minister of Balochistan Jam Mohammad Yousaf, former Provincial Home Minister Shoaib Nosherwani, and former Deputy Commissioner Abdul Samad Lasi.

All these were named suspects in the F.I.R. registered by police regarding the killing of Bugti in the military operation. Musharraf was even formally arrested by a police team from Balochistan on 13 June 2013, however was later granted bail due to his poor health and ultimately due to non-provision of evidence thus ending the investigation which was more of an eyewash.

The legend of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, continues to inspire Baloch nationalists till date as the Baloch struggle persists. Bugti once remarked, “We will not be there forever. But I am sure that our coming generations will continue my mission till the attainment of Baloch rights,” after his demise the statement has indeed turned out be prophetic.

Nevertheless, as Baloch people gear up to celebrate Akbar Bugti’s birth anniversary on July 12, it is fitting that his work for the cause of Baloch rights and especially in unifying the Baloch nation be truly recognised and propagated while continuing to expose the role of Pakistani government in his murder.

–IANS

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Pune road rage: Motorist assaults woman with 2 kids on scooter

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Pune road rage: Motorist assaults woman with 2 kids on scooter

Pune road rage: Motorist assaults woman with 2 kids on scooter

Pune, July 20 (IANS) In a brutal instance of road rage, a woman riding with two small kids on a scooter was assaulted here on Saturday by a motorist who was attempting to overtake her, the police said.

The incident occurred on the Pashan-Baner Link Road when an elderly motorist was speeding behind her for almost 2 km, desperately trying to overtake.

The woman, narrating the entire incident in a social media video, said that she moved to give him way when he suddenly sped in the front, took a left and blocked her two-wheeler.

He got down in an angry mood, rushed up to her, pulled her hair and hit her on the face, leaving her with a bleeding nose, even as a crowd gathered there.

The woman is identified as Jerlyn D’Silva, a digital content creator, and the man’s identity is not yet known.

When contacted, an official of the Chaturshringi Police Station said that the victim had been rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment while the motorist was detained pending the formal complaint formalities.

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The incident sparked a furore on social media, coming exactly two months after a 17-year-old minor boy was involved in an alleged drunken hit-and-run accident in his Porsche car which left two persons dead.

Last Tuesday, the city was rocked by another drunken driving incident when a politician’s son, Saurabh Bandu Gaikwad, rammed his SUV into a poultry truck on the Mundhwa-Manjari Road, leaving the driver and his assistant grievously injured.

The son of a former Nationalist Congress Party (SP) municipal corporator, Bandu Gaikwad, Saurabh had fled from the spot in his Tata Harrier SUV, but was later traced and booked by the police.

–IANS

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Thackeray levelled ‘baseless’ allegations against Dharavi project: Shiv Sena

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Thackeray levelled ‘baseless’ allegations against Dharavi project: Shiv Sena

Thackeray levelled ‘baseless’ allegations against Dharavi project: Shiv Sena

Mumbai, July 20 (IANS) Shiv Sena leader Rahul Shewale on Saturday alleged that his former boss and Shiv Sena UBT Chief Uddhav Thackeray has levelled “baseless” charges regarding the Dharavi redevelopment project to get the donations for the party.

“Why did Uddhav Thackeray suddenly hold a press conference regarding the Dharavi redevelopment project and make baseless allegations? The decision to give a 350 square feet house to the Dharavikars after the redevelopment was taken by taking him into confidence,” he said.

He said that Uddhav Thackeray is also aware of the fact that a house larger than 350 square feet cannot be given in Dharavi considering all aspects of CRZ regulations and air traffic regulations.

“But still the unrealistic issue of 500 square feet house was brought up by the opponents just to create confusion among the people,” said Shewale who lost to the Shiv Sena nominee Anil Desai from the Mumbai South Central constituency in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.

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He said that the Dharavi redevelopment project, which has been pending for the past several years, has gained momentum during the MahaYuti government (grand alliance) led by Chief Minister Shri Eknathji Shinde.

“Now, only to block the project, unreasonable demands and allegations are being made by the opposition which has no concern for the welfare of the Dharavikars and is creating an atmosphere of confusion only to pursue their political interests,” alleged Shewale.

Shewale said that the Dharavi Redevelopment Project is an ambitious project of the state government and it is its responsibility to complete it.

“The government is working hard. The government will take into account the objections and sentiments of local Mumbaikars regarding the land provided in Vikhroli, Mulund, and Kurla in Mumbai for the Dharavi redevelopment project,” he said.

–IANS

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No Kerala minister bothered to visit K’taka to oversee rescue operations: BJP

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No Kerala minister bothered to visit K’taka to oversee rescue operations: BJP

No Kerala minister bothered to visit K’taka to oversee rescue operations: BJP

Thiruvananthapuram, July 20 (IANS) Kerala BJP on Saturday lashed out at the state ministers, saying that none among them bothered to visit Karnataka where one of the state’s lorry drivers still remains trapped under the landslide.

“All of us heard the noise created by the Kerala cabinet when a state minister was not given permission to travel to Kuwait following a fire incident. It has now been a few days since the landslide occurred in Karnataka and despite the affected area just across the border, not a single minister has bothered to visit the area and supervise the rescue operations,” said state BJP president K. Surendran.

A landslide occurred in Karnataka’s Shirur in which one of the lorry drivers from Kerala, Arjun, still remains stuck after a few days. At least 15 people are feared trapped under the debris.

Arjun’s family members have also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi complaining that there was a delay in launching the rescue operations.

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“We wish the PM sends an army team so that the rescue takes place faster,” said the wife of Arjun.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will visit Karnataka on Sunday while all the top leaders of Kerala are in regular touch with their counterparts in Karnataka.

–IANS

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JP Nadda assures chemical industry of govt support to spur growth

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JP Nadda assures chemical industry of govt support to spur growth

JP Nadda assures chemical industry of govt support to spur growth

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers J.P. Nadda on Saturday assured industry representatives that the government will come up with policy interventions required to strengthen the chemicals sector.

Launching the 13th edition of India Chem with the theme “Advantage Bharat: Indian Chemicals and Petrochemicals Paving the Future” here, the Union Minister said that this sector is a top priority for the government.

J.P. Nadda said that the government has initiated numerous structural reforms to support industrial development in general, and to strengthen the chemicals sector in particular.

He said: “The Ministry will initiate policy measures to achieve the outcomes that will come out of the deliberation that will take place at the 13th edition of India Chem in Mumbai during October 17-19 this year.

He said the theme of India Chem 2024 conference aligns well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of making India a $5 trillion economy by 2025.

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J.P. Nadda expressed hope that “with focus on import, research and development and manpower training, this sector will contribute its share in realising the dream of Viksit Bharat by 2047”.

Addressing the gathering, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertlisers, Anupriya Patel, said that the chemical and petrochemical sector plays a crucial role in the economic development of key sectors such as automotive, construction, electronics, healthcare, textiles, and FMCGs.

She said: “India is the second-largest exporter of chemical dyes and dyestuff as well as agrochemicals in the world. It also contributes about 3 per cent of global chemical sales.”

Since its beginning, India Chem has contributed to the growth of the sector by bringing more investment, Anupriya Patel said.

“With a clear focus on investment-friendly reforms, the removal of policy bottlenecks is a top priority for the government,” the Minister added.

She urged all the participants to make the best use of the opportunity to learn, network, and explore new possibilities.

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India Chem 2024, the flagship event of the Department, is one of the largest composite events of the industry in the Asia-Pacific comprising an International Exhibition and Conference.

The India Chem exhibition aims to showcase the huge potential of the Indian chemical industry as well as its different industry segments (including chemicals, petrochemicals, agrochemicals etc.,) and to provide a platform for groundbreaking discussions, visionary ideas, and strategic collaborations among industry representatives.

The Indian chemical industry is currently valued at $220 billion and is expected to reach $300 billion by 2030 and $1 trillion by 2040.

This industry remains an active hub of opportunities, even in an environment of global uncertainty.

–IANS

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Nurse kidnapped in Bihar’s Begusarai

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Nurse kidnapped in Bihar’s Begusarai

Nurse kidnapped in Bihar’s Begusarai

Patna, July 20 (IANS) A nurse of a private hospital has been allegedly kidnapped by four to five individuals in Bihar’s Begusarai district.

The kidnappers have informed the victim’s family about the abduction. However, police said that the incident might be related to a love affair.

According to the victim’s mother, she saw the kidnappers in a Baleno car while her brother identified the kidnappers as residents of the Matihani block.

“My daughter went to give fodder to the cattle when four to five persons came and forcibly kidnapped her. By the time I informed the other members of the family, they had sped away in a car,” the victim’s mother told police.

DSP Bhaskar Ranjan of Sadar-2 range Begusarai said that the preliminary investigation reveals that the matter could be a case of a love affair.

“However, we are investigating from all angles. We have identified one of the accused, named Rishikesh Kumar, who was seen with the victim in the past. The search operation is underway to trace the victim,” he said.

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–IANS

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