BNP-M quits alliance with ruling party over Baloch missing persons issue

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The Balochistan National Party Mengal (BNP-Mengal) president Akhtar Mengal announced in the National Assembly of Pakistan on Wednesday that his party is officially withdrawing from its alliance with the PTI-led federal government due to its failure to implement their accords.

The BNP-Mengal president Akhtar Mengal announced in a session of the National Assembly of Pakistan of ending his coalition with the PTI-led federal government on Wednesday. Mengal justified his withdrawal by asserting that the federal government has failed to consider and implement their accords. He announced that: “Per the decision of the central committee of the Balochistan National Party, I officially announce the withdrawal of my party’s alliance with the PTI.”

Mengal clarified that his party will remain in the National Assembly and will keep raising voice about the issues. “The law and order situation is worsening in Balochistan, death squads have been reactivated,” he said. Mengal presented two separate lists of the missing persons of Balochistan before the National Assembly. He said that only 18 missing persons have been recovered, whereas 500 new enforced disappearances have been reported in Balochistan after BNP-M’s alliance with the PTI and the signing of the 6-point agreement.

Mengal said that the people of Balochistan “were not slaves” and questioned why the federal has not convened any Balochistan peace conference similar to the Afghan peace conference. He said that the government is worried about Kashmir, which is not with it, but is indifferent about Balochistan. “This House can discuss issues of wheat, sugar and tomatoes, but not the blood of the Baloch people”, he said.

He said that the allocations made for the projects in Balochistan in the 2020-2021 Pakistan budget give a hint about the government’s seriousness. Mengal said that his party has demanded the recovery of the Baloch missing persons, the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism, and development projects for Gwadar and the rest of the Balochistan. He said that the government has failed to fulfil any of their demands.

The BNP-Mengal chief further said that the government has “violated in the past too.” He said that despite “repeated warnings”, the government has failed to carry out an aerial spray against the locust attacks in Balochistan. He also blamed the federal government for the alarming spread of Covid-19 in Pakistan, as it had been unable to make the necessary arrangements and stop the entrance of pilgrims into the Baloch soil.

A day earlier, a delegation of the PTI-led government, headed by the Federal Minister Assad Ummar, had met the BNP-Mengal leaders to discuss and resolve their grievances. Mengal’s announcement on Wednesday made it clear that the negotiations had failed.

In August 2019, the BNP-Mengal had allied with the PTI to form the government at the centre by signing a 6-point agreement. This memorandum of understanding (MoU), among other things, included the recovery of the missing persons of Balochistan. Despite the agreement, the Pakistani forces have been allegedly carrying out enforced disappearances from Balochistan. The number of people disappearing after the agreement vastly outstrips the recoveries – 18 recoveries versus almost 500 disappearances.

A Peshawar high court final judgment in 2018 had made it clear that the victims of enforced disappearance in Balochistan are extrajudicially tortured and confined by the Pakistani military. The judgment said that the ‘missing persons’ are tried by the military courts solely through a fabricated confessional statement; no reliable evidence is presented against the convicts.

The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), a human rights organization campaigning against the enforced disappearances in Balochistan and the recovery of the missing persons, alleges that over 80,000 people are currently missing from Balochistan – 45,000 Baloch and 37,000 Pashtuns. The VBMP, other nationalist groups and the human rights activists accuse Pakistani security forces of these disappearances.


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