Remembering Baloch National Hero, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti

Baloch leader, Ashraf Sherjan, recalls the life of Baloch National Hero, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. He speaks about how he stood up for the oppressed and made his nation proud. The anniversary of his martyrdom is on August 26th.

Despite having the opportunity to live a luxurious life, Akbar Shahbaz Khan Bugti chose to live the hard life in the mountains, sacrificing everything for the sake of the Baloch nation. Regardless of his age, he bravely fought for the ownership of Baloch land until his dying breath. He was the one who stood up for Balochistan and made the entire Baloch nation proud.

On July 12th, 1927, Akbar Bugti was born in Barkhan, Balochistan at the home of Nawab Behram Khan Bugti. Since childhood, Akbar Bugti was destined to be a great and brave man. He eagerly perused education and was dedicated to his studies. In addition to his early education at Aitcheson College, Lahore, Akbar Khan Bugti also attended Oxford University in London England. After the death of his father in 1939, the thirteen year old Akbar Khan Bugti was appointed as chief of his tribe.

Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti went on to pay an important role in Balochistan politics. He began his political career when elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan in 1958, serving as Interior Minister. In October of the same year, President Iskandar Mirza declared martial law and dismissed the cabinet. In the early 1960’s, Akbar Khan Bugti supported the National Awami Party candidate for the National Assembly from Quetta division and he was elected with a great number of votes. The defeated Field Marshal Ayub Khan was offended by the young Khan’s public endorsement of his political opponents and ordered the detention of Akbar. Akbar Khan Bugti remained imprisoned until his release in the mid 1960’s after a lengthy hunger strike.

In the early 1970’s, the Federal Government appointed Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti as Governor of Balochistan. Soon after Akbar Khan Bugti was appointed Governor, the Pakistani military began a ruthless crackdown in Balochistan. When the Federal Government refused to cease military aggression towards Baloch citizens, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti resigned from his post as Governor.

During the Military Operations in the early 1970’s, the Pakistani Army deployed over 100,000 soldiers in Balochistan. In addition to the ground troops, the Iranian Shah sent F-14 fighter jets and AH-1 Gunship helicopters to help Pakistan commit genocide. More than 4000 Baloch civilians were massacred by Pakistani and Iranian Forces during the crack-down.

In 1988, Akbar Khan Bugti joined the Balochistan National Alliance and was soon thereafter elected as Chief Minister. He soon resigned from the position after the provincial assembly was dissolved in 1990 by Gen. Muhammad Musa Khan. Several years later, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti formed a new political party, the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP). The JWP was wildly popular in Balochistan and Akbar Khan Bugti was elected to the new provincial assembly. Three years later, Akbar was elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan, representing JWP in the Parliament. In 1997, Akbar Khan Bugti was re-elected to the National Assembly.

In 2005, a Sindhi female doctor was violently raped by an officer of the Pakistani Army at a Military Base near Sui. Dera Bugti Chieftain Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti demanded justice for the rape victim, but former President Musharraf refused to pursue a case against the implicated officer. Instead, Musharraf launched a full scale military assault on July 17th, 2005. Twenty innocent Bugti villagers were killed in the massacre and many of them were women and children.

After the 2005 massacre in Dera Bugti, the then 87 year old Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti decided to go to the mountains and for over a year, Nawab Akbhar Khan Bugti and his brave comrades fought with the forces. On August 26th, 2006 in the Tatany Mountains, forces launched a fierce military operation against Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. Gunship helicopters and Fighter Jets bombarded the mountain range with chemical weapons. Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and 32 of his comrades were martyred that day.

Although Musharraf thought the death of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti would be the end of Baloch Nationalism but it was only the beginning. Shaheed Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti inspired the entire Baloch Nation to resist for the protection of Baloch land. For everyone from young teenagers to senior citizens, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti became a source of Baloch pride and a symbol of conviction.

The former Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf seemed mighty during his presidency but his true significance has become apparent as he leads the shameful life of a criminal behind bars. Musharraf forced himself into the seat of power of an already faltering state and when he inevitably was unable to meet the needs of the people, he was quickly deposed.

Despite controversy and hardship, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti will always be remembered as a hero of the Baloch nation and is considered the greatest leader of the Baloch Nation. He is still alive in our hearts as a candle in a dark dungeon. People commemorate his death with utmost respect and love. For all time, his lovers and admirers hold rallies in demonstration of his remembrance. This only shows that in a war between right and wrong, the person with the righteous aims always wins.

Author is a Baloch leader and the former president of Baloch Republican Party, Germany.

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