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How Akbar Bugti’s Killing Worsened Balochistan Situation Like Never Before

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On this day in 2006, Akbar Bugti, the chief of the Bugti tribe and a veteran Baloch politician, was killed in a military operation in the mountains of Kohlu, Balochistan.

The government, however, claimed that the Baloch nationalist chieftain died after the cave he had taken refuge in collapsed due to a ‘mysterious’ blast.

An 80-year-old Bugti, who had remained as a governor and chief minister of Balochistan, had opted for armed resistance after failed dialogue with the federal government over development projects initiated in Balochistan.

In 2005, the Pakistani state initiated a series of projects on the coastal belt of the province. Bugti, in return, demanded the federation to give Balochistan its due share. However, things never resolved and thus started another phase of the Baloch insurgency.

The situation could have been defused, but the use of might against the chieftain aggravated the situation. And the Pakistani state still grapples with the fallout.

Following the death of Bugti, massive protests had erupted in Balochistan. His killing was condemned by the opposition parties, who saw him as a representative of Balochistan.

Subsequently, a case under Section 302 was registered former military dictator Pervez Musharraf, then prime minister Shukat Aziz and Aftab Sherpao. In 2012, warrants against Pervez Musharraf were issued. However, in 2016, Gen Musharraf was exonerated of all charges.

But analysts say the military operation to take out the Baloch leader further pushed the province towards violence. 14 years on, the separatist violence in the province has refused to die down and insurgency has been growing stronger than ever.

Bugti’s son Jameel Akbar Bugti, when interviewed by Independent Urdu, said the killing of Akbar Bugti was a ‘miscalculated move’ if it was meant to stop the insurgency.

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Naya Daur