Crisis in Baluchistan

August 28, 2006 Christian Science Monitor
A rebel's killing roils Pakistan
By David Montero

QUETTA, PAKISTAN – For years, Nawab Mohammed Akbar Khan Bugti battled the Pakistan Army. The 80-year-old renegade hidden in the mountains of Balochistan became a legend in his fight for greater autonomy against what he saw as colonial brutality.
Bugti was both hated and revered. But as a former federal minister and governor, he symbolized a political as well as a violent struggle. And his death this weekend, during a fierce three-day battle that left more than 30 dead, could prove a serious blow to Pakistan's stability.

"This is not a good sign," says Samina Ahmed, South Asia director of the International Crisis Group. "Just a few years ago [Nawab Bugti] was talking to the government. Keeping that door open was the way to go. Now that door has been slammed shut."

Bugti's death could also reverberate in the region, some analysts say. The Balochis are spread across several countries, with millions living in parts of Iran and Afghanistan that border Pakistan.

"They will provide sanctuary to Baloch militants. There will be a lot of sympathy," says Lt. Gen. (ret.) Talat Masood, a defense analyst in Islamabad.

For complete article, click here

For BBC report on Baluchistan by Zafar Abbas, click here

A timeline - Akbar Bugti's Political Profile at The News


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