New Delhi: The 14th death anniversary of Balochistan's famous leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, who was killed in 2006, will be marked on August 26 (Wednesday). His death spurred a major crisis in Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province by size.
Balochistan has been in a simmer for a while now even as local accuse Islamabad of draining the province of its resources. Balochistan is also key to China's mega infrastructure project China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The journey of Nawab Akbar Bugti, as a legislator being elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan and later becoming the Chief Minister and Governor of Balochistan, highlights how things are on the ground in the province. He led a struggle against the Pakistani establishment.
While the Pakistani Army claimed that Bugti died after a cave collapsed on him, this remains disputed. In 2012, a Pakistani court had issued arrest warrants against Pervez Musharraf, under whose tenure Bugti was killed.
Bugti was known as someone who reached out to minorities in the province. He once said, "Hindu and Sikhs have been living with us for many decades and they have become an integral part of our Bugti tribe. We have and will always have religious freedom for Hindus and Sikhs. If people of any other religion or community come to us, they'll have their freedom to practice their beliefs as well, just like we do in our Mosques, Mandir and Gurudawara.”
In fact, he gave shelter to a number of Hindu families when a military operation was underway in the province in 2005