M A I N   N E W S

Bugti buried in secrecy
* No family member allowed at funeral ceremony
* Pak Opposition observes “black day”
Muhammad Anwer for ANI

Quetta, September 1
Pakistan’s combined Opposition observed “a successful black day” in various parts of the country on Friday, even as the army buried the body of slain Baluch leader Akbar Khan Bugti at his ancestral Dera Bugti cemetery amidst tight security and complete secrecy.

Akbar Bugti’s body, who was killed in a military operation in the Kohlu Hills last Saturday, was carried into the cemetery in a padlocked wooden coffin and was lowered into an unmarked grave in the presence of Army Commanders and about 15 to 20 pro-Pakistan Army tribesmen.

The entire town of Dera Bugti was sealed and no member of the Bugti family, including his sons, was allowed to be present during the funeral ceremony.

Explaining the reason for the secret burial, Razil Bugti, a spokesman for the tribe, said: "Several special funerals have already taken place, and we saw no reason for civilians to be present at this burial."

This position was also reflected and endorsed by Meher Bugti, who has been nominated by Islamabad to be the "new Sardar" of the Bugti clan.

"There is no need for any civilians to be present at Dera Bugti. The town has been taken over by the Pakistan Army and no one will be allowed till such time as the army decides," Meher Bugti said.

Even as the ceremony was on, Pakistan Army artillery units maintained a strict vigil in the distance.

Family members of the late Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) chief continued to question the credibility of Islamabad.

Akbar Bugti's two sons Jameel Bugti and Shehzor Bugti claimed that the Federal government was yet to establish contact with the Bugti family members about news of the body's discovery, and added that grave doubts existed within the family and the tribe about "whose body was exactly being transported and buried at Dera Bugti."

“We have no idea whose body was taken to Dera Bugti. Our demand has been that the body should be handed over to us, the heirs of Nawab Bugti, for burial,” Akbar Bugti's son Jameel said in a voice cracking with emotion.

Jameel Bugti alleged that the federal government wanted to create a rift within the Bugti family over the body's burial, and added that he was literally under house arrest for the last few days.

Meanwhile, the strike called by the Opposition parties, Muttahida Majalis Amal (MMA), ARD, PONM and four Balochistan parties alliance, evoked a mixed response.

In Quetta, All markets, banks and schools were closed, particularly at Liaquat Bazaar, Abdul Sattar Road, Prince Road, and Jinnah Road.

Traffic was suspended from Quetta to Karachi, Taftan and other parts of the country as protestors blocked several rods, including Quetta-Chaman, Quetta-Pishin, Loralai, Qila Saifullah among others.

Sindh also experienced shut-down where business centres remained closed in several areas, including Jacobabad, Sukkur, Kandhkot, Kashmore, Tangwani, Shikarpur, Lakhi Ghulam Shah and others.

In other parts of the country, traffic on the roads and streets remained thin, while attendance in government and private offices was less than normal. Most private schools remained shut, while some government schools were found locked with children waiting for the gates to open.

All shopping complexes and markets remained shut, while roadside shops did roaring business. Petrol pumps were closed since Thursday night, while coaches and buses for upcountry also remained suspended due to the strike call.

A partial strike was observed in Peshawar where educational institutions were closed, while traffic was normal at the city’s roads. The city’s most of major commercial centres were closed while in several parts shutters were down in all markets and bazaars.

All educational institutions were closed without any government announcement. While attendance was thin at most of the offices.

The town of Dera Bugti was a picture of devastation and desertion. Several buildings bore gunfire pockmarks. It was virtually a ghost town, as literally no one was present during the secret burial ceremony.

Until July 1983, all areas now comprising the Dera Bugti Agency (DBA) were included in the Kohlu Agency. The agency is named after its headquarter town `Dera Bugti'. Dera (a Baluchi word) means `abode' or `habitat', while `Bugti' is the name of a Baluch tribe. Thus `Dera Bugti' means the abode of the Bugtis, the dominant tribe of this agency.

The Bugti territory was one of the last territories to fall to the British colonial rule. The Bugtis defied the British and fought a number of battles against the British troops during the 19th century. They had, however, to come to truce in the last quarter of the 19th century when the British Government's rule extended to what is now Dera Bugti Agency. The latter constituted then a part of a wider administrative unit, Sibi district.



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