Death of Sardar Attaullah Mengal saddens political activists
By Afzal Hussain Bokhari
Like elsewhere in the country, the political activists in Peshawar also felt equally saddened at the death of Sardar Attaullah Mengal. The 93-year-old politician suffered from heart ailment. For the last one week, he had been receiving medical treatment in a private hospital in Karachi. On the second of September, he breathed his last. With his death, a colourful chapter of Pakistani politics also came to an abrupt end.
In the pre-partition days of 1929, he was born in the small town of Wadh, in the Khuzdar district of Balochistan. He understood the inside politics of Balochistan like nobody else did. Of course, one could disagree with his opinion. But the superb way he mesmerised the audience with his art of conversation was all his own. From the first of May, 1972 up to February 13, 1973, he remained the first chief minister of Balochistan.
The then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto disbanded his government by imposing the governor’s rule on the province. A military operation was ordered and he was put behind bars for many years. Later, he remained in exile in London. In the 1990s, he ended his exile and came back to his homeland. On the sixth of December, 1996, he formed the Balochistan National Party (BNP), comprising the nationalist elements from all parties. In the general elections 1997, the BNP acquired a majority in the province.
On February22, 1997, his son Akhtar Jan Mengal got elected as the chief minister of Balochistan. After 19 months, he developed differences with the central government and resigned in July 1998. Due to old age, Sardar Attaullah Mengal stepped aside from active politics in 2006. He will be remembered long in the politics of Balochistan. It was Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, who motivated him to take part in politics, but more of that another time.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, an old family feud took the life of popular folk singer Syed Kifayat Ali Shah Bacha. The FIR lodged in Zaida police station contained some initial facts. The FIR was lodged by Syed Gul Badshah s/o Syed Meher Ali Shah r/o Zaida. He stated that on the third of September, he went to offer the Friday prayers in the local Masjid-i-Tauheed located in Ziarat Payan. He was accompanied by his brother Kifayat Bacha and nephew Farhad Bacha. As coincidence would have it, some members of the rival family also showed up. An old enmity had been going on between the two families for two decades. This feud had taken quite a few lives on both sides.
Gul Badshah told police that on entrance in the mosque, fire was opened on them allegedly by Awais, r/o Zaida. With a loaded pistol, the one who reportedly provided cover to the alleged shooter was Abid, r/o Maneri Payan. All three of them got injured. Kifayat was rushed to the Bacha Khan Medical Complex in Shah Mansoor, where he succumbed to his injuries. The suspected culprits fled on a motorcycle parked outside the mosque. Police registered a case and started investigations.
Sub-Inspector Zarnabi Khan, who visited the crime site, said that before entering the mosque, Kifayat was removing his shoes and he came under fire. Another police official said that Kifayat’s rivals were already there in the mosque. Kifayat also had a pistol with him, but he could not get an opportunity to defend himself. SHO of Zaida police station, Shafi Rehman said that raids were being conducted to arrest the culprits. It may be recalled that a few months ago, a court of law had set Kifayat free in a murder case. Kifayat was the president of the Hunari Tolana, a society meant for the welfare of artists in Swabi district.
The folk singer’s murder was said to be the result of a family feud. However, the law and order situation had visibly worsened in other KP cities, especially in Peshawar. The parliamentary leader of Jamaat-i-Islami in KP Assembly, Inayatullah Khan, initiated the general discussion on rising crimes. Citing newspaper reports, he said that as many as 55 persons got murdered in Peshawar City alone in a month. He said that street crimes were also on the rise. As far as the causes were concerned, which lay behind this unprecedented upsurge in crimes, he linked the crimes with poverty and drug addiction.