He spoke with the charisma of a statesman, the intellect of an academic, the passion of a poet.
Former Balochistan chief minister and senior politician Sardar Ataullah Mengal without mincing words attacked the Pakistan military and the infamous Inter-Services Intelligence for turning Balochistan into a bloody killing field.
Mengal used chaste, literary Urdu that is taught in Aligarh University in India to put the real culrpits in Pakistan politics, the army generals, on the mat.
His interview was widely hailed by the Baloch Diaspora..
“Pakistan is being run by the army generals. they are the real rulers. And if anyone thinks otherwise, he is living in a fool’s paradise,” he said.
The fearless octagenarian leader from Balochistan narrated the saga of blood and tears of Balochistan bedevilling his people.
In particular, while he attacked the military and infamous Inter-Services Intelligence, Mengal ridiculed Pakistan interior minister Rahman Malik who is bascially from a Punjabi barber’s family.
This demand that Baloch should lay down their arms only then he will talk to them is a barber’s demand, he said.
Mengal’s interview was broadcast by DAWN TV on Christmas day.
Mengal eldest son Asadullah Mengal was forcibly disappeared and killed by Pakistan’s dreaded Pakistani inelligence services way back in 1974. One of is sons who is lovingly called “Baloch Nelson Mandela,” Sardar Akhtar Mengal, faced inhuman torture and alleged poisoning at the hands of the military regime of former army chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf.
Both father and son were chief ministers, but were not allowed to complete their terms and but in stead faced prison terms.
Mengal, in his crimson years, has now become a voice for moderation in Balochistan politics though he is no stranger to emotional politics himself.
He said the youth were not adopting a rational approach to politics, but blamed the military for pushing the Baloch against the wall.
Mengal and another senior Baloch leader Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, 92, are ranked as the two top leaders of Balochistan. Both spent decades behind bars and Marri lives at the Karachi home of Mengal’s eldest son, Javed Mengal.
However, Baloch commoners ask why the two leaders have not met to chalk out a joint strategy for Balochistan.
Senior Baloch activist Saeed Ameeri, who was once based in Iraq and now lives in U.A.E., commended Mengal’s statement.
“I appeal to him to take a further step to bring all parliamentarian politicians to work on a single agenda of freedom struggle,” Ameeri said.