Truth Tracker: Is the BNP-M planning to topple the federal government?
Mengal: The BNP-M has no plan to topple the federal government. We would be happy to cooperate with the government if our demands are addressed as promised. Our party’s alliance with the ruling government will remain intact as long as the six-point agreement between the two sides is implemented. If the other side fails to deliver, the BNP-M will quit the alliance. Our relationship with the PTI-led government was established on the promise of meeting our demands.
Moreover, no one will be allowed to do business on our resources and the BNP-M will shield the natural resources and rights of people of Balochistan.
Truth Tracker: Is the federal government implementing the accord as promised?
Mengal: Sadly speaking, no. The federal government is not acting upon the six-point accord signed between my party and the ruling PTI. We are not displeased from the federal government but it is our right to seek clarification from them if our demands are illegal or unconstitutional? Our demands represent the voice of the people of Balochistan. So far progress on the terms, there is zero progress on recovery of missing persons, protection of rights of provincial resources, allocations for health, education, infrastructure and construction of new dams in Balochistan.
Truth Tracker: Did the PTI-led government show seriousness in addressing Balochistan’s reservations on the CPEC?
Mengal: The government is showing seriousness towards provincial reservations. The BNP-M has already shared its concerns related to corridor project with the government.
The BNP-M never opposed development in the resource-rich but impoverished province. We are, however, not in the favour of such model of development that turns the local population into a minority. Balochistan hardly got anything in the CPEC.
Truth Tracker: How do you see the recent meeting between the two major opposition parties – the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)?
Mengal: PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif will stabilise the country’s political climate.
Truth Tracker: How the issues of Balochistan, including of missing persons, can be resolved?
Mengal: We sought a political solution to the issue of missing persons. The problems of the province would not be resolved by building dams or launching the CPEC projects. The PTI government completely failed to address the issue of missing persons and nothing is being done for their recovery. We will not let federal and provincial governments sit comfortably until they find these missing persons. The BNP-M will table a resolution in the provincial assembly on the issue.
The federal government has a year to come up with a solution to the problem, and the BNP-M will not sit silently during this time but will consistently press the rulers to resolve the matter. Missing persons should be recovered and released immediately and if they are involved in any crime, there should stand an open trial. It is the responsibility of the present government to meet the mothers and sisters sitting in freezing temperatures under the open sky.
The families of missing persons also filed a petition in the Supreme Court but nothing happened.
Mama Qadeer Baloch travelled more than 2,000km on foot along with a group of Baloch women and men from Quetta to Karachi and then to Islamabad to raise their voice for missing persons.
The BNP-M also participated in the long march and took part in all protests raising the issue. When the government was being formed, political parties provided lists for ministries. We didn’t give a list for ministries, but a list of the missing persons to the federal government. Please recover them at the earliest.