Renewed armed clashes erupt in Balochistan following temporary ceasefire

Representative Photo

In the heart of Balochistan’s Khuzdar district lies Tehsil Wadh, a region gripped by escalating violence as two armed groups, led by BNP-Mengal chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal and Shafiq Mengal, engage in intense clashes. The recent clashes have transformed the area into a battlefront. After a temporary ceasefire, the clashes have again resumed.

The confrontations, which commenced on a Wednesday evening, saw the use of heavy weapons, prompting the suspension of traffic on the vital Quetta-Karachi highway. Sardar Akhtar Mengal and his supporters have accused Mir Shafiq Mengal of heading a notorious “death squad” backed by Pakistani forces. Allegedly responsible for spying on Baloch nationalists and forcibly disappearing individuals, these local militias seek to weaken Baloch nationalists ahead of the upcoming elections, with Sardar Akhtar Mengal himself in their crosshairs.

The situation has been further complicated by grave allegations levied against Shafiq Mengal by Baloch nationalists, activists, and journalists. Accused of numerous human rights violations, drug trafficking, kidnappings, and targeted killings in Wadh and Khuzdar regions, he has been linked to the discovery of over a hundred bodies in mass graves in 2014. These bodies bore signs of torture and had been defaced with lime, making identification impossible.

The confrontation, lasted over two hours before authorities intervened. The Khuzdar administration had managed to broker a temporary ceasefire until Thursday morning, with ongoing talks to establish a permanent resolution between the armed groups.

Efforts Of Reconciliation And Resumption Of Armed Clashes In Wadh

Amid the tense situation, Wadh’s markets and public areas have remained closed, forcing residents to stay confined to their homes. Despite the cessation of gunfire, armed men from both factions have entrenched themselves in their positions.

In light of the situation, Nawab Aslam Raisani, chief of Sarawan tribes, had called on Akhtar Mengal, Shafiq Mengal, and other tribal elders to pursue reconciliation following tribal customs. Stressing the importance of settling disputes peacefully, he warned that internal strife would only weaken the Baloch cause and play into the hands of their adversaries.

In response to the escalating situation, veteran rights activist Mama Qadeer Baloch, also Vice-Chairman of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), had also made a heartfelt appeal to the Mengal tribe in Wadh. Urging them to resolve their disputes through traditional Baloch methods, he emphasized the need to prevent further fragmentation within the community and urged the intervention of the Khan of Kalat to facilitate negotiations between Akhtar Mengal and Shafiq Mengal.

While the negotiations were on the line, today the firing started once again, in which a civilian is allegedly injured. Akhtar Mengal’s daughter Benari Mengal has confirmed that the rockets have been launched over their house by the faction of Sharif Mengal.

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