Pakistan: Nawab Akbar Bugti Killed in Baluchistan

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Fighting between the Pakistan army and Balochi rebels resulted in heavy casualties and the a Baloch leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti, the chief of the Bugti tribe has been killed near the town of Dera Bugti, according to Pakistan government sources.

37 Baloch tribals and 21 security personnel have been reported to be killed in the fighting.

Upon receiving news of his death, students at the Balochistan University rioted and police fired warning shots to disperse them. Leaders from the opposition parties, Pakistan People's Party and the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal have expressed shock and grief at the death and reiterated their opposition to the use of force in resolving the Balochistan conflict.

A former Governor and Chief Minister of Balochistan, Nawab Bugti has led a campaign to win more autonomy for the Balochistan region, a mineral rich area and the main supplier of natural gas in the country. Baloch nationalists have accused the Pakistan government of exploiting the regions resources without contributing to the area's development.

The recent fighting began after separatist rebels attacked natural gas facilities in the area.