Sultan M Hali
MAHMOOD Khan Achakzai, a Pakistani politician and chairman of Balochistan’s Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party had stirred up a controversy by saying that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa belongs to Afghans and they can live there without fear and irritation. “If Afghans are harassed in other parts of Pakistan, they should come here to the KP province, where no one can ask them for refugee cards, because it also belongs to them,” Achakzai said. He added “Kabul and Islamabad should exercise extreme caution to resolve Torkham crossing conflict. Otherwise, they should leave the issue to the US and China, and they would resolve it within two weeks,” he told Radio Ashna. Later he clarified his statement, saying that Afghan refugees should be sent in a dignified manner. He, however, added that his party would put up resistance if Afghan refugees were harassed.
Not having learnt his lesson, the seasoned politician caused further heartburn, when after the August 8 attack in Quetta Civil Hospital, Mehmood Khan Achakzai in a statement in Parliament called the deadly terrorist incident result of intelligence failure. The Election Commission of Pakistan Mehmood Khan Achakzai on September 1st over his controversial statement in the parliament after Quetta hospital attack. A former presidential candidate Waheed Kamal had filed a petition in the election commission seeking disqualification of Mehmood Khan Achakzai over his statement. The petition said that Achakzai’s speech on the floor of the National Assembly was a bid to malign the armed forces, which is against Article 19 of the constitution. The petitioner seeks disqualification of Mehmood Khan Achakzai over his statement, “which bring disrepute to the security forces”. A bench of the ECP headed by the Chief Election Commissioner while hearing the case directed the PkMAP leader to appear on September 1st to explain his position. The commission adjourned the hearing till August 17. Some people have termed Achakzai’s outburst as unpatriotic and some have even termed his comments as being based on treason. Bold statements like the one made by Achakzai, charge sheeting the security agencies of Pakistan is fraught with peril. However, one has to be objective.
Did Mr. Achakzai shower accolades on the same security agencies when they apprehended a big fish like the senior RAW operative Commander Kulbhoshan Yadav, who was engaged in the nefarious task of recruiting misled Baloch youth to foment terror attacks in the province and derail the CPEC? Achakzai did not utter word praise for the security agencies disrupting numerous terror attacks and nipping them in the bud. What appears questionable is that a large number of his close relatives are enjoying perks of important government positions. His brother; Muhammad Khan Achakzai was appointed Governor Balochistan and Hamid Khan Achakzai is Provincial Minister for Planning and Development. His cousins Majeed Khan Achakzai is MPA, Tawwab Khan Achakzai is MD BEF and Amanullah Achakzai is Principal Law College. Two of his nephews; Mir Wais Khan Achakzai is Director QESCO and Ziland Khan Achakzai is Deputy Director Governor House. His niece (daughter of Hamid Khan, Provincial Planning Minister is Grade 17 officer in Planning & Development Department. His brothers-in-law are also enjoying enviable positions in the government. Qazi Achakzai is Manager Quetta Airport and Manzoor Achakzai is DIG Motorway. Salar Achakzai (nephew of his wife) is Deputy Registrar Balochistan University of Information Technology & Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS) and Mustafa Kamal Achakzai (cousin of his wife) is Deputy Registrar BUITEMS. His sister in law Naseema Achakzai is MNA and Spozmi Achakzai (MPA/Womwn Reserve Seats) is also related to him.
With so many chestnuts in the fire, one would expect him to be more considerate of government organizations, while brutally holding them responsible for negligence. His own track record is not clean. Mahmood Khan Achakzai (MKA) was nominated for being involved in firing on police during an anti Gen Zia-ul-Haq procession in 1983 and fled to Afghanistan to avoid arrest. He remained at large in Afghanistan from 1983-1989 until a general amnesty was given by Benazir Government in 1989. During his stay at Afghanistan, he maintained close contacts with anti-Pakistan factions. Due to those contacts, he managed further links in India and Russia and used them for his frequent sponsored visits to these countries. Mahmood Khan Achakzai is considered to be an architect of ‘Pakhtoonistan Issue’ and propagated such themes inciting a sense of deprivation in Pashtoon community of Balochistan. He is reportedly, maintaining close contacts with Abdul Raziq (Inspector General Police, Kandahar) who is known for his anti-Pakistan stance and providing support to Baloch sub nationalists residing in Afghanistan. He gifted bullet proof vehicle and cash $ 3,00,000 to Achakzai as support during general elections 2013.
An instigator by nature, he has been mainly responsible for a deadly feud between his tribe Hameedzai vs. Ghabezai and is nominated in number of FIRs of murder cases. Mahmood Khan Achakzai has frequently been accused of accepting money from foreign countries. He has been accused directly of accepting large sums from Iran, USA, Afghanistan and India. His security In-charge Sufi Khuda-e-Dad is of ill repute and alleged to be a gangster and is assisted by another outlaw namely Umer. Both these individuals have stockpiled a huge cache of illegal arms and ammunition in suburbs of Quetta City.
It is also rumoured that Mahmood Khan Achakzai indirectly collects huge extortion money in the name of party donations and coerces his opponents through armed militia, which he harbours ostensibly for his security. With such allegations, it is difficult to swallow any criticism, however realistic it may sound. The province of Balochistan is passing through a very traumatic period while the state of Pakistan and its armed forces are engaged in major operations against the terrorists. Balochistan and the rest of Pakistan have already paid a heavy toll of lives in the war on terror. The brunt of the lives sacrificed belongs to the armed forces. One would expect a stalwart like Mahmood Khan Achakzai to be more sympathetic to the law enforcement agencies rather than chastising them.
—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.