An Enemy of the State in Pakistan’s Parliament
By Sajjad Shaukat
External powers which have been supporting the Baloch Sub-Nationalists (BSNs) as part of their unfinished agenda against Pakistan and its armed forces leave no stone unturned in misguiding the Baloch people by manipulating one after another issue.
But, it is regrettable that some internal entities of Pakistan are also assisting some foreign powers are exploiting various issues so as to fulfill the external agenda of the enemies of Pakistan.
In this regard, political character of Mehmood Khan Achakzaii, the chairman of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) which represents Pakhtuns in Balochistan is notable, as he has also become an enemy of Pakistan.
In the recent past, Mahmood Khan Achakzai and his party PkMAP have opposed the 31st Constitution Amendment Bill in the Parliament, which paved the way for the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.
FATA merger has always been in a quandary because of malicious opposition of the merger bill from Achakzai. His opposition to the merger of FATA with KPK is meant to sabotage the much-needed reforms in order to protect his political influence in the tribal areas. The hypocrisy of Achakzai is evident from the fact that he, on one hand, keep on harping about unity among the Pakhtun of Balochistan, KP, FATA and Afghanistan and on the other hand, he is in the forefront denying unity of the Pakhtun tribesmen with the Pakhtun of KP due to his own vested interests and to please his masters in Afghanistan and India.
While, amalgamation of FATA/PATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province will result into multiple benefits of the people by overcoming their multi-faceted problems which these people have been facing, but, Achakzai is still denouncing this merger.
It is of particular attention that in June, 2016, talking to the Radio Ashna, Mehmood Khan Achakzai who is very close to the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and was also present in his procession at Abbottabad had stirred up a controversy by saying that “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [KP] 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 further stated, “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.” Later, he allegedly added that his party would put up resistance if Afghan refugees were harassed. Speaking in the tone of anti-Pakistan powers, he stated that the area of KPK has been annexed forcefully by Pakistan.
It is notable that in April 8, 2018, the protesters of the social movement of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) which is backed by the enemies of Pakistan gathered in Pakistan’s capital city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar for a mass demonstration to demand the protection of the rights of Pashtuns. PTM denounced the merger of FATA/PATA with K P. Similar protest-demonstrations in solidarity with the PTM were held on the same day in Australia, Sweden, Germany, London, Washington and Afghanistan and along the Pak-Afghan border, which proved the foreign connections of the PTM movement.
In fact, American CIA and Indian RAW which are in collaboration with and with the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) are clandestinely assisting the Afghan National Unity Government (NUG) to manipulate the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), as these external entities are behind this movement.
It is mentionable that when leader of the PTM, Manzoor Pashteen hold a public rally in Lahore on April 23 and in Swat on April 29, this year, Balochistan Assembly members Arfa Siddique, Obaidullah Jan Babar and Senator Usman Khan Kakar who belonged to Mahmood Khan Achakzai-led Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party also attended the rallies.
However, Mehmood Khan Achakzai has been an extremely controversial figure since last two decades. He is known for being extremely vocal against the state elements and maintains a history to create rift amongst the masses. A highly opportunist politician, who sides the one in power in Pakistan to muster perks. He remained a highly controversial figure throughout his political career for maintaining viewpoint that KPK belongs to Afghanistan.
As regards the historical perspective of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, the party was raised by Mehmood Khan Achakzai’s father Abdus Samad Khan Achakzai whose stance was that Pakhtun belt along Afghan border belongs to Afghanistan. He was repeatedly imprisoned for 13 years both by the British Raj and the Pakistani government for secessionist activities. He was a member of the Congress party in the Balochistan area of British India, and campaigned for Pashtun autonomy along with Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Bacha Khan)—a follower of Mohandas Gandhi, he was known by many as the quoted by many writers.
In this connection, in his article, “Vikings of Qilla Abdullah,” Brig. Mehboob Qadir (Retd) writes: “For those who may not know how much power Achakzai wield in our merit and justice starved country and in that unfortunate province, here is a fact sheet. Their head and literally a lord is MNA Mahmood Khan Achakzai who is known for his theatrical appearance and brazen political opportunism. He heads the Pakhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party. This party is a lesser cousin of the ANP and came into being more due to a sense of abandonment by their parent party in Peshawar than for any real concern for Pashtuns in Balochistan. There is another more powerful historic reason behind the rise of the Achakzais. After the fall of Abdalites in Kabul, the Achakzais had nowhere to turn to. After the creation of Pakistan, a political void in Balochistan revived their hopes for power. This also explains why Achakzai’s power base is in Afghanistan where Afghanis use him for pressurizing Pakistan and provide him support. There is plenty of open source material available showing his relationship with the enemies of Pakistan who hate Punjabis”.
Notably, August 8, 2016, terrorists attacked Government Hospital of Quetta with suicide bombing and shooting, killing more than 70 people, mainly lawyers and injured about 130 with credible proofs available that RAW was involved in this incidence. As the blast took place, instead of aiding in relief efforts and indicting his longtime ally RAW and India, Achakzai purposely instigated the situation and blamed the security and intelligence agencies of the country for targeting the masses of the province. He also maligned the armed forces of Pakistan on the floor of the National Assembly in the same context. No notice was taken by the Government as well of this brazen statement by their political affiliate which is point of grave concern.
He and his party opposed the Kalabagh Dam project. In a public meeting in 2005, he remarked that the controversial Kalabagh Dam will never be accepted by his party because it is an anti-Pukhtun project and would harm the people of small federating units for the progress of the big brother. He added that those championing the cause of Kalabagh Dam would harm the unity of the country.
Mehmood Khan Achakzai managed to orchestrate perks for a long list of his family members on key government appointments in return for supporting the ruling party in the government. There is a famous Urdu idiom “Andha Bante Rewarian Bar Bar Apnon Ko” that fits precisely on Achakzai. His brother, Muhammad Khan Achakzai was appointed Governor Balochistan and his other brother Hamid Khan Achakzai was Provincial Minister for Planning and Development. His cousins—Majeed Khan Achakzai were MPA, Tawab Khan Achakzai is MD BEF and Amanullah Achakzai had been 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), is a 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 was MNA and Spozmi Achakzai (MPA/Women Reserve Seats).
It is worth-mentioning that Achakzai was charged with his involvement 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 Afghanistan, and used them for his frequent sponsored visits to these countries.
He is considered to be an architect of ‘Pakhtoonistan Issue’ and propagated such themes that incited a sense of deprivation in Pashtoon community of Balochistan. He is reportedly maintaining close contacts with Commander Abdul Raziq (Afghan Intelligence Commander) who is known for his anti-Pakistan activities and providing support to Baloch sub nationalists residing in Afghanistan. He also reportedly had been training RAW agents for terror acts in Quetta and Balochistan. He was gifted two bullet proof smuggled vehicles and cash of 30, 00,000 USD as support during general elections 2013. In addition, Achakzai did not utter even a single word on apprehension of the Indian RAW agent Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav from his constituency Baluchistan for obvious reasons.
He is known for maintaining an anti-military outlook. In a very recent instance, he blamed an ISI Brigadier for being a key player for toppling the government of PML(N) in Balochistan. He also alleged interference by the armed forces and intelligence agencies in the Senate polls. He went on to say that “I appeal to the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the army Chief that if you are loyal to the oath you have taken, then stop interfering into politics.”
Besides, his venomous speech about killing of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti on the floor of National Assembly 11 years ago is also on record that blamed Army and the government of that time for being responsible for deteriorating the security situation in the country.
Moreover, it is alleged that 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. Reportedly, 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 rumored 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.
Every Pakistani know that the province of Balochistan is passing through an extremely 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 relation to the war on terror. Those who sacrificed their lives belong to both armed forces and the patriotic civilians of the state of Pakistan.
Nonetheless, one would expect and hope that an undesirable stalwart like Mahmood Khan Achakzai would be more sympathetic to the law enforcement agencies and the state rather than chastising them for the sake of personal gains by reinforcing Pakistan’s adversary’s narrative.