Gazain Marri shuns separatist agenda, vows to join mainstream politics | Pakistan Today

Gazain Marri shuns separatist agenda, vows to join mainstream politics

  • Supports CPEC in a historic first saying it will bring prosperity in Balochistan 

ISLAMABAD: In a major breakthrough, Nawabzada Gazain Marri on Tuesday announced to quit separatist and nationalist politics and told his supporters that he will now join mainstream politics.

Addressing a gathering of the fellow Baloch populace in Golarchi, Marri vowed to fully back the game-changing China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), telling his followers that various projects under the CPEC would bring prosperity in Balochistan and other provinces.

He, however, warned the government against backlash if people of smaller provinces do not receive benefits from CPEC projects. “There would certainly be lots of uproar if fruits of CPEC don’t reach the poor people of smaller provinces,” he warned.

Gazain said that joining the mainstream politics was the “only way” to serve the people of Balochistan. He, however, did not indicate which party he would join, saying that he would first meet his supporters living in various parts of the country before deciding about the future political course.

The Baloch leader hoped that justice would be served to him in the cases filed against him, adding that “these cases are politically motivated.”

Replying to a question regarding the formation of a new government in Balochistan, he said: “It would not be able to deliver much to the people since it does not have enough time.”

He urged authorities concerned to hold talks with peaceful Baloch citizens who were forced to go hiding in the mountains during the rule of General (retd) Musharraf.

He said issues like enforced disappearances should also be addressed by those in power, and assured that the people of his community would fully support state agencies in curbing the menace of terrorism.

Gazain made it clear that all the people of his community are patriotic and want to receive equal rights. He urged the leaders of his community to educate their children so that they could become good and responsible citizens.

Who facilitated Marri’s return? 

A source informed Pakistan Today that Marri’s change of heart was a result of back-channel contacts spanned over the past year. “Gazain Marri’s return and subsequent release on a bail are a part of a deal with the government.

This reflects how successful has been the backdoor contacts with the rebel leaders. More such breakthroughs are likely to be made under the peace talks with Baloch rebels,” the source privy to the process said.

The source informed that National Security Advisor Lt Gen (retd) Nasser Janjua had played a key role in securing a deal with Gazain last year through backchannel contacts. Gen Janjua, however, contradicts the claim, saying he was unaware of any deal with Gazain Marri.

“Apart from Nasser Janjua, former Balochistan chief minister Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, Marri’s brother Jangaiz Marri and another influential personality of Balochistan was aware of the dialogue with Gazain and some other rebels,” the source said, adding that more such talks are taking place and there would be more good news about Balochistan soon.

Gazain Marri, son of the late nationalist leader of Balochistan Khair Baksh Marri, is prime accused in the murder of Balochistan High Court judge, Justice Nawaz Marri, who was shot dead in a targeted attack in Quetta on January 7, 2000. Gazain is also accused of facilitating several terrorist attacks by banned militant organisation Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).

Gazain was arrested at Quetta airport upon his return from 18-year self-exile last September.

It is pertinent to mention here that top figures of Marri and Bugti clan have been accused of being in the nexus of sponsoring terrorism in Balochistan. Though in the past, Marris and Bugtis have been at each other’s throat, but the nexus developed when Nawab Akbar Bugti joined the rebellion in 2005-6.

The sister of Brahamdagh Bugti, the chief of terrorist organisation Balochistan Republican Army (BRA), is married to Gazain’s younger brother Mehran Marri, who was recently banned by the Swiss government from entering Switzerland on the basis that his presence could pose a security risk to the country.

Media reports said that Mehran Marri, a British national, was detained at the Zurich airport for at least 12 hours last year in November, and was then deported by the Swiss authorities informing him that the Swiss government had decided to place a lifetime ban on him.

The Swiss government told Mehran that he was being banned from entry for allegedly violating “Article 5 of Regulation (EC) No562/2006 (Schengen Borders Code) and Articles 5 and 65 of December 16, 2005, on foreigners”.

The law relates to areas of risk to public order, internal security, public health, and international relations of one or more of the member states. The official said that “international relations” were of concern in the case of Mehran.

Action against Mehran Marri was taken on Pakistan government’s request which had handed over a “dossier” to the Swiss authorities.

The Swiss charge-sheet, according to papers seen by Pakistan Today, said that Marri was “a Pakistani national of Great Britain” associated with militant groups. It claimed that that the UBA “collaborated with the terrorist movement, Balochistan Republican Army (BRA) under Brahmadagh Bugti”.

The charge-sheet pointed out that Mehran Marri was married to Bugti’s sister and accused Marri of being in close contact with Bugti. “If Marri was able to enter Switzerland to work with Brahamdagh Bugti and coordinate terrorist operations, it could jeopardize the internal security of the country,” the charge-sheet said.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]

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