‘Extremist’ Shafiq Mengal allowed to contest by-poll, says BNP-M


Despite having close links with the notorious terror outfit, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Shafiq Mengal is contesting the October 14 by-elections on Khuzdar’s Balochistan Assembly seat PB-40 — the home constituency of Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal.

Shafiq had contested and lost the July 25 general election on Khuzdar’s National Assembly seat as an independent candidate, but this time, he is competing against BNP-M leader Muhammad Akbar on a provincial assembly seat.

Reacting to the matter, BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal tweeted, “Sorry to hear that a fanatic extremist thief is allowed to contest elections in this country in my hometown.”

“If he wins, he will do way worse than he’s already done,” Mengal warned, adding that Shafiq “stands no chance” if polls are fair.

According to the initial unconfirmed results, BNP-M’s Akbar is leading the PB-40 tally against Shafiq.

Shafiq, who allegedly formed Difa-e-Balochistan outfit, is accused of killing and abducting the workers of Baloch nationalist parties; however, Shafiq denies these accusations.

Shafiq’s name also came to the fore when a mass grave was found in Khuzdar’s Tootak area. According to the BBC, at least 20 eyewitnesses had told a judicial probe that Shafiq was responsible for the coldblooded murder of at least 17 persons, whose bodies were found in the mass grave.

The provincial government had established a judicial tribunal soon after the recovery of the mass grave in Totak area of Khuzdar in January 2014, after Balochistan’s then chief minister Abdul Malik named Shafiq’s death squad for the killings.

The report, however, still needs to be released.

According to a Reuters’ report, a would-be suicide bomber’s confession helped them identify several key militants, including a suicide vest maker and the man who oversees the network – Shafiq Mengal.

“Our intelligence shows that he has 500-1,000 militants working under him and is living in the mountains,” a senior police official was quoted as saying.

In 2014, he was booked for alleged involvement in the May 25 attack on Levies check post in Khuzdar district. The assault led to the deaths of eight Balochistan Levies personnel.

Shafiq’s father Naseer Mengal was a former federal minister and has been in electoral politics for over three decades.