Rich tributes were showered on Baloch statesman and former chief minister of Balochistan, Sardar Attaullah Mengal, at a condolence meeting in Miami on Saturday afternoon.
The meeting, which was attended by both Baloch and Americans, was held at the home of Baloch American Congress (BAC) president Dr. Tara Chand.
Calling Sardar Mengal a symbol of Baloch defiance against Pakistan’s colonial rule of Balochistan, the speakers highlighted the struggle of the late leader against Pakistan state atrocities since the forced occupation of France-sized Balochistan by the Pakistan army on March 27, 1948.
The speakers pointed out that Sardar Mengal’s eldest son Asadullah Mengal was one of the first victims of enforced disappearance in Pakistan, whose body was never found. The son was forcibly disappeared, along with his friend Ahmad Shah Kurd, by the ISI on February 6, 1976, in Karachi, while Sardar Mengal was under arrest.
They said Sardar Mengal had spent 11 years behind bars in protest against the dictatorial policies of successive Pakistan governments and also spent more than a decade in exile but remained committed to his principled politics until the very end.
The speakers recalled that during his brief nine-month stint as chief minister of Balochistan in 1972-73, Sardar Mengal established the University of Balochistan, Bolan Medical College, and the Board of Education in Balochistan. The late leader was also the first Baloch chieftain who gave away half of his land holdings to his people.
They said Sardar Mengal struggled not only for justice and liberty for the Baloch people but also for the rights of other oppressed nationalities Sindhis, Seraikis, and Pashtuns in Pakistan. In addition to BAC secretary-general Razzak Baloch, other guests also attended, read the BAC statement.