| Workers carry a coffin allegedly containing the body of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in Dera Bugti, Baluchistan, on Friday. (AP)
Islamabad, Sept. 1: An elderly rebel chieftain, whose killing by Pakistani security forces last weekend sparked violent protests, was hastily buried today in his hometown in the restive province of Baluchistan. No family members were present at the funeral.
Only about 30 members of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti’s tribe and government officials attended the funeral at his family’s ancestral graveyard in Dera Bugti, a town 245 km southeast of the provincial capital, Quetta. They were outnumbered by well over 100 security personnel.
A local cleric, Maluk Bugti, led the prayers at the graveyard. None of the mourners were allowed to pay their last respects to the slain leader. Bugti’s body was brought to Dera Bugti in a locked coffin box.
“We do not know whom did they [authorities] bury in Dera Bugti,” Bugti’s angry son Jamil said. Local authorities claimed that they had to quickly bury the decomposing body of the Baluch leader after his sons refused to attend the funeral.
Bugti, nicknamed the Tiger of Baluchistan, was killed on August 26 during an assault on his cave hideout in the Kohlu district of Baluchistan. His death sparked protests across Pakistan’s poorest province. Bugti’s body was retrieved yesterday from the rubble of the cave where he had been hiding with his most loyal fighters.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz claimed that the operation was not directed against any individual as security forces were unaware that Bugti was hiding inside the cave hideout.
However, Jamil Bugti said: “They [government officials] are liars…they killed my father.” He added that the government had no intention to hand over the chieftain’s body to his family and wanted to bury it in their absence.
Jamil said the family wanted the body to be flown to Quetta but the authorities refused to do so. A central Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) leader Liaqat Baloch said Bugti’s burial was un-Islamic and was conducted in an unlawful manner. “Burying the body in a locked coffin and that too without showing it to his sons and other family members was unethical, un-Islamic and unlawful,” said Baloch.