Pakistan: Travel ban on 5 Baloch leaders

May 2, 2006 at 1:55 PM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, May 2 (UPI) -- Pakistan has imposed a ban on foreign travel on five Baloch political leaders, including lawmaker Abdul Rauf Mengal.

Baloch nationalists have long been up in arms against the federal government for its alleged step-motherly treatment of the province and the decision of the Pakistani military to establish three more cantonments in the region, which they say is rich in minerals.

The Baloch leaders' names, The Hindu newspaper said Tuesday, have been placed on exit control lists. They include Abdul Rauf Mengal, Mir Kazim Ali Bugti, Ali Gill Bijrani, Amanullah Kanrani and former Senator and Sardar Sher Ali Mazari.

Mengal condemned the government's decision, and said the opposition parties would raise the issue in the National Assembly and demand an explanation from the government.

"I will also take this issue with the international human rights organizations and move the court against it," he said.

Mengal was arrested in early April at the Karachi residence of Baloch National Party leader Ataullah Mengal on charges of kidnapping and torturing officials of the Pakistani army and intelligence agencies.

He strongly refuted the charges, and said the government was conspiring to crush the Baloch nationalist movement, which wants the province to see a share in its mineral wealth, and demands the removal of the huge army presence in the area.

The Pakistani government says the region has become a heaven for militants, who are running terror training camps all over the province.

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