Bugti threatens to join hunger strike over Sui jobs
By Azizullah Khan
QUETTA: Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) chief and tribal leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti on Tuesday said he and many other people of the area would join the hunger strike camp if gas companies failed to provide jobs to the local people.
About 172 people were on hunger strike since the last seven days, where 25 reportedly had lost consciousness. Reports from Dera Bugti said some of the people refused to get medical treatment. About 125 people were sitting in the hunger strike camp in Sui gas field, 40 in Pirkoh gas field and seven in Loti gas field demanding jobs in gas companies. Most of them were children of those employees who were retired from services or had died. Local people were demanding for the provision of jobs to the sons of retired or deceased employees of gas companies. About 155 vacancies were reported in three gas companies.
The local people were observing a complete strike in the mornings and all markets and shops remained closed and roads were blocked. Employees of Sui gas companies were also protesting in support of the local people.
Talking to Daily Times via telephone, Nawab Bugti said tribal elders and other people of the area were furious over the companies’ attitude and wanted to ask the companies to vacate their lands. He said people used to attend the daily open court where tribal elders pointed out that they should issue notices to gas companies in Dera Bugti to accept the demand charter or vacate their land. Nawab Bugti pointed out that the Balochistan chief secretary had called yesterday and said he, along with other officials, wanted to meet him today (Wednesday). Three gas fields namely Uch, Loti and Pirkoh were paying dues to the local people where as Sui gas field authorities were not, Nawab Bugti added.
The issue was raised soon after the attack on gas pipelines in Mazari Goth area located on the border of the Balochistan and Punjab provinces in January. The people of the Bugti tribe were of the view that the agreement between gas companies had expired on December 31, 2002, where as a new agreement had not been signed so far.