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KARACHI: Veteran politician and founder of the Balochistan National Party (BNP) Sardar Attaullah Mengal has passed at the age of 93.
He was unwell and was hospitalised at a private hospital in Karachi for the last one week. His funeral will be held in his hometown of Wadh, in district Khuzdar.
Mengal was a political stalwart and feudal figure hailing from Balochistan. He was born in 1929 in Wadh, and became the first Chief Minister of Balochistan during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s premiership from 1 May, 1972 to 13 February, 1973.
He was the head of the Shahizai Mangal tribe until he nominated one of his grandsons Sardar Asadullah Mengal as his tribal successor. Ataullah Mengal was the father of Balochistan National Party chief Akhtar Mengal.
Baloch leader Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, a founding member of the National Awami Party (NAP), introduced Mengal to the world of politics. In 1962, Mengal was elected to the West Pakistan provincial assembly.
Ataullah Mengal participated in the founding of Sindhi Baloch Pushtoon Front in London on 31 March 1985. Mengal chose to go into self-exile in London during General Ziaul Haq’s era. He returned to Pakistan in the 1990s and formed the BNP. He was known for his struggle for the rights of Balochistan and campaigned for a nationalist movement for over four decades.
Condolences poured in from politicians on Mengal’s death. President Dr Arif Alvi has expressed deep grief and sorrow over the sad demise of the veteran politician. In his condolence message, he also expressed sympathy with the bereaved family and prayed for high ranks to the departed soul.
PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said he was saddened to hear about Mengal’s passing away. PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal also expressed sadness and prayed for Mengal.