Sardar Akhtar Mengal (Urdu: سردار اختر مینگل) is a former Chief Minister of the province of Balochistan in Pakistan. He is the president of the Baloch political party in the province, the Balochistan National Party (BNP), and the son of prominent politician, Sardar Ataullah Mengal.
Arrest and release
Mengal was arrested in September 2006, along with around 700 other political workers, in a government crackdown in Balochistan. He was held because he was planning to do a long march against the Musharaf regime. He was reportedly produced in court in an “iron cage”.
He was released on May 9, 2008 and all charges against him were dropped by the Government of Sindh. The Balochistan government withdrew all cases, including those of sedition, against Sardar Akhtar Mengal, but Mengal’s Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) termed the action a “cosmetic measure taken by a powerless provincial government”. The actual centres of power in the country were the military and the intelligence agencies, he said, adding that the establishment did not support cooperation between political forces and did not want Mengal and hundreds of BNP leaders released.
The Balochistan National Party was holding a demonstration protesting the delay in Ahktar Mengal’s release when word of Mengal’s release reached them.
To express their pleasure, they distributed sweets on the occasion. Addressing party workers, BNP’s acting president Jahan Zeb Jamaldini and Secretary General Habib Jalib demanded the release of all detained political leaders and workers, an end to military operations in Balochistan and the recovery of missing persons. They vowed that they would continue their fight against the feudal system.