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'Pak forces using chemical weapons'

Former Chief Minister of Pakistan's Baluchistan province, Sardar Akhtar Mengal, has claimed that Pakistani forces are using chemical weapons in Baluchistan.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 19:45 IST

Former Chief Minister of Pakistan's Baluchistan province, Sardar Akhtar Mengal, has claimed that Pakistani forces are using chemical weapons in Baluchistan.

Mengal, who addressed the media at the Karachi Press Club, backed his claim by showing pictures of Baluch civilians who he said had been hit by chemical weapons.

Mengal pointed to the pictures and said, "you will note the blood coming out of people's mouth without any injury to their bodies... what does this show... it shows that poisonous gases have been used in the military operation".

"A large number of women and children have died as a result," Mengal claimed.

Demanding the presence of international mediators to ensure a fair resolution of the dispute between the tribal-dominated province and Islamabad, Mengal, who is president of the Baluchistan National Party, said the Baluchis are not ready to negotiate with either President General Pervez Musharraf or his hand-picked government.

"The parliamentary committee on Baluchistan has failed to assert itself and the Baluch leadership has decided that we would not engage in any sort of dialogue with the military leadership or its representative committees. We can only talk in the presence of an international mediator," Mengal said.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has categorically rejected repeated claims by authorities in Islamabad that regular armed forces were not being used to crack down on people in Baluchistan in the wake of rocket attacks by tribal militants last month.

First Published: Jan 28, 2006 19:45 IST