The Hazaras, including the religious scholars, have always vehemently condemned killings of non-Hazaras, especially the clerics and prayer imams
Surat Khan Marri’s writing in this regard (Hazaras in the army) has been the poorest as he tries to simplify the selection process that the army would blindly recruit the Hazaras from Balochistan. Had this been the case, I am quite sure that the Pakistan army would have recruited Baloch nomads, shepherds and peasants in large numbers to provide better representation to the province.
Mentioning the Central Superior Services (CSS), which fill vacant posts of various respectable groups through the Federal Public Service Commission, the country of 180 million people knows better that the chairperson and the members of the FPSC have not been Hazaras, who had the privilege to allocate seats to Hazara candidates at federal level. The writer has overlooked to name the Hazara members of the FPSC in order to enlighten his readers about these unfair treatments and malpractices.
Ali Zaheer Hazara is a refined example of being a CSP Officer who made all three attempts of the CSS examination, and he passed the three-tier selection process to be allocated with seats in Office Management Group, Foreign Office and the District Management Group. His flair and attention to join the civil services as a CSP officer turned true when he joined it as a DMG officer.
Since then, several other talented Hazara youths have followed the footsteps of the aforesaid Hazara CSP officer, who are now serving the country in different groups. As far as the Hazara army officers’ induction into the civil services is concerned, everyone knows that the Pakistan army, under the constitution of Pakistan, reserves a quota of 10 percent for all commissioned army officers who wish to be permanently inducted into the civil services. Their induction into the civil services is also subject to appearing for a written and interview test and obtaining the aggregate marks. The army personnel who intend to enter civil services remain the employees of the federal government throughout; their services are at the disposal of the Federal government and they can be posted anywhere in Pakistan. The Hazara ex-army personnel serving in Balochistan have followed a straightforward and rigorous selection process, which dilutes the notion of nepotism, etc, as it is nearly impossible to find any Hazara in the selection board/panel. It is a far cry to denote that these Hazara officers have recruited other Hazaras in abundance as the selection process in government departments and ministries involves written tests and interviews, conducted under the supervision of the competent authority who definitely comprise non-Hazaras.
The Hazaras are the only stakeholders of this province who have been bluntly appealing to the Balochistan government to abolish permanently the quota system for government vacancies in order for pure merit to be applied. We have succinctly demanded that the same medium be exercised for admissions at various colleges and universities in the province but, alas, the Balochistan provincial government turns a deaf ear to these pleas.
It is nonsensical to label General Musa Khan as someone who could have abused his powers. The official records reveal that he even returned the lands bestowed on him by the government in recognition of his services to the country.
The Hazaras, like other recognised tribes of Pakistan, were declared Local in 1954, which may be verified from the relevant department of the government. Statements made by Marri bear no resemblance to the truth. General Musa Khan served as governor of West Pakistan from 1967 to 1969. Supposing the writer’s notion was true that General Musa Khan, through an ordinance, declared Hazaras as local, what was the constitutional weight of this ordinance? Can a mere governor, who oversees the functions of the provincial government and serves the country as a representative of the federal government, be entrusted with such infinite powers? Could this ordinance not be challenged in a court of law? Could the federal government not repeal this ordinance?
The writer has further tried to link Iran as a patron and well-wisher of the Hazaras, which is completely baseless. Iran, in essence, is an independent state with its foreign policy aligned to match its national interests. I must enlighten the readers that the Hazaras — who migrated to Iran during the cruel regime of Abdur Rehman in the 1880s — are still treated as illegal immigrants despite spending over 130 years in the country. The Hazaras are not allowed to engage in businesses nor can they have education beyond the GCSC level. Their fundamental rights are denied and they are still subjected to frustrating physical labour at minimal wages. At present, the Hazaras who migrated to Iran, due to unemployment and the cruelties of the Taliban, have to face different forms of human rights violations, including bonded labour, exploitation of workers at brick kilns, on agricultural lands and in factories. Why would Iran support the Hazaras in Quetta, who are ethnically Mongols? The dichotomy is explicitly clear from the passage of the writer in which he declared the Hazaras as strong-built and hardworking. The literacy rate in Hazaras, at present, is over 90 percent and the majority of them are educated to degree level. The properties, lands and businesses the Hazaras own today are the result of their incessant hard work. Everyone knows that the entire Quetta city is in the grip of extreme fear and uncertainty. This has created an atmosphere of anxiety and mistrust. The locals living in the city have been compelled to the extent of taking precautionary steps to minimise human losses. At this critical juncture, the Hazaras are under complete siege, who have to make internal arrangements to safeguard their fellow tribesmen.
The Hazaras have never targeted any prayer leaders nor did they ever intend to be involved in sectarian violence. There were over 500 Baloch families living among Hazaras in Meherabad since the birth of the country but nobody ever disturbed any non-Hazara in the vicinity despite the relentless attacks on them. Although a majority of these Baloch have voluntarily shifted to other safer places of the city, there are still Baloch in Meherabad who run their routine businesses without any problem. The Hazaras, including religious scholars, have always vehemently condemned the killings of non-Hazaras, especially the clerics and prayer imams, terming them as a conspiracy against the brother nations of the province.
The writer is a London-based freelance journalist, and the chairperson of a political organisation, known as Hazara United Movement (HUM)
The second and final part of this article was published on the Daily Times, Pakistan on 14-07-2012.