The Dharna the Demands

English | اردو

The demands in Quetta should not be taken at face value. The army demand might have been a pressure tactic, while other demands were criticized by dissenting voices from within the community.

This January, Hazaras sat down to stand up.

In a show of enormous strength and courage, Hazaras staged a sit-in under Quetta’s sub-zero temperature for 96 hours. The community refused to bury their loved ones until authorities promised them security and protection following the deadly twin bombing carried out by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in Alamdar Road–one of only two neighborhoods in Quetta where Hazaras continue to live. Their peaceful and non-violent methods gained them sympathies and friends across Pakistan, and across the world, ultimately forcing the Pakistani government to address their demands.

Led by the Quetta Yakjehti Council (QYC, an alliance of smaller groups), its partners, the Shia political forum Majlis-e-Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen (MWM), and Tanzeem-e-Nasl-e-Nau Hazara Mughal (also known as Tanzeem), the protestors demanded the dismissal of the chief minister and the provincial cabinet, a targeted military operation against Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), and a handover of Quetta city to the Pakistan Army.

On January 14, most of their demands were met. Chief Minister Nawab Muhammad Aslam
Raisani and his cabinet was dismissed, and replaced by Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi Sajjad Hussain Changeziand the government promised a targeted military operation against LeJ. However, the city was not handed over to the army and the provincial assembly remains intact. While no sane mind could justify that Mr. Raisani continue in office, progressive friends of Hazaras, and dissenting voices within the Hazara community, raised valid questions regarding the QYC demands. Is governor’s rule a solution to the evils haunting Balochistan? Does the demand for army control end up discounting genuine culprits? And how about the concerns of Balochistan’s other ethnic group, and fellow stakeholders–e.g. the Pashtuns and Baloch?

It is important to remember that these questions do not directly attack the people constituting the dharna (sit-in) itself. Dharnas are very different from political leadership–though both are components of a larger struggle. A dharna or sit-in is a function of the participating masses: a test of their discipline, collective identification, social commitment, and resolve. Political leadership, on the other hand, consists of individuals or committees, who play a key role in articulating a public position on behalf of those in a dharna. While all respect is due to the participants of this historical and peaceful sit-in, the same cannot be said about the political leadership.

The main dharna on Alamdar Road was led by the QYC. The QYC is an alliance consisting of the Balochistan Shia Conference, Hazara Jirga, Tanzeem-e-Nasl-e-Nau Hazara Mughul, the MWM, Noor Welfare Organization and other religious and semi-religious groups under the leadership of Sardar Sadat Ali Hazara, Qayum Changezi (Hazara Jirga), Syed Ashraf Zaidi (Shia Conference) and some influential bureaucratic figures. Tanzeem is a semi-nationalist and socio-political organization whereas the MWM is a Shia group vying for political power. The MWM was last seen in the anti-Islam film protests in Islamabad and Karachi, and there have been talks of their interest in registering as a political party to contest elections. Sardat Sadat and Qayum Changezi are the representatives of the remnants of the tribal structure even though tribalism is socially non-existent in the community that is known for being relatively middle class, and primarily employed within the service sector (education, state bureaucracy, police, etc.). The alliance was formed in 2012 under massive pressure from community members calling for a united front against terrorism, but critics of the security establishment, for example the Hazara Democratic Party and individuals like Tahir Khan Hazara were the first to part ways from what they ultimately saw as an ‘unnatural alliance’. The alliance of groups have little in the way of a clear political orientation, other than a kind of unity on sectarian and tribal grounds. Read on >>

Pages: 1 2 3 4

Tags: , , , , ,

5 Responses to The Dharna the Demands

  1. […] The result? Governor’s rule. Malik Siraj Akbar and Sajjad Hussain Changezi discuss the  aftermath. Ziyad Faisal considers the politics of another protest: the Tahir ul-Qadri march on […]

  2. Sadiq Noyan on Feb 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Why are we so naive to expect the Baluch or Pushton to be secular just like a few bunch of Hazaras like HDP in a province where majority of these people have a strong religious affiliation one way or an other with Al queda and Talibans. Similarly Lashkar jahangvi who are purely Baluchis and Pushtons. The great example is the survey of pew an international organisation where it showed more than 95% of the people in Pakistan have soft corner for Al quedas and taliban. Now to expect from Baluchis and Pushtons to be secular is being an ostrich in hiding his dead in desert.
    Yes, Baluch used to communist influenced and secular in 70s or 80’s.

  3. Mehdi on Feb 2013 at 1:47 PM

    It is a wonderful elaboration of the matter by brother Sajjad Hussain. I am happy 2 see a wonderful perspective given by him that is that Balochistan government should come under liberal political parties like Pashtunkhua, BNP n HDP. They r the real stakeholders no doubt. Keet it up bro.

  4. Mehdi Aftab on Feb 2013 at 1:49 PM

    It is a wonderful elaboration of the matter by brother Sajjad Hussain. I am happy 2 see a wonderful perspective given by him that is that Balochistan government should come under liberal political parties like Pashtunkhua, BNP n HDP. They r the real stakeholders no doubt. Keet it up bro…

  5. […] From where I stand, there is only one way forward: genuine representatives of the people of Balochistan should be entrusted and allowed to run the affairs of Balochistan. More than anyone else, it is these representatives who have a genuine stake and an honest attachment with the poor masses. (Sajjad Hussain Changezi) More here. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *