Hasil Khan Bizenjo

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Hasil Khan Bizenjo (HKB): Hasil Bizenjo. Vice President National Party—NP. And presently, member of the Senate of Pakistan.

Tanqeed (TQ): Give a definition of sardar-i-nizaam (Sardari System) and tribalism.

HKB: As far Sardar-i-nizaam goes, we did not [originally] have a Sardari System. Basically, we had tribalism. […] Tribalism is part of a primitive society[…], and it goes back several centuries. […] Sardarism as we see it today, in its current version, was developed in the […] [1800s] by Lord [Robert Groves] Sandeman when he came here.

First he [Sandeman] came to Dera Ghazi Khan. Then, when it came to dealing with the Baloch–he was actually an expert of the Baloch. Then they [the British] shifted him to Kalat. He made a lot of people from tribes into chiefs. And it wasn’t like this earlier – that that person’s son or this person’s son is made a Sardar. This [Sardarism] was not the system.

This system was introduced by Sandeman. Sandeman […] gave Sardars judicial power. And economic power. He financed them. He gave them support, so they could dominate their whole tribe. […] A new system was made a part of tribalism, and developed […- and] we still call it the Sandeman System today.

Now, the Sandeman system continued even after his death. But, when Pakistan was created, [and] when the Black Englishman (kaale angraiz) came, they […] continued the same thing [Sardari System]. Rather than empowering people, or developing education, or developing communication [infrastructure], they adopted the Sandeman system. The establishment and the Federal Government—they governed the entire province through these sardars. Now, the issues you see in Balochistan today, they are because of these methods over the last 60 years.

TQ: It is said that the central government has brought about some changes over the last 60 years—e.g. Legislatively. What are these changes? Also before and after Musharraf?

HKB:There is a very popular slogan, […] [or claim, by Bhutto]: “I have finished Sardarism”. […] Bhutto has–according to me–[…] not [been] fair. Bhutto did not finish Sardarism. He empowered Sardars. He gave them money. He politically bribed them. He only announced that the payments to Sardars that were implemented during the British should be cut off. But, the reality was this: they [the Sardars] maintained political and judicial power. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto didn’t take that away from them.

It was not before the 80’s, when Amir-ul-Mulk Mengal was Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court, that this Jirga system was removed. […] The Jirga System was the biggest power [tool available to] the Sardar. In the Jirga System the Deputy Commissioner was the head and secretary. They would take two to three Sardars or heads in the area and […] give people […] death penalty or lifetime imprisonment. And, there was no […] [procedures to ensure] to justice, or any […] [procedures] for investigation. It was a form of unrestricted power that the Sardar and Deputy Commissioner had in their hands, […] [by] colluding (milli bhagat) with each other.

It [the Jirga System] ended between […] [1991 and 1993 by] […] by the Balochistan High Court. […] [One could] say that the situation changed a […] bit [as a result]. The Sardar […] and the Deputy Commissioner were weakened because […] [of] their collusion (milli bhagat). They did whatever they wanted to. This was the first [time–the first] reform–where the Sardari System and Tribalism got a hit.

TQ: Have there been any changes after that?

HKB: We feel that changes have come and are coming. […] [Today,] in Balochistan, there is no Sardar who is so powerful that he can arrest anyone or put anyone in jail. Now the Sardar has become so poor that he does not even get the vote. To get a man’s vote he needs to go to each person’s home individually. […] People have been [socially] empowered. After the completion of the RCD [(Regional Cooperation for Development Highway–a highway linking Karachi and Quetta]. After the development of electricity. After the construction of small roads. […] People are individually empowered. [And] when people are […] individually [empowered], they become economically independent. When they become economically independent, they do not need sardars. […] [The situation] in Balochistan […] has really improved.

This […] impression about Balochistan–that all of it is Tribal and Sardar [is incorrect]. […] A huge part of Balochistan–Nushke, Kharan, Panjgur, Gwadar, Turbat, Awaran, Bela—these areas have not even had tribalism in that version. Even our main tribal area–[starting] from Quetta […] [and going down to] Khuzdar–is breaking. […] Our chief of Jhalawan–he is the head of 10 sardars–lost the election to a common man.

TQ: Please define “Jhalawan” and “Sarawan.”

HKB: Jhalawan and Sarawan[…]… Back then, […] [there was only] Kalat [State]. Kalat was the headquarters of the Khan. The Khan was the head of all these tribes. The ones living on the upper side [or the north of Kalat State]–Raisani, Bangulzai, Shahwani, Mamashai–were called Sarawan. We also had one chief, who was chosen by the English: the chief of Sarawan. [They come from] the family of our [current] chief minister [Nawab Aslam Raisani].

Next, there was the chief of Jhalawan [or] the lower [southern] part that goes from Kalat down to Khuzdar. We call the part that goes up towards Quetta “Sarawan,” and the part that goes south is called “Jhalawan,” where Bizenjo, Mengal, Muhammad Ghasni, Zehri.

The Zehri tribe is the chief of Jhalawan. If you look at history, then both the chief of Sarawan and the chief of Jhalawan have lost elections.

This means that tribalism does exist in the same version [everywhere]. […] The establishment […] needs to remove their hands from the heads of these Sardars. If they do, the Sardars will not be able to exist.

TQ: How does the establishment protect the Sardars today?

HKB: These sardars have now become political leaders. They have not become political leaders because they get any satisfaction from politics. If it was up to them, there would be no politics in their areas. But, they now know that without politics they have no source of income. For example, all of our intelligence organizations are connected with all of these Sardars in one way or another.

Where Sardars do not exist, […] [our establishment has developed] drug mafia people. And they are made Sardars. There are a lot of Sardars… For example Sardar Fateh Muhammad Hasni: he is not a sardar. You will find a lot of people, who have money, who are now Sardars there. Our opinion is that even today […] [the establishment] helps […] [the Sardars] become MPAs, […] ministers, and–when it comes to their corruption–[…] [the Sardars] are given help. The consequence is that these Sardars—who talk all this big talk and whose fathers were big Sardars but had no jeep–[…] are, today, unwilling to step down from their bullet-proof land cruisers. […] Our establishment has given them these things. They did not have this money or this inheritance. And that is why the establishment still wants to run things this way.

The Supreme Court questioned the right of rule […]. What is your reaction to that?

I think it is [a sign of] our success. For four years we have been saying that the government has no writ. There is no [actual] government there. These ministers don’t go to their offices. Forget about interior [Balochistan]–they have left Quetta city! There, [in Interior Balochistan], people are gettingkilled. For example in the last few days I went to Khuzdar, where our Baloch Student Organization Chairman’s brother was killed. You won’t believe but in Khuzdar the district headquarter people go to the periphery to get their rations. The headquarter has been closed for three months. And there are killings every second day. 45 people have been killed. Police are not leaving their house. The Deputy Commissioner is not leaving his house. The ministers are not ready to go there. It is such a big city. 300,000-400,000 people live there. It is in a state of ruins and hauntingly quiet. That is why we think that it is important for this government to be […] [dismissed]–it should have been […] [dismissed] two years ago. If it had ended two years ago, then perhaps these people–who have gotten killed–would not have been killed. The biggest responsibility for this lies with our provincial government and our intelligence agencies.

Do you think the Supreme Court has given a strong enough statement against the intelligence agencies? Or should they say more?


I think that they have completely exposed these people. The Chief Justice has gone as far as saying: ‘I have no other channel, short of going to Khuzdar myself.’ This is the comments of the Chief Justice himself. ‘This government can do nothing, I am forced (
majboor)to go to Khuzdar myself.’ That is why I think that the Supreme Court has fully exposed the provincial government, and given a [future] direction. They have done everything. Now the question is whether […] [their verdict] will be implemented. […] This is not just the order of the Supreme Court, it is the voice of the people of Balochistan. This is not just the voice of the Supreme Court, it is the demand from all of us, all of Balochistan: namely that we need to get out of this trouble (masibat).

Could you speak a little on levies and Area A and B.


Levies are also a product of Mr. Sandeman (Sandeman Sahib). The spy was english, but the Sardar would nominate him. If you look back on history, a lot of your big, respected names–the ones who are big sardars today–[…]were happy to be jamadaars [INSERT DEFINITION] [in that era]. You will find big names who were jamadaars then, because they had British power […] [backing them]. […] This government changed their face a little, by giving them salaries directly, […] [or] by giving them government work and pensions. But the recruitment method has still not changed.

[…] We want them to bring levies into the community police, so they are given training. They can be brought under qualified people. Perhaps disciplined. But the government did not do that. […]

Musharraf came and said he wanted […] [the difference between Area A and B removed]. The difference between Area B and A is that—within 25 [square] kilometers of the town, the police can work [Area A]. After 25 square kilometers the levies begin. Imagine, after 5 kilometers the levies begin. Remove B, and put it all in A. So that they are all transformed into the police.

The good thing is that the police has some discipline, a method. A training, […] [some] technique. […] The proportion of levies are increased in such a way that the Interior Minister of our province, has said: ‘if you’re recruiting 30,000 people then 12% [of the positions] will be [filled with my people]‘. […] Every MPA is distributed [a number of levies. They say]: ‘here MPA sahib, you can have 40 people, he can have 30 people [etc.] So no organized force has been developed. So either we should bring them [Area B] into Area A. Or we should apply the ideas of community policing on the levies, by] moderniz[ing] […] and train[ing them], and make it a better situation.


Finally, my last question on what we were talking about earlier. After Mengal’s visit, a lot of politicians, from Nawaz Sharif to Imran Khan—opposition politicians–have focused on free and transparent elections. Is this the right focus or is there something that comes before this [that is more important]?

So at this point, my advice is that there are two things that the government must do before elections.

One isthis parallel Baloch force that has been established to fight the militants–[…] those who have a sarkari card—who are killing people and kidnapping them. Look at the situation in Khuzdar that the Chief Justice talked about. They are all people, that the government has given a card, a pistol, [and] cars.

[They have been told to] go kill militants. [I] don’t know if they kill militants or not, but they have spread […] [havoc] in the city. Stealing, killing (looth-maar), kidnapping… […]

[Two,] if this force is pulled back—and they should pull it back with some integrity (imaandaari)–[there should be a] peaceful and transparent election. [It] is the best solution to the Balochistan problem. These problems won’t go away. They will continue. […] But they will be very different, and things will be much better.

But first they will have to [deal with] this government (Sarkari) force, which is of the government, and not of the government. [It] should be pulled out. And then free and transparent elections should be held. Then Balochistan’s problems will go towards being solved.


Do you think politician are saying this? Or are they going directly to elections [as a solution]?


So when it comes to politicians here… It has always been difficult for us [politicians and] […] our national leadership [when it comes to Balochistan]. They[, our leadership,] fundamentally have no concept about what to do, or what problems […] [we face]. I say: if you talk to an army general, then […] [the general] would be able to talk about [Balochistan’s] internal issues […] with much more detail as opposed to […] political people. […] Our political leadershipdo not go outside Quetta. Now a venue has opened up in Gwadar–with plots. So now they have started going there a little bit. Otherwise–if you look at the history of any federal government [department]–whether it’s the Ministry of Petroleum, […] Wapda–the main ministers… None of them have visited interior Balochistan. […] [I cannot say anything] if they are from interior Balochistan. But if they are not from Balochistan, and […] [if] they are federal ministers in a powerful ministry, no federal government has until now–and I have been in this assembly since the 90s–[…] gone to Balochistan. So they don’t even have the vision about the internal problems in Balochistan.


So our Punjabi politicians or those of the northern regions–Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, ANP’s leaders–[are] their statements […] accurate—in support of Balochistan?

So fundamentally they listen to what we say and give statements based on that. So fundamentally, this is our demand. And this is the only way [forward].

[For the past few days] Nawaz Shareef […]–[with] his past experience from 1990, 1997–is trying to bring nationalists on board, remove this impression of anti-Punjabi. I think this is a good gesture. It is a good thing. So this gap that has been born–between Punjab and Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh, or Islamabad, Sindh and Punjab–will decrease […]. That is a good thing.

As for Imran Khan–Imran Khan is still not very clear about things. Even today, Imran Khan says: ‘I will collect Balochistan’s Sardars.’ But in Balochistan collecting Sardars is not a good message. You are not saying something positive there. He still doesn’t know, perhaps because he is new in politics or because he is not involved in all of this. He still thinks that by collecting Sardars, he will win elections.


Thank you.

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