Born Pakistani, he died a Hazara

•   My friend, Shafaat had lived a rich childhood frolicking up and down the Quetta streets with his Baloch, Pashtun, Punjabi and Hazara friends from school. Ethnicity did not matter at all in those days. Friends were—well—just friends.
•    He was lucky that he was able to fulfill his ambition to join Pakistan Army. There is a long tradition among his community to join army dating back to 1830s when Captain Jacob—of Jacobabad fame—recruited Hazaras for the First Afghan war.
•    Shafaat, when promoted as a major and posted in Rawalpindi, volunteered to be posted to his hometown about three years ago. He thought he would be better off serving in Quetta—among dear friends and family. But the city had changed drastically by then.
•    He found his non-hazara bosom friends avoiding him. Some of them even showed hostility. “I felt it was just because I had a flat nose and chinky eyes like most descendants of Mongol Khan, ” he said visibly irritated.
•    He took a leave and got himself enrolled in Balochistan University’s Mass Communication Department. He found the antagonism there even worse. Pashtun students aligned to Sunni parties saw him as a Shia outcaste liable, as their posters suggest, to be killed; Baloch suspected him as an army infiltrator who had been sent to spy on them.
•    Here is the heart-breaker: He was not trusted even by his army colleagues back at the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) offices. He was kept out of the local intelligence loop. A new commandant had issued instructions not to let him see even the army’s movement roster. He was absolutely dismayed..
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BORN PAKISTANI, HE DIED A HAZARA

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by Amir Mateen

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Major Shafaat died a sad broken man. Abandoned by his institution. Betrayed by childhood friends. Forsaken by his hometown. His only fault was to have been born different. A man with a flat nose and chinky eyes. An ethnic Hazara.

He lived a rich childhood frolicking up and down the Quetta streets with his Baloch, Pashtun, Punjabi and Hazara friends from school. Ethnicity did not matter at all in those days. Friends were—well—just friends. He was lucky that he was able to fulfill his ambition to join Pakistan Army. There is a long tradition among his community to join army dating back to 1830s when Captain Jacob—of Jacobabad fame—recruited Hazaras for the First Afghan war. Musa Khan joined Hazara Pioneers Regiment in 1904 as a sepoy and rose to become Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff and West Pakistan Governor. Shafaat admired General Musa and Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Sharbat Changezi as his role models from his community.

Shafaat, now a major posted in Rawalpindi, volunteered to be posted to his hometown about three years ago. He thought he would be better off serving in Quetta—among dear friends and family. The city had changed drastically by then. He found his non-hazara bosom friends avoiding him. Some of them even showed hostility. “I felt it was just because I had a flat nose and chinky eyes like most descendants of Mongol Khan, “ he said visibly Irritated. Disheartened, he took a leave and got himself enrolled in Balochistan University’s Mass Communication Department. He found the antagonism there even worse. It was a double jeopardy: Pashtun students aligned to Sunni parties saw him as a Shia outcaste liable, as their posters suggest, to be killed; Baloch suspected him as an army infiltrator who had been sent to spy on them. Here is the heart-breaker: He was not trusted even by his army colleagues back at the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) offices. He was kept out of the local intelligence loop. A new commandant had issued instructions not to let him see even the army’s movement roster. He was absolutely dismayed.

Shafaat shared his pain with me while we were traveling the length and breadth of Balochistan during one of my earlier visits there a few months ago. In all we spent about 62 hours together but now it appears like an entire lifetime. I had requested the ISPR to give me an attachment so that I could visit army’s remote outposts to get their side of the story. To my luck—came along Shafaat who was part journalist because of his Mass Communication degree. A highly sensitive soul, he was definitely way more knowledgeable and objective than your typical army officer. We travelled through Bolan Pass, Sibbi, Dera Allah Rar, Kashmore to Dera Bugti and back exploring some of the most explosive places in Pakistan. We had all the time during our long travels, sometimes 13 hours straight, to discuss Balochistan, particularly Hazaras.

We stopped by at Kolpur just outside the Quetta valley where, he told me, his ancestors had come as coal miners to escape the excesses of Afghan King Abdur Rehman in the 1890s. Kol means a cap in which they received their days’ earning and Pur means abode—hence abode of the cap-wielding people. Even today, a majority of Hazaras works on menial jobs as miners and labourers. We saw in Mach coal mines down the way that they remain as sturdy and hard working as they were a century ago.

Shafaat was constantly receiving calls from his family. He laughed that his wife and children were worried not because he was travelling to such dangerous areas but because they feared he might be targeted as a Hazara. “I don’t blame them,” I remember him saying, “such has been our life lately; I also fear the same every time my daughter goes to school or my wife goes to bazaar.”

Hazara are an easy target because they are easily distinguishable from the other ethnic groups because of their Mongol features. Over 700 Hazara Shias have been killed in the last decade.

As many as 39 Hazaras died in the last 19 days. Last September, religious processions organized by the community were targeted twice killing around 50 people. Then came the Mastung carnage the same month. It is not just the staggering number of Hazaras killed but the brutality that was shown by killers.

A bus carrying Hazara pilgrims to Quetta was brutally assaulted. All the 26 men and boys aboard were taken out of the bus, lined up and shot, as their mothers, wives and sisters watched from inside. Unafraid, the assailants had insured that the highway was blocked on both ends when they conducted that ambush. Two more Hazara men were killed after being dragged out of their cars at a traffic light in Quetta the same evening.The total death toll for the day was over thirty dead and scores more injured. It was mourning for almost every other house among roughly half a million Hazaras as most of them are related through marriages.

Shafaat said he too was sometimes seen as a suspect as many in the community blame the army. The argument goes that if the ISI can kill dump hundreds of Baloch, why cannot they get hold of a bunch of religious fanatics. “I am a suspect for me colleagues, my friends and my community,” he said sadly. His family wanted him to move to Australia. Thousands of Hazaras have moved to Australia and Canada in the last few years. Some take grave risks. Hundreds have died in containers, crossing borders, others in ship wrecks. Over 300 people died off the coast of Java last December, most of them Hazaras. So desperate are people from this cruelty that they are willing to take every risk to get out of here.

Shafaat was not the one to leave. He was too much in love with the Community that had held him in suspicion, the army that had disappointed him and Quetta that had scorned him. He was a proud Hazara, khaki as well as a Quettawal. Shafaat got a call while he was explaining his affection for the three. He turned suddenly pale. Another attack on Hazaras had taken place. Six were shot dead execution style while drinking tea at one of the many roadside stalls in Quetta. One of them was his relative. He almost fainted, sweating profusely. Being a small expert in cardiac symptoms, I could see it was serious. I got him a doze of aspirins and brain relaxants and requested him to “take it easy.” Obviously, he was very sensitive about the whole thing. On my way back I also talked to his family to keep him calm and away from such news.

I got a call from his number 15 days later. A big ‘hello’ came out of my mouth, without realizing that it was his daughter. “So where’s your dad,” I chuckled. “He died today,” she replied.

He was only 32. A noble honest man, but born with a flat nose and chinky eyes. Maybe he deserved to die because he naively believed himself to be a Pakistani. But in today’s Pakistan, he was just a Hazara.

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.ca/2012/04/us-attempting-to-trigger-color.html

Amir Mateen is a political analyst and a leading journalist from a regional television channel Rohi TV. His writings appear frequently in daily Jang and the News International.
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14 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] Born Pakistani, he died a Hazara (wondersofpakistan.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Really a sad story. Sad, painful and cruel. I belong to Lahore, an engineer qualified abroad and now back in my motherland, a Pakistani first then a Punjabi. I have never been to Balochistan but my heart lives there and been there many times. My heart bleeds when I hear any news of killing of Hazaras, or the Balochis. The story of the innocent Hazara and a proud Pakistani, Mr Shafaat is indeed tragic. Shafaat was brave, responsible and a die hard Pakistani. I do not blame our army for not trusting him, it is the current time we live in. The truth is foreign elements have put an evil eye on our sacred Pakistan and on our dear Balochistan province. They have made huge investments in hiring assassins, killers or even brutal criminals from their counntries. India is leading the list. India has made huge investments there.

    Hazara, Baloch, Pathan, Punjabi, Kahsmiri, Sindhi all are brothers.

    The solution of Balochistan lies in a strong political pro people governmen, who will work for solving the problems of common Pakistanis, our Balochi brothers and our Hazara brothers. I am 100 percent sure the enemies of Pakistan are using some Balochis to use them for their own nefarious gains.

    Remmeber! Pakistan was not created to be split up, but to rise, fight, defend, and shine. Pakistan will stand united and defend every part of its territory untill the last man standing among the 200 million people of Pakistan.

    I swear to my ALLAH I can come all the way from Punjab to Balochistan if the need arises to defend every inch of my motherland.

    The philosophy of Indian funded separate Balochistan mentality is false, weak and hollow itself, and even anti Islmaic. Because it means, separate country for Punjabis, separate country for Sindhis, spearate for Pathans, separate for Baloch, in which case all of us will be destroyed . United we Stand, Divided we Fall. It is India which should be spit up verry soon not Pakistan, the final bettle is due to even the score of 1971.

    And I believe people should not pay any attention to these types of anti Pakistani claims. Instead we should all work hard to make our Baloch brothers and sisters more safer, comfortable and progressive. I do not offer any immediate solution to our problem but what I do offer is to a guarentee of a safer, progressive and rising Pakistan and Balochistan, because Pakistan at the moment is standing at a defining moment in history. It is due on nature even. Pakistan’s destiny will be changed soon. Pakistan only needs one good leader like Quide Azam who can unite all people under one platform of Pakistaniat and lead the country from the front and out of the crisis. It will happen soon. Because it is written in our Quran…..

    “They plan but ALLAH also plans and ALLAH is the best of the planners”.

    Very soon the world will witness a rising Pakistan, a full powerful response of the Pakistanis to the unlimited opressions of the enemies of our country. Because even a spring when pressed to its maximum will bounce back with full force, as the law of elasticity explains. Pakistan CAN and WILL bounce back.

    PAKISTAN ZINDABAD. (United We Stand, Divided We Fall).

    • Raheel, I do agree with all what you have said. We the people of Pakistan are very confident of the resources, the potential and the destiny of our great country. We endeavour and hope, and again, I’m personally very sure about our resilience as a nation. The phoenix thats Pakistan, will Insha ALLAH resurrect and will not only walk the path but rather lead th path. BUT the leadership we are having in Pakistan is rotten to the core, then how can you expect a land to rise and shine. The only thing which we need to do is to struggle for the leadership which is hundred percent Pakistani and which believes in nothing but Pakistaniat and Pakistaniat alone. And when I talk of Pakistaniat I have in mind Allama Iqbal’s famous quote,

      Ai Taer-e-Lahooti, Uss rizq ae maut achhi
      Jis rizq se aati ho parwaz main kotahi.

      At the moment our government has surrendered its sovereignty before the Pentagon in exchange of the rizq they will get No matter the broader Pakistani masses are without rizq, without energy and wothout future.

      Haal ab tak wuhi hain ghareeboan kay

      Din phiray hain faqat waziroan kay

      Her Bilawal hai dase ka maqrooz

      Paon nangay hain Benazeeroan kay”

      (The status of the poor is still the same
      the days of the ministers have indeed changed
      every Bilawal of the country is under debt
      while Benazirs of the country walk without shoes)

      • Dr Sahib, firstly many thanks for the reply. Yes, you have narrated the situation in a most appropriate way for our country. The leadership indeed looks like a colony of a superpower. In fact our entire situation bears so many cracks.

        I would like to put the piece at the right place of this jigsaw puzzle of unstability in our country. The main reason of our entire crisis is indeed corrupt leadership. But I would go even further at micro level. The main reason is: we as a nation have developed lots of habbits which truly contradict our actions with our belief, our ideology as a Muslim, as a Pakistani, and as a human being. It does not match with the ideology of Allama Iqbal, Quid e Azam. There is a huge gap, may be in thousands of miles, what we believe in and what we actually practice.

        My respected teacher once told me, and I quote, ”your Actions Define Your Thinking”. In other words we are what we do and not what we believe in. This is the main reason of our crisis. I bet you, find a single Muslim milkman in the big cities who does not mix water with milk. People of this very country who believe in ALLAH deal in SOOD, interest, for example lots of cars were bought at interest rates during Musharaf era. People take loans from banks on interest. ALLAH clearly told that SOOD is haram for the believers. Then, there are people at common level, who tell a lie, engage in adultry, homosexuality, back biting, hoarding the basic food items, especially during Ramzan. These are all done not by the government but the common man. A philosopher once said, the true oppressor is not the one who does atrocities over people, but the true oppressor is the one who tolerates the oppression and does not speak, does not react. Our nation has moved away from the two Nation theory, from the promise Muslims made to ALLAH before partition that they will follow HIS religion in a new country according to Quran & Sunnah. I want to quote here a saying of Quide Azam which he said, while presiding over a reception organised by the students at Islamia College Peshawar in 1948 “Pakistan was not created just to acquire a piece of land but it is a country where Muslims of the subcontinent would spend there life according to the Sunnah and the Holy Quran” .

        These were the promises my ancestors made with ALLAH for Pakistan. Now compare the situation. You would even think that the country was even better managed by the Britishers than what my ancestors did with it. Even then ALLAH helped us during 1965 war, then at making the nuclear bomb. But the attitude of Pakistanis still did not change with respect to our promises..

        What is the solution? Here is a few in my opinion. Pakistan desperately needs role models in all walks of life, more desperately at grass root levels to whom we can look up to or get inspiration even in quantity of one drop. For example a decent, respectable and high character teacher at a local school would do, a determined policeman with high moral values and high level of ethics and decent dealings with locals who need help people would do. An inspector in a far away village with selfless zeal to help the poor and the oppressed ones from the hands of the local landlord would be sufficient, a fairdelaer shopkeeper who lowers his/her prices during Ramzan or even provides the right grade of food at a right money would be fine, a political worker of a political party with love of Pakistan and Quid e Azam with a free mind and lethal critical analysis of his leader of the party according to Quid e Azam’s vision would be ideal, a doctor who chooses to work at a local governmnet hospital 9 to 5 just to help his/her country men over going to America, Canada or Australia would be perfect. If he chooses to go abroad, he will return after some time with the latest skills and techniques in his/her profession just to provide benefit to the masses. In short any one , any single person who does some sacrifice who kills his, her NUFS, just to provide benefite to other people.

        This is the solution of our problems in my humble opinion. If we do this, then believe me ALLAH will ask us as IQBAL said,”

        KHUDI KO KAR BULAND ITNA KE HAR TAQDEER SAY PAHLAY,
        KHUDA BANDAY SAY KHUD POOCHAY BATA TEERI RAZA KIA HAY.

        In conclusion, why I have a firm belief that ALLAH has chosen us to lead the MUSLIM prestige in the entire world, because lot of my friends and people I know, gave their lives for our tomorrow in Pakistan Army. I am a young boy, my friends some of them are, captains, majors, and some were alive but they fought, fought hard till the last drop of their blood in SWAT operation Rah e Najat and in Waziristan. They bought ALLAHS happiness, our safe tomorrow with their lives. The result was shown by ALLAH to the entire world. ALLAH rewarded FATEH in SWAT. American forces and Indian forces were fighting with Taliban against our young, determined, selfless soldiers and officers of PAK Army in SWAT. My eyes are full of tears.

        And finally, a small hint, very soon, Pakistan Army will have a new leadership, that leadership will be as an AZAB EH ILAHI for the enemies of Pakistan and the political government would automatically change. A major battle would be fought and won by Pak Army in near future which will take Pakistan to the top and automatically Pakistan though unwilllingly has to lead the Muslim forces against the Oppressors. I would not go further in it.

        ALLAH is showing his signs to us. He has already started differentiating good Muslims, and the corrupt politicians, people in front of us. This is a sign that the process has been started. We should fight hard with our NAFS and be included among the people who ALLAH chooses to lead His religion. This is my message to every Muslim. Time is limited. We must make Tauba of all our sins and repent the way a momin does and hold the rope of ALLAH with firm hands.

        ALLAH will help us. Trust me. As it is written in the Holy Quran

        “They Plan but ALLAH also Plans and ALLAH is the best of the planner”

        I am sorry for the mistakes I made with spelling which though are unintentional. I would appreciate the feed back.

  3. In response to first para of your detailed comment, I would once again quote from Iqbal:
    Amal se zindagi banti hai jannat bhi jahannum bhi
    Ye khaki apni fitrat main na noori hai na nari hai

    Unfortunately we have made our life more on the jahannum side through our own acts. Although we pay a lot of lip service to what Islam ordains us to do, in action we do exactly opposite to what Islam says.

    Your teacher was very true. We are what we do and not what we believe in. But partly I do not agree with what you say in the second part of your second paragraph. In Hindi there is a proverb which says “Jaisa Raja, wesi Parja”, which means as is the ruler so are th people. A good, truthful,and diligent ruler will make his people also to be good, truthful and diligent. We have the example of Chinese people before us. The same Chinese who during 24 hours used to be in an opium trance,having the able guidance of leaders like Mao Tse Tung and Chou en Lai now see eye to eye with the world’s sole super power i.e. the United States.

    Same is the case with the Indians. Perhaps milkmen in Pakistan do not sell as much adultrated milk as they do so in India but it is through their leadership that India too is now reckoned as one of the emerging world power. It is the same Indians who some years ago were towing Pakistan’s economic model (in the 1990’s) but now they have made even the American presidents to come to India and offer them civil nuclear deal, an offer which the US has granted to India on exclusive basis. So what I mean to say is; its mainly the leaders which make nations. As far as the peope of Pakistan are concerned, I have no doubt about their potential. See how the same illiterate or semi educated labourers who might be an undisciplined lot at home, become so highly disciplined in other countries like Saudia, UAE and even in Europe and USA.

    Nahi hay naa ummeed IQBAL apni kashte wiran se
    Zara nam ho to ye mitti bari zarkhaiz hy saqi

  4. […] Born Pakistani, he died a Hazara […]

  5. […] 1. Haunted by the homeland 2. Born Pakistani, he died a Hazara […]

  6. […] 1. I am Hazara 2. Haunted by the homeland 2. Born Pakistani, he died a Hazara […]

  7. […] 1.Hazaras – my neighbours in Quetta 2. I am Hazara 3. Haunted by the homeland 4. Born Pakistani, he died a Hazara […]

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  11. […] 1. Haunted by the homeland 2. Born Pakistani, he died a Hazara […]

  12. […] Born Pakistani, he died a Hazara […]


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