By Haider Changezi
“The first observation that I would like to make is this: You will no doubt agree with me that the first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the State.”
Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s presidential address to the Constituent Assembly ofPakistan- August 11, 1947
We all know the law & order nightmare this country is going through, the war on terror, the sectarian violence, kidnappings, and persecution of minorities etc…it sounds like a hell hole down here. We can provide numerous reasons for this violence; ranging from international conspiracy, Islamic jihads, tribal clashes etc…but the fact of the matter is that people are dying and this nation has simply become numb.
Take the case ofQuetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan. This is a multiethnic, multilingual and multicultural city of 1.2 million inhabitants comprising of Hazara, Baloch, Pusthun and some settlers. The city is nestled in a valley. It houses an entire Corps of the Pakistsn Army (XII), the HQ of the Frontier Corps, the Provincial Police HQ, a Pakistan Air Force fighter base ‘Samungli’ and in all likelihood a entire network of Intelligence Agency (keeping in mind that the War on Terror is taking place in Afghanistan & FATA and also to keep an eye on what is happening in Iran). So this tiny city of only 1.2 million people is virtually a security-city; with a big portion as the cantonment, fortified naturally by the mountains and home to security installations as explained above.
Logically this would mean that it should be one of the safest places in the country? But only if things would work as per logic in this country! There is sadly a systematic genocide of Hazaras taking place in this very city.
Although Hazaras can be found in other cities in Balochistan but they are mainly centred in Quetta. There population resides mainly on the Western (HazaraTown) and Eastern (Alamadar Road) ends of the city. They mainly adhere to the Shia sect of Islam and are readily recognizable from their Mongoloid features.
Since the past decade, they have been the target of a vicious sectarian terror carried out by the hate spewing rabid militants of the ‘proscribed’ terrorist outfit ‘Lashkar –e-Jhangvi’ – although it can be safely assumed that this killing wave is not limited just to LeJ –as it is an entire ideology which is responsible for this genocide and whoever subscribes to this ideology will be bent upon the mission to kill all who are considered ‘unbelievers’.
There are lawless swathes of territory insidePakistanwhere there is virtually no writ of state – some of these include the volatile North Waziristan Agency, the interior of Sindh also maybe some neighbourhoods ofKarachi. However, the unrest in all of these areas can be explained. InNorth Waziristan, there is a full fledged war going on so the absence of state writ does not come as a surprise. The interior of Sindh is ruled by dacoits and gangs; this can be attributed to the remoteness of the area and the collusion of some local influential leaders running the racket. InKarachi, this is part of the turf war of the gangs vying to control the city and of course have political backing of all major parties.
None of these scenarios can be compared toQuetta– it is the provincial capital and not a remote, tribal territory or the interior of a province. There is no ‘gang warfare’ or political turf war going on inQuetta. So the question remains how can a handful group of terrorists roam about freely picking their innocent victims at will without any hindrance or checks?
In my opinion there can only be three possibilities…incompetence, unwillingness or complicity of the administration.
If it’s the first two, incompetence and unwillingness then the entire administration should be taken to court for being criminally negligent. The lives of 700+ innocent unarmed civilians have been forsaken and the provincial administration has remained simply impotent. The mind cannot accept this logic that for the past 10 years despite innumerable street protests, media outrage and international condemnation the administration has simply remained incompetent or been unwilling – there is more than meets the eye.
Remember how Usman Saifullah Kurd, the mastermind of Lashakar e Jhangvi was arrested and locked up in the high security prison situated inside the cantonment but somehow managed to escape! Did we see any findings of any investigation on this matter?
So logic leads us to believe that there is some level of complicity by some arm of the State. Which ‘arm’ exactly and what level of involvement will remain open to speculation and your guess is as good as mine.
This leads us to ask the question; whether as per the Quaid’s statement, “hasPakistanbecome a failed state?” as it is not only is unable to protect the lives of its subjects but is also at some level involved in taking their lives – flouting the first rule which was articulated by the founder of this state!
The author can be followed on Twitter @hachangezi