Original Articles

A response to Ejaz Haider: Blatant lies and partial facts on Balochistan – by Shaista Aazar

Related article:

On Ejaz Haider and his kudos to our saviours

Ejaz Haider, as a political analyst wrote about him, “Ejaz Haider is just defending what he has always believed in. He is a former cadet and would have done quite well had he stayed on. He is actually part of the great Strategic Plans Division (SPD) network. They love his intellectual monologue and he loves lecturing them.

But, the monologue and lecturing is not restrained only to the said department. He often comes out with Op-Ed and articles in newspapers, weekly magazines. He comes with selective responses on various issues as he wrote an Op-ed, The great non-debate!, while responding to Fasi Zaka and George Fulton on their pieces about Sialkot mob killing and another Op-ed, How about (super) models! while  responding to Ayesha Siddiqa’s piece on Hate India mindset.

He recently has written two articles on Balochistan, Immediate action needed in Balochistan and Lies and half-truths on Balochistan.

A friend of mine asked Malik Siraj Akbar, editor of the recently blocked online newspaper, The Baloch Hal about the blocking and Ejaz Haider Op-eds, he replied, “Its very unfortunate that all sources to Balochistan are blocked for the rest of the country and the world.  I have no complaints from Ejaz Haider as he flies to Quetta in a military helicopter. Ejaz Haider served in the Pakistan Army for two years and took a course at PMA (this is what he has confirmed on his facebook page. ”

In his Op-eds about Balochistan, he is urging immediate action in Balochistan in his own words,

Balochistan needs immediate and effective attention. Period. Not because it is about to secede or even that any secession movement there can succeed; it can’t. Balochistan needs to be dealt with because the province has got a raw deal all these decades and, unless the healing touch is applied, it will – in some ways already has – become a diabetic case. The cost of governing it is rising and will continue to rise unless measures are taken NOW.

Further he wrote about the miseries of Baloch people but hold the federal and provincial Governments as well as the tribal chieftans responsible for all this but failed to mention the atrocities brought to them by the military actions in different governments. Come on! don’t tell me that military actions were the decisions by the political governments.

He talked of the human aspect of the whole issue but just because Balochs in reprisals have now come to haunt innocent Punjabi families, most of which have lived there for decades. They are being targeted, killed mercilessly and forced to leave.

Killings of  innocent punjabis are condemnable indeed but he never spoke a single word about the abductions, bullet riddled bodies and the missing persons in his two Gems.

Other ethnis groups in Balochistan as Pashtoons are facing the same fate in other parts as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi. The strategic fallacies of the security establishment, their difficulty in finding it to distinguish between “good” jihadi groups — those that launch attacks in India or Afghanistan — and “bad” ones that wage against the Pakistani state.

He is reminding us,

“Let us also flag the point that the issue is about Balochistan’s grievances, not just Baloch grievances. Lest anyone forget, Balochistan houses other ethnic groups too.”

Riding on the bandwagon of other ethnic group will not do any good.  Here’s a paragraph  quoted by none other than Khaled Ahmed in Fridaytimes, “A State that “Excludes”.

According to Adeel Khan, author of Politics of Identity: Ethnic Nationalism and the State in Pakistan (Sage Publications 2005) the state in Pakistan was dominated by the Punjabi who assumed the role of the colonizer and laid down the ideological criteria of Pakistani identity. Two communities rode along as subordinate beneficiaries of the Punjabi: the mohajir and the Pashtun. The two identities challenged and coerced thus were the Sindhis and the Baloch.

He appreciated the steps taken by military establishment  with no Grey shades described. And it is the job he better can do. He asked for a political cover to all these steps and quoted Raisani saying that the establishment had not mandated him to talk to the sub-nationalists( speaking his mind while using the term). While Reacting Ejaz Haider asked the CM sarcastically, “Really? So, what is he doing being the CM if he requires the nod of the ‘establishment’? Also, why are civilian principals not taking responsibility for what needs to be done?

While starting his second piece he criticize those who talk about Balochistan, He writes’ “what about some so-called libs whose favourite pastime is to find fault with the state without offering viable policy solutions?”

Though in his rebuttal to Ayesha Siddiqa, objecting her language, he advises the editors,

“My dear sir/ma’am, her sentence, “Mr Chaudhry and others of his ilk” should have been recast because it comes across as ad hominem. Debate should always be strictly about issues. Secondly, “continues to paddle” should have been “peddle”. Make your writers look good; that’s your job!”

What about your usage of the word, “So called Libs” Dear Sir. And what about those who have objected LUBP for calling some people as “Pseudo-liberals”

Finally he talked of the sectarian kiling and persecution of Shia-hazara community, but he did not mention the sectarian monsters and religious extremists have no grounds in Balochs, they are mostly punjabis/ Siraikis and Pashtuns (thanks to the border lines with war torn Afghanistan and sectarian battlefield, Punjab.

He concludes,

“Since 2002, the Hazara community has suffered more than 1,200 casualties in various sectarian attacks and target killings. And try telling the Punjabis their numbers are swelling rather than depleting. You better be a good runner!”

Or you might have a military chopper like His Excellency Ejaz Haider Sahib!!!!


About the author

Shaista Aazar

17 Comments

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  • A much needed piece that addresses some crucial issues. Good to see writers like Sheen Alif on LUBP; better to have PPP supporters at LUBP than PTI storm troopers like Yasir Latif Hamdani posing as PPP voters. People like him and his Pak Tea House are openly racist about the other nationalities in Pakistan and cannot look beyond the Punjabi-Muhajir domination of Pakistan

  • Ejaz Haider had a significant role to play in the abusive and smutty email that was circulated wrt President Zardari and that also had Atiqa Odho being one of the civil society proponents. These civil society types slavishly follow the establishment line and its racist disdain of the Balochi. Hence, Ejaz Haider’s racist disdain for the CM and President is really the norm for his class! As for his contrived outrage for the genocide of the Shia Hazaras, he should look at his native Punjab and his beloved establishment who are the source of this.

  • Come on! don’t tell me that military actions were the decisions by the political governments.

    Really!!!

  • Comments on the post from Facebook

    1.Ali Arqam
    I disagree to the writer of this post on undermining grievances of Pashtun community in Balochistan though she mentioned Karachi and KP.

    2.Sheen Alif
    Thank You Ali for posting the post here, and for your disagreement, I think Pashtuns in Balochistan are behaving like 5th Columnists in Balochistan, the same like Hazara division wallahs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, though I might be wron in both cases.

    3.Abdul Nishapuri
    Overall, the article offers much need alternative view on the actual situation in Balochistan. Great work,

    4.Sheen Alif
    Thanks Abdul, you people are doing a great job, especially you have gathered talented people with diverse views but working as a team for common objectives,will love to be a humble part of your efforts

    5.Malik Siraj Akbar
    what an extraordinarily impressive attempt to crush Pakistan’s elite columnists who were actually supposed to be serving in GHQ.

    6.Sheen Alif
    Thank you Malik sb, You are really an inspiration for a novice like me

    7.Malik Siraj Akbar
    my pleasure dear. We have to gang up against these people. Their list is long. starting from Talat Hussain to Ahmed Qurashi and now Ejaz

    8.Syed Ali Irtiza
    On the ‘operational’ level, even Balochs/Brahvis are involved in sectarian killings, even if they are used as mercenaries. The Baloch nationalist movement cannot be implicated for that though!
    A good piece nevertheless.

    9.Abdul Nishapuri
    Ali Irtiza, very interesting observation. Can you expand on this a bit further if you don’t mind?

    10.Shahid Saeed Khan
    While I disagree with Ejaz Haider’s op-ed, I would disagree with labeling him or anybody else a GHQ tool and any such name. That’s what the right wing does when it labels agent/traitor, etc etc
    Malik Siraj :- When did Baloch Hal get blocked?

    11.Ali K. Chishti
    I know a very fauji-tactic in Baluchistan where they drop the so-called traitors off from helicopters. Bhaiya although, I would not go into labeling people, Ejaz is loosing the whole, plot. Maybe too many khaki-walas close to him – !!!

    12.Ali K. Chishti
    and obviously, I won’t agree with Mohajirs being benefactors of British Samraj? I mean we had mostly been educated, middle classes and rebellious against the RAJ ever since, 1857. I smell racism hence, I will not support such causes from now onwards.

    13.Ali Arqam
    @AKC
    I did not find anything about Mohajirs in the post above, could not understand the context of your last comments.

    14.Usman Qazi
    I could not discern the identity of the writer of the rebuttal to Mr Ejaz Haider, but I find the rebuttal as rhetorical as the piece being commented upon. I strongly object to Sheen Alif painting all the Pashtuns in Balochistans as fifth c…olumnists. S/he is totally right when s/he concedes that that s/he may be totally wrong. It is not clear to me how the reviewer could so confidently declare that sectarian killers have no ground among the Baloch? A number of them with surnames like Kurd, Badini, Reki etc., have been apprehended or killed. I think that the reviewer is falling in the same trap as Mr Haider i.e., generalizing various ethnic groups as having uniform issues and views. While Mr Ejaz Haider glosses over the custodial killings of political workers, the reviewer does the same with the equally hideous act of target killing of “settlers”. Both pieces are quite disappointing.

    15.Abdul Nishapuri
    I see value in Usman Qazi’s comments and recommend Sheen Alif to consider these aspects in revising her article before publishing it in the mainstream media.

    16.Ali Arqam
    @Usman Qazi
    In the begining, I have objected on the writer’s views on the same grounds, but she might have realised her bias position, Ali Irtiza also made a good point, more balance than the author.

  • I strongly object to sheen alif calling Pashtun fifth columnists.Pashtuns of Balochistan have no history of living with the Baloch state before 1970.Till 1878,these areas were part of Afghanistan when British occupied them and made them a seperate province of india called Chief Commissioner province or british Balochistan(with 95% pashtuns).Even till 1955,the Pashtuns had their own seperate administrative unit.It was not until 1970,when One-unit was abolished that Pashtun areas were merged with Kalat state union to form the current province of Baluchistan.BTW Pashtun districts of Balochistan are: Zhob,Sherani,Musakhel,Loralai,Pishin,Quetta,Qilla Saifulla,Qilla Abdulla,Harnai,Sibbi,Ziarat.

  • And Pashtuns are a very significiant ethnic group of Balochistan.According to the 1998 census,Pashtun population was shown to be 30% despite the fact that Pashtun nationalists had boycotted the census.On the other hand,Baloch were at 54% which also included Brahvis.Now,Brahvis are racially different from Baloch as the former are of Dravidian origin and the latter are Aryans.The languages are also different.So,as things stand today,The Pashtun population may be very close to that of Baloch,if not equal or more.

  • @Ali Bamboly
    Thank you man! To support my and Usman Qazi’s objection and disagreement to the writer’s words about Pashtuns.
    I urge you to elaborate your comments further, I will post it as a response or rebuttal to the above post.

  • I admit that the military establishment is trying to pit the Pashtuns against the Baloch.For example,some dead bodies of BSO-azad students have been mysteriously recovered from pure Pashtun areas such as Ziarat.On the other hand,burnings of Pashtun properties in Baloch cities and some killings have come to the fore also.The Pashtuns(even the nationalist ones) have objected to the killing of Punjabi professors and labour in Quetta because it disturbs the peace of of their city.If you remember Talat Hussain’s interview with Brahamdagh,He asked him ”What will you do with the Pashtun population of Balochistan after independence?”Typical devilish Talat.Brahamdagh replied(i am paraphrasing)”Pashtuns have their own land,we don’t want an inch of their land,They can join Afghanistan or Pashtunkhwa as they like”.Similarly no Baloch nationalists have ever laid claim on the Pashtun areas and this issue was settled when Pakistan oppressed Nations movement(PONM) was formed.
    On the other hand,the relations between them till now have been very good.For example,Pashtunkhwa milli awami party has supported most of the strike calls given by the Baloch in Quetta,be it Akbar Bugti’s or Habib Jalib’s death.Everyone knows that the only party that has the muscle to close down quetta is PMAP.If it weren’t for them,noone can close down even a portion of quetta.PMAP categorically supports Baloch national struggle but what they want from the baloch nationalists is that they don’t disturb Quetta’s peace by killing the settelers.

  • A Few more Comments from Facebook on the post

    Malik Siraj Akbar
    ‎@Shahid Saeed: I am not labeling Ejaz as a GHQ wala. He, as confirmed by himself on his facebook page, served in the military for two years. I simply meant he could better serve the military rather than occupying some propagandist space …in the Pakistani media. When a journalist from Peshawar told me in March this year that EH had served in the military, my immediate reaction was, “that’s too much. You are kidding. Its not possible.” Now I have to trust him after he said that.
    Secondly, Baloch Hal has been blocked in some parts of Pakistan.See more

    Malik Siraj Akbar
    Folks: You need to understand that circumstances that led to the birth of sectarian killers among the Balochs. As a matter of fact, the State backed religious radicalization in Baloch areas under a deliberate policy to counter Baloch nation…alist movement. The Balochs only see groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi as a tool to undermine the Baloch movement. There is no state policy at all to radicalize the Pashtun areas of Balochistan. Instead, they have been pampered to be streamlined. Do you know out of 11 MPAs from pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam 99% are Pashtuns? These people, when elected, pass resolutions through Balochistan assembly to resist drone strikes in Balochistan in an effort to provide shelter to Taliban leaders.See more

    Malik Siraj Akbar ‎
    @As far as the issue of Pashtuns role is concerned, Balochs do have genuine complaints as 95% of the Frontier Corps (FC) comprises of Pashtuns. The operation against Balochs is very very selective and Baloch-specific. Of thousands of missing persons (who are believed to be in the custody of the military in secrete torture cells) can anyone name a single Pashtun, Punjabi or Hazara leader/activist who has EVER gone missing?

    Abdul Nishapuri
    ‎@Malik Siraj Akbar,

    What do you say about this?

    Abdel Malik Rigi’s execution: Does it call for protests from BNF? – by Ahmed Iqbalabadi
    http://criticalppp.com/archives/16363

    and this:

    In defence of Punjabis: Stop target killing of Punjabi settlers in Balochistan – by Abdul Nishapuri
    http://criticalppp.com/archives/9851

    Malik Siraj Akbar

    @Nishapuri: Don’t take a narrow look at the entire picture. Check this out too:
    http://bit.ly/c4gAYC

    Abdul Nishapuri
    ‎@Siraj, It is always a minority in each ethnicity (Baloch, Punjabi, Pashtun, Sindhi etc) who harbour sectarian terrorism. Baloch are no exception to this.

    I think instead of good cop bad cop PR exercise, Baloch nationalist leaders and organ…isations should come clean on target killings of Hazaras and Punjabis in Balochistan.

    Instead of taking a narrow perspective on me, let me explain that I am a vocal proponent of Baloch people’s rights.See more

    Malik Siraj Akbar
    ‎@Nishapuri: I don’t want to sound cliched. No do I want to sound like those militants but my simple question is why isn’t there a national hue and cry over the 25 dead bodies of the Baloch missing persons which have been received in a peri…od of ONLY TWO MONTHS?
    I don’t justify anyone’s killing but I think Balochs believe the national media and intellectuals or even the HRCP take a selective look at the issues. I can send you links to dozens of articles written against the killing of Punjabis but can you send links ot half a dozen news stories (if not articles) mentioning the killing of Baloch missing persons and throwing away their bodies in on the roadside?See more

    Abdul Nishapuri
    ‎@Siraj, I agree that the Baloch people and their oppression by the Military Republic of Pakistan remains ignored in the mainstream media. But so is the case with Hazara killings and oppression of other minority ethnic and religious groups….

    However, I can send you dozens and dozens of articles which we have posted on LUBP in support of our Baloch brothers and sisters.

    I will be candid. You have not responded to my question about the failure of Baloch nationalist leaders and organisations to explicitly condemn and control target killings of Punjabis and Shias in Balochistan.See more

    Malik Siraj Akbar

    Since i do not represent any of the political parties, I cannot speak on their behalf why they have not condemned the targeted killings of the ethnic minority. But you need to understand that Baloch political parties have not been spared by these religious and militant groups as well. Baloch parties are caught between the pro-independent Balochistan forces such as the BLA etc and the ultra Islamic forces.

    Abdul Nishapuri

    Here I agree with you: “Baloch parties are caught between the pro-independent Balochistan forces such as the BLA etc and the ultra Islamic forces.”

    This is a more realistic assessment of the situation which is indeed very worrying.

    Malik Siraj Akbar
    See it is clear. Who killed Maula Baksh Dashti, former BSO chairman and nazim of Turbat? According to his party, BLF killed him because they saw him as a “less patriotic Baloch”. Who attacked Jan Mohd Dashiti , a renowned Baloch intellectua…l and a provincial secretary? Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an offshoot of the agencies. Do you know why? It said Dashti was a “kafar/communist”.
    Ejaz Haider’s comments are utterly shallow as why was Attaullah Mengal’s govt dismissed in 1973 even when there was no BLA?
    Why was Akhtar Mengal put into jail by Pervez Musharraf even he did not talk of an independent Balochistan or use of violence? I mean you may say there is no question about negotiating with BLA/ BRA etc but did Islamabad ever negotiate with the moderates? The moderates were also crushed and put into jails.See more

    Abdul Nishapuri
    Here I completely agree with you. The point I wanted to emphasize was that Baloch rights leaders and organisations need to transparently distance themselves from the groups who are targeting innocent civilians (Shias, Punjabis, other groups). By failing to do so, they are in fact falling into the trap which has been carefully laid for them by the GHQ.

    Malik Siraj Akbar
    agreed, sir.

    Usman Qazi
    It is remarkable that BLA/BRA, LeJ and Pak Mil are in agreement at least on one point i.e., not to allow Baloch nationalist political parties to work. I smell more than a coincidental confluence of actions here.

    Malik Siraj Akbar
    ‎@Qazi sahib: It did not happen all in a sudden. Today, everyone is fighting for his war of survival. The competition is so stiff that one group is unwilling to provide an iota of space to the other. For example, if there is Pak military in… the govt then why would you need a democratic government. If you have BLA/ BRA etc then why do you need a BNP or National Party. If you have a Lashkar-e-Jhangvi then why do you need a secular leftist Baloch movement.
    The tragedy with the Baloch nationalists (BNP/NP etc)is that their currency has become invalid even in their own territory. Armed groups have taken over. They are not accountable to anyone because they don’t have to knock people’s doors to get votes.See more

    Usman Qazi
    ‎@Malik: Indeed it did not happen all of a sudden or spontaneously. I think that it is part of a carefully laid out sinister design to dispossess the Baloch of their assets. The measly hand guns of the militants are inconsequential when i…t will come to negotiating the terms on which the mineral and geographical assets of Balochistan are to be exploited. The corporate world is hungry for our gold, ports, copper and rare metals. In the absence of a reliable cadre of educated and seasoned leadership, the card game on who gets what from the spoils will be played among Pak Mil, Tethyans of this world and the exiled leaders of militants. It is not hard to imagine who will dominate these negotiations.See more

    Ali Arqam ‎
    @Siraj, Usman and Abdul
    Indeed very thoughtprovoking discussion is going there, allow me to use these comments as a separate post on the main site criticalppp.com for wider readers.

    Feisal H. Naqvi
    Dear Ali,
    Beginning an intellectual argument with an attack on the author is hardly fair. Yes, Ejaz has a military background. So what? Are all ex-army men barred from writing about politics? To one extent or another, we are all marked by ou…r personal histories. If I knew more about yours, I am reasonably certain that I could find a basis in there to disparage your views as well. So try and keep the discussion where it belongs, which is to say on the merits (or demerits) of Ejaz’s arguments.

    The argument that all sources to Balochistan are blocked is incorrect. Last I checked, the roads to Quetta are open and in addition, any person who wants to go there can simply take a PIA flight. Many people comment blithely on Balochistan without having been there. You should at least give Ejaz credit for saying whatever he has to say after going there.

    Leaving aside the irrelevant attacks, what about the merits of his arguments. According to you, Ejaz makes the following points:

    (1) The situation in Balochistan is serious and needs to be redressed;
    (2) Innocents Punjabis are also getting killed
    (3) Balochistan contains more than the Baloch
    (4) Sectarian killings of the Hazara are on the rise.

    Your response, so far as I can figure out, consists of the following:

    (1) Ejaz is a military stooge
    (2) The situation in Balochistan is indeed serious but because of what the Army has done before
    (3) Punjabis are getting killed only in retaliation
    (4) Non-Baloch people are settlers brought in by a colonising Punjabi state (the implied point being that settler interests, or non-Baloch interests, are irrelevant)
    (5) Sectarian killings are not the fault of the Baloch

    Leaving aside the first point (which I have already dealt with), here is my (admittedly uniformed) take on the debate:

    (1) I am no blind defender of the army and, for that matter, neither is Ejaz. The situation in Balochistan has many culprits, with the army being amongst them. But, at some point, we have to move past the early 1970s. The short point made by Ejaz is that notwithstanding the very very large amounts paid annually to the Bugti sardars (as per my understanding, about Rs 200 million per year now), their district remains the poorest in all of Pakistan. Where does that money go? And how is the state to be blamed for a situation in which the Sardars do not allow any instrumentalities of the state into their area and yet swallow all the money which should go their serfs?

    (2) The argument that Punjabi settlers are only getting killed in retaliation is extremely debatable and in any event, irrelevant. It is irrelevant because innocent people are being killed and there is no justification for that. It is debatable because the military forces are targeting people that they see as militants but the militants are targeting everybody. I’m not sure if the two can be equated.

    (3) Ethnicities and territories are fluid. If you want to be pedantic, the Baloch are also invaders. However, without getting into that debate, the fact remains that some of us do believe in Pakistan and that does give all citizens of the state the right to go and live throughout that state. Yes, the Baloch are disproportionately poor. But the solution to that poverty lies in human development, which will never be possible if (a) all outsiders are excluded and (b) all monies meant for the Baloch are swallowed by their leaders. At the end of the day, the state has to give all of its citizens certain basic rights, not just some.

    (4) The point in about the Hazara killings is that once parties get an interest in chaos, they tend to be indiscriminate in their means of producing that desired chaos. Ejaz’ point (to the extent I understood it) is that there is now an increasingly evident nexus between people who like killing Shias (i.e. Al Qaeda/Wahabi types) and people who want chaos (the so-called liberation parties). That point may or may not be accurate; I certainly don’t know enough about it to stake out a position. But the point itself deserves a courteous reply, not a contemptuous one.

    Finally, you should note that Ejaz Haider is a friend of mine. I happen to disagree with him often. This is not one of those occasions. I also happen to share his unhappiness with people who moan about situations without providing or proferring solutions.

    Regards,

    Ali Arqam
    Dear Faisal
    Thanks for your detailed reply, though I have just put the article from the main site for discussion and debate, and am pleased to see Siraj, Usman, Abdul and now you sharing your views on the particular issue.
    The author has base…d his article on massive generalisations, which were pointed out to her by me, Usman and you. The contemptous attacks were objected on the same thread by Shahid, AKC, Usman and you too.See more

    Sheen Alif
    Begining a debate about Balochistan grievances with an attack on others , as calling the so called libs etc. etc. is not fair. So what if someone highlight the genuine issues, it does not make them so-called libs, bla bla.
    His role in the co…ntemptous letter “Fuck you Mr. President” by Attiqa Odho, does not make him a person worth response or respect. It was the intellectual dishonesty on part of him to talk about Balochistan but only on that parts of the debate which are in sync with the dominant and hegemonic standpoints.

  • Malik Siraj Akbar said:”’There is no state policy at all to radicalize the Pashtun areas of Balochistan”’That my friend is LAUGHABLE.We are been indoctrinated since last 35 years.There was a single madrassa in FATA before 1970’s.Now the numbers are in thousands.The same is true in Pashtun areas of Balochistan(Southern Pashtunkhwa).

  • i think the really troubling thing about analysts like Ejaz Haider is that their approach to analyzing Balochistan is that all the problems on the ground will go away if they simply deconstruct Baloch nationalism or attack its legitimacy. I am glad that this article challenges this ridiculous approach to problem-solving.

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