Hazara community in Quetta Pakistan is believed to be a civilized and knowledgeable community who puts forward the best example for others in terms of nonviolence and hardworking in every walks of life. Perhaps, Hazaras in the last couple of years have had considerable achievements in the fields of education, sports and technology. They are believed to be a genius community in Pakistan who with every drop of their sweat strive to challenge the time. They are not only an example for others but also peace loving people who always seek to be passionate and peace persuader.
Many consider that Hazaras living in Quetta city represent impressive services in every government and nongovernmental services, such as in local police, bureaucracy, labor force, education, information technology and sports. The government of Pakistan is also in belief that Hazara community is a successful and peaceful nation in Pakistan.
But in the last couple of years, this nation has been under incessant attacks and genocide by extremist groups. Perhaps, they lost their most of their talented personalities and the remaining ones are still suffering with violence and daily target killings by the so-called Lashkari-e-Jangvi around Quetta city. Their movement has been bound to only Mehrabad, Alamdar Road and Barori localities of Quetta city.
Recently, on 09-04-2012 at 7:00 PM, 6 other Hazaras were shot down by 4 unknown gunmen on a motorbike on Prince Road, Quetta. Just a week earlier, 10 other members, including a woman and a child from the Hazara ethnic minority were killed, when unknown armed men opened firing on a van carrying Hazara passengers.
Pakistani media reports that almost 700 Hazaras were killed since 2004; the victims include businessmen, political leaders, government employees, clerics, police cadets, vegetable vendors, and other daily-wage workers who are said to be the only breadwinners of their family members. According to Pakistani analysts, 2011 was the bloodiest year for Hazara minority in Quetta, Balochistan who have lost their great personalities – political leaders, actors, government service members and other local people by the so-called Lashkar-e-Jangvi and other terror networks in Quetta Pakistan.
Yet, it is not more than a few months from the recent killing of 29 Shia pilgrims on their way to Iran on 19 Sept., 2011, who were taken down from the bus, lined and shot on their heads and left in a cold-blood execution-style by the so-called unknown gunmen. On 4th of Oct., attackers killed other 13 passengers, mostly Hazaras who were travelling to Quetta on a bus. A major attack on Shai’s processions, marking Ashura was expected but fortunately stopped.
What is so regrettable for me is that people are killed and it has no influence on other political and religious affairs. They are killed because they are Shai and Hazara while the government of Pakistan kept silent to the daily deaths of these innocent people. Every time the extremist and other terror network groups kill this nation, the government calls it “the Unknown Gunmen” while the government is fully aware of these banned extremist parties who are openly operating in different parts of Pakistan, particularly in Quetta and Karachi. Similarly, the responsibility for the attacks on 26 Hazara pilgrims were accepted by Lashkar-e-Jangvi who have also given other senseless Fitwa on Hazaras, considering Hazaras to be Kafir “Infidel” and worth killing. But they are still called “Unknown men”!
Following the continuous targeted killings of the Hazaras and other ethnics due to their ethnicity, religion or political affiliations raise serious questions about the will or ability of Pakistan’s security forces to protect its citizens from ongoing genocide and violence, particularly the Hazaras in Quetta Balochistan. In this regard, British Parliament on March 31, 2012, Alan Johnson, a labor MP, during his debate also said that 700 Hazaras had been killed in Quetta in the last couple of years, yet the government of Pakistan has not taken a single action against these culprits and that we urge the government of Pakistan to take a serious action against these terrorist groups.
Furthermore, there has been, several times, a handbill distribution in Hazara community that warned the Hazaras of a Jihad, similar to the one carried out against the Hazaras in Afghanistan by the Taliban regime that killed 12,000 Hazars in central parts of Afghanistan in Yakawlang within two or three days. On the days the handbills were posted in Hazaras community, the Hazara leaders have had several requests from the government to have a serious consideration on the matter but that was overlooked, and as a result, now daily dozens of innocent people are steeped in bloodshed.
Following the implication, human rights watch also had several time appeals from the government of Pakistan to bring these perpetrator to justice, when the journalists asked the Chief Minister of Balochistan, Nawab Aslam Raisani that what was his government going to do with the families of victims who have lost their beloved ones, Mr. Risani with smile replied, I would send a truck-load of tissue papers to the families of victims to wipe out their tears. This is a response every time this community receives from the government authorities who are supposed to protect people from injustice and violence.
According to Pakistani analysts, the (LeJ) Lashkar-e-Jangvi in Quetta is being run by Usman Saifullah Kurd, Dawood Badini and Sahfiqur Rind. Kurd, who heads the LeJ in Balochistan has trained a new group of killers who are carrying out attacks on Hazaras and other Shia communities. Rind was arrested in 2003 from Mastung area of Balochistan while Kurd was arrested by the Criminal investigation Unit in Karachi on June 22, 2006. Both could, somehow, escaped from the Anti-Terrorist Forces Jail in Quetta on January 18, 2008. Rind was rearrested, but Kurd is still proceeding with his terrorist attacks against Shia communities in different parts of the region.
The ongoing target killings of Hazaras and other Shia communities in Pakistan is really questioning the will of Pakistani government to secure its people. This is a cause of grave concern for the government of Pakistan. The international community should be aware of the various complexities and challenge in the region. The legislature, judiciary and the executive branches of Pakistan government haven’t yet even included the plight of Hazaras in their national policy debates.
The government of Pakistan should perceive that it is its responsibility to protect its citizens from such genocide and discrimination because of their race and also religious belief. The authorities must begin bold initiatives to make sure Hazaras living in Quetta are not killed.
Above all, seeing this people helpless, I would like to ask for the attention of the United Nations, other human rights protecting organizations and the world at large to condemn the ongoing killing of Hazaras and other Shia communities in Pakistan. If today the concern is over one community, I am sure tomorrow this will spread throughout the world. If I am not going to die, I am sure, you are not going to die. So protect the lives to live.
The Article First Published in Daily Outlook Afghanistan Group of Newspapers on April 12, 2012