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World Shia Forum rejects The New York Times misleading report on Pakistani Shias – by Dr Mukhtar Askari

Dr. Mukhtar Askari is Secretary General of WSF.

On 3 December 2012, The New York Times published an article titled “Pakistan Reels With Violence Against Shiites”, by Declan Walsh, NYT Pakistan Bureau Chief. The previous title of the article (changed afterwards) was “Pakistan’s Hazara Shiites under siege” URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/world/asia/pakistans-hazara-shiites-under-siege.html?hpw&_r=0

The article is an example of Oriental piece of journalism with several mis-statements and omissions that serve to misrepresent Shia genocide in Pakistan.

We outline our key concerns, which include errors and omissions as well as some mis-statements, as follows:

1. The article presents the country-wide Shia genocide in Pakistan, in which 20,000 Shia Muslims of all ethnic backgrounds and areas have been killed, as a largely Hazara specific ethnic issue confined to Quetta.

2. The article blames Sunni Muslims, not Deobandis, as responsible for Shia genocide. This Sunni vs Shia sectarian angle hides the internal heterogeneity of Sunnis and also hides the fact that Sipah-e-Sahaba and Taliban (two organizations mainly responsible for Shia genocide in Pakistan) are almost entirely Deobandi militant organizations. Not a single Sunni Barelvi (majority in Pakistan) is a part of Sipah Sahaba and Taliban. More over, the article hides the fact that same Takfiri Deobandi militants who kill Shias also kill Sunni Barelvis, moderate Deobandis, Ahamdis, Hindus and Christians. Thus, violence and terrorism in Pakistan is Takfiri Deobandis vs the rest of Pakistan, not Sunni vs Shia.

3. The article hides the fact that out of total 20,000 Shias killed in all parts of Pakistan, only 700 are Shia Hazaras, i.e., only 3 per cent.

4. The article hides the fact that within Quetta and surroundings, at least 300 non-Hazara Shias have been killed, who, in terms of their minuscule population in Quetta, have the highest death rate due to target killing of any Shia sub-group in Pakistan. Non-Hazara Shias of Quetta are double unfortunate because their deaths are not mourned or mentioned by media and rights groups (including HRW, Amnesty, HRCP etc).

5. In the article, Declan Walsh refers to the case of “26 Hazara men” who were dragged out of the bus and shot. Of course he hides that the 26 victims also included a number of non-Hazara Shias (of Pashtun, Punjabi and Qandahari origin).

It’s quite clear that in this lazy report on Shias of Pakistan, Walsh has been misled by propagandists of Hazara ethnic party (Hazara Democratic Party) which, not unlike Imran Khan’s PTI and Hafiz Saeed’s DPC, is suspected to be sponsored by Pakistan’s military establishment. HDP operatives usually obfuscate Shia genocide in Quetta as a Hazara ethnicity specific issue in order to gain political mileage for their ethnic politics and also to obfuscate the real perpetrators of anti-Shia violence, i.e., ISI-sponsored Deobandi militants. It is usual in Pakistani social and mainstream media to see HDP propagandists (mis)appropriate murder of non-Hazara Shias in Quetta and present it as Hazara genocide. In the past, they have presented murder of Qandahari, Punjabi, Baloch, Pashtun Shias in Quetta as Hazara related incidents. It is notwithstanding the fact that even within Hazaras, HDP has very low support. The sitting member of the parliament belongs to the PPP, and majority of Shia Hazaras are very faith-conscious unlike ethno-atheist tendencies of HDP. For details and examples, visit Karbala-e-Quetta, largest internet portal (more than 18,000 members) of Shia Hazaras of Quetta which routinely rejects HDP ethno-fascist tactics and propaganda.

We want to let the NYT and its Pakistan Bureau Chief know that by writing and publishing such misleading reports, they are not at all helping a community (Shia) which is facing a pre-genocide situation in Pakistan. We also ask personal friends and promoters of Mr. Declan Walsh (in Pakistani media and rights groups) to refrain from misrepresenting Shia genocide in Hazara ethnic terms and instead consider the observations we have listed in this post.

Further readings:

List of non-Hazara Shia Muslims killed by SSP-LeJ-Taliban in Balochistan – by Marya Mushtaq

Shia Genocide Database: A detailed account of Shia killings in Pakistan from 1963 to 2012

Is it Hazara genocide or Shia genocide? – by Musa Changezi

ISI-sponsored Shia genocide in Pakistan or Sunni-Shia sectarian violence?

Abdul Khaliq Hazara and the ethnic cleansing narrative – by Marya Mushtaq

Similarities between Khaliq Hazara and Ahmed Ludhianvi – by Raza Ali

Shia Hazaras of Quetta reject misleading report on #ShiaGenocide by New York Times’ Declan Walsh – by Jafar Hazara

Fortunately, the Sunni Hazara brothers are safe in Quetta – by Mehdi Changezi

Is Shia genocide an adequate term to describe the plight of Pakistan’s Shia Muslims?

Semantics of Hazara genocide or Shia genocide: Why no unity in outrage?

Shia genocide: What’s in a name – by Dr Taqi

Imran Khan, Munawar Hasan and Hamid Mir’s discourse on Hazara genocide in Quetta

Source: World Shia Forum

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  • Marvellous post, Dr. Askari. As a Shia Hazara (yes I am proud of both Shia and Hazara identity), can’t thank you enough.

    I sympathize with Mr. Walsh who enjoyed local hospitality of HDP office bearers in Quetta. What else would one expect him to write?

  • Declan Walsh ‏@declanwalsh
    Hazaras under siege – my take on Pakistan’s surge in sectarian killings, through the Quetta lens: http://nyti.ms/11KkdtB


    Ali ‏@y2raza
    @declanwalsh gets his Shia killing story out of the way ! Now on to better, juicier reporting !

    Ali ‏@y2raza
    @AnsarKhakwani @declanwalsh @alexpressed lazy reporting !

    Ali ‏@y2raza
    Mr @declanwalsh goes the way of calling these Debandis; Sunnis, wrong !

    Ansar Khakwani ‏@AnsarKhakwani
    @declanwalsh Is it okay to hide the Deobandi identity of Sipah Sahaba-LeJ and present them as Sunnis? #ShiaGenocide

    Ansar Khakwani ‏@AnsarKhakwani
    @declanwalsh Is it ok to act as Oriental writers instead of listening to Shia activists & groups? #ShiaGenocide

    Murtza ‏@Murtza
    @AnsarKhakwani:@y2raza @declanwalsh While HDP activists are celebrating his story, will Shia bloggers write something?

    Syed Tehseer Haider ‏@mehsoore
    @declanwalsh The Extremists Killing #Shias in Pakistan not Sunnis.They are not representing Muslim sects.Kindly refrain using such words

    Promoters (known network):

    Saleem Javed ‏@mSaleemJaved
    Many thanks, Declan, fro visiting #Quetta/writing abt it in such a hard time. MT @declanwalsh: #Hazaras under siege: http://nyti.ms/11KkdtB

    Raza Rumi ‏@Razarumi
    Brilliant story by the clear headed & well informed @DeclanWalsh – “Pakistan Reels With Violence Against Shiites” -> http://nyti.ms/TJKJO2

    Omar Waraich ‏@OmarWaraich
    “The killers strike with chilling abandon…”- @declanwalsh’s powerful pg. 1 piece on the persecution of Hazaras http://nyti.ms/TJyUHE

    Ali Dayan Hasan ‏@AliDayan
    #Pakistan Reels With Violence Against Shiites – @declanwalsh in the NYT today . http://nyti.ms/TFRwJm #Hazara #Balochistan

    Zia Ur Rehman ‏@zalmayzia
    @declanwalsh ‘s recent: #Hazaras under siege – Pakistan’s surge in sectarian killings, through the #Quetta lens: http://nyti.ms/11KkdtB

  • I am a Pakistani Sunni and I am appalled that I have been painted as a killer of Shias.

    Shame on you NYT. Shame on you Walsh. Is that what your agenda is, to create Sunni Shia strife in Paskistan? To deflect attention from real killers (Takfiri Deobandis)?

    By focusing on Hazara ethnicity, do you want to crate Baloch-Pashtunb vs Hazara strife in Quetta? Is that what ISI’s current agenda is?

    Thank you, WSF and LUBP, for stating what needed to be said. God bless.

  • Hi Declan: Are ISI-sponsored Deobandis killing us in Parachinar because we are Hazaras?

    What about Baltis and Gilgitis? Are they not under siege?

    What about Mehzar Zehra? Ever heard of that name?

  • This is one of the most terrible piece of writing by the said reporter. Just read it once and it feels as if he was in hurry to send it to the editor. I have been to Quetta and the road he mentioned as ‘Alamgir Road’ is ‘ALAMDAR ROAD’. See his stressing the ‘Sunni’ part. What a careless thing to say. Than he has depended on Reuters to quote alot of points, lack of research and example of journalistic laziness? One ought to ask NYTIMES how do they publish such reports.

  • Mehr Tarar ‏@MehrTarar
    To refute Walsh’s article, World Shia Forum quotes yr article @mazdaki And that all he has written about the persecution of #Hazara is false

    Mohammad Taqi ‏@mazdaki
    @MehrTarar I actually appreciate @declanwalsh’s piece.WSF’s criticism is re: sectarian nuances & ID of victims. I’d read the piece as an FIR

    Anon @anon110
    I too appreciate Walsh’s piece. I read his piece as an FIR against Sunnis.

    Brother Dr. Taqi’s previous defence was in support of Brother Sandanand Dhume.


  • There is no shia genocide in Pakistan.

    Stop Siraki genocide in D I Khan
    Stop Gilgiti genocide in Gilgit
    Stop Balti genocide in Baltistan
    Stop Urdu speaking’s genocide in Karachi
    Stop Turi genocide in Kurram
    Stop Bangash genocide in Kohat
    Stop Pathan genocide in Hangu
    Stop Punjabi genocide in Lahore
    Stop Qizilbash genocide in Peshawar
    Stop Sindhi Genocide in Larkana
    Stop Hazara genocide in Quetta

  • Raza Rumi ‏@Razarumi
    Hazaras, Shias, Ahmedis, Karachi urban poor under siege and continue to be killed.Guess what?We want to liberate Kashmir & Gaza. SURREAL!!

    Can someone ask Raza Rumi why (Shia) Hazara are different from Shias? Will be describe more than 100 Ahmadis killed in Lahore as Punjabis?

    One who remains a servant of Sherry Rehman and Najam Sethi cannot be expected to be honest.

  • Why is Taqi of DT have problems with this article from WSF? Are Shia Hazara of Quetta being killed for a different reason other than their Shia identity.

  • Three things are obvious.

    First, HDP propagandist Saleem Javed is not based in Quetta. He keeps lying that he is based in Quetta. He sold Hazara blood to flee to Sweden but keeps misrepresenting Shia genocide of Hazara Shia and non-Hazara Shia as Hazara ethnic issues.

    Second, HDP propagandists do not make their political affiliation transparent.

    Third, Ali Dayan and other elite liberals keep providing legitimacy to Hazara genocide discourse while blaming Sunnis (not Deobandis) for killing of Shias.

    God help Shia!

    Saleem Javed ‏@mSaleemJaved
    It was an honor to be among a great panel of speakers at the ‘Gothenburg Conference on #Hazara genocide in #Pakistan’ including @AliDayan.

    3 Dec Saleem Javed ‏@mSaleemJaved
    In his comprehensive speech at #GothenburgConf, @AliDayan, asserted that it was #Pakistan’s responsibility to protect the minorities.

    2 Dec Ali Dayan Hasan ‏@AliDayan
    Grateful to @mSaleemJaved for chance to address #GothenburgConf on “The human rights situation in Pakistan” with ref to #Shia & #Hazara

  • Shaheryar Mirza ‏@mirza9

    So what exactly is the World Shia Forum? They “reject” Declan’s story in NYTimes and seem to only have a wordpress account. Any clues?

    Mehr Tarar ‏@MehrTarar

    @mirza9 And still spoke with so much authority. Didn’t have anything other than some stats.

    Baba Umar ‏@BabaUmarr

    @MehrTarar @mirza9: Liked their word press post. Has local media covered it?

  • Mehr Tarar ‏@MehrTarar

    @mirza9 And still spoke with so much authority. Didn’t have anything other than some stats.


    so stats are nothing. hahahahahah.
    any clue where would mehr tarar be if there was not any Daily Times? Would be teaching primary students in Government Public School Sadiq Abad. thanks to daily times for not letting her be unemployed or languishing in some public school.

  • Dr. Taimur Rahman ‏@Taimur_Laal
    World Shia Forum rejects The New York Times misleading report on Pakistani Shias – by Dr Mukhtar Ask http://fb.me/25irKXgdF

    4 Dec Omar Waraich ‏@OmarWaraich
    @Taimur_Laal Those are absurd criticisms. Declan made no claim to be covering all incidents of anti-Shia violence. It was a look at Hazaras

    12h Dr. Taimur Rahman ‏@Taimur_Laal
    @OmarWaraich That’s a good point. I’ll convey it to the World Shia Forum. Thanks.

    Saleem H. Ali ‏@saleem_ali
    Shows unfortunate discord among victims RT @AnsarKhakwani: World Shia Forum rejects @declanwalsh article on #Shias http://criticalppp.com/archives/232097

    Ansar Khakwani ‏@AnsarKhakwani
    @saleem_ali Blaming the victim, Sir? No comment on the lazy reporter? WSF’s observations trashed? @declanwalsh

    Shaikh Rafia ‏@ShaikhRafia
    Hope @declanwalsh responds to the World Shia Forum’s stats and clarify/apologize. http://criticalppp.com/archives/232097

    Nabeel Shakeel Ahmed ‏@ns_ahmed
    Rare to see a @declanwalsh report challenged-World Shia Forum rejects NYT misleading report on Pakistani Shias http://bit.ly/SuW0n2

    Dr Shahid ‏@DR_SHAHID
    @robcrilly Please Do Read This One Also To Make A Clear View Of #GENOCIDE All Over #Pakistan! http://ow.ly/fO6tq @declanwalsh

    Tammie M ‏@tammie01
    World Shia Forum rejects The New York Times misleading report on Pakistani Shias – by Dr Mukhta… http://wp.me/p1w9pX-tu via @wordpressdotcom

    Tammie M ‏@tammie01
    “The article blames Sunni Muslims, not Deobandis, as responsible for Shia genocide. This Sunni vs Shia sectarian… http://fb.me/12CYv3RxA

    political shia-pak ‏@PoliticalShiaPK
    It’s quite clear that in this lazy report on Shias of Pakistan, Walsh has been misled by propagandists of Hazara… http://fb.me/22ZafhWLK

    Yousuf Nazar ‏@YousufNazar
    “World Shia Forum rejects The New York Times misleading report on Pakistani Shias” – by Dr Mukhtar Askari http://shar.es/6JX5H

    Zalaan ‏@Zalaan1
    World Shia Forum rejects The New York Times misleading report on Pakistani Shias – by Dr Mukhta… http://wp.me/p1w9pX-tu

    Sundus Rasheed ‏@SundusRasheed
    World Shia Forum rejects The New York Times misleading report on Pakistani Shias – by Dr Mukhtar Askari http://shar.es/6J5Wc

    Ali ‏@y2raza
    @AbdulNishapuri that was a lazily written article by Mr Walsh ! Same tired narrative Sunni vs Shia ! No mention of Takfiri Debandis !

    Abdul Nishapuri ‏@AbdulNishapuri
    Then this thug from The New York Times wants me & other Pakistani Shias to believe that Shias are being killed by Sunnis. Nonsense!

    5 Dec Mehr Tarar ‏@MehrTarar
    @AbdulNishapuri Declan Walsh is a ‘thug’ ? How many people will you label? From me to Tahira someone to Walsh.

    Abdul Nishapuri ‏@AbdulNishapuri
    @MehrTarar Urta teer lay lo baghal main

    sammiejoe ‏@sammiejoe
    @Justice4Zehra please read article that @AnsarKhakwani has attached: http://criticalppp.com/archives/232097 conflating all Sunnis w. LeJ/Taliban is inaccurate

    sammiejoe ‏@sammiejoe
    @Justice4Zehra @AnsarKhakwani it also ignores the killings of non-Hazara Shias, making it look like an ethnic conflict not sectarian

    sammiejoe ‏@sammiejoe
    @AnsarKhakwani thanks for sharing! i should have known an unbiased article in the NYT about Shias in Pakistan was too good to be true.

    SamadKhalid @SamadKhalid
    Those who usually obfuscate #ShiaGenocide by Takfiri Deobandis r defending/promoting DeclanWalsh’s article on Pakistan Shia

  • does declan walsh know Shaheryar Mirza? he can be walsh’s good source to translate urdu news in to english

  • please tell me how is Declan Walsh in islamabad for NYT is different as shaheen sehbai in Washington for the News

  • Mustafa Qadri ‏@Mustafa_Qadri
    Pakistan’s Hazaras under siege http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/world/asia/pakistans-hazara-shiites-under-siege.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 … must read by @declanwalsh #shiakillings

    Mustafa Qadri ‏@Mustafa_Qadri
    “more than 100 Hazaras… have been killed this year alone” yet the authorities and most of the population does nothing http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/world/asia/pakistans-hazara-shiites-under-siege.html?_r=0

    Ansar Khakwani ‏@AnsarKhakwani
    @Mustafa_Qadri Can you pl provide us figures of total Hazara Shias and total non-Hazara Shias killed in Quetta? @beenasarwar @alexpressed


    Amnesty’s statement masks Deep State’s role in Shia massacres in Pakistan

    Amnesty International and HRW are constantly remiss in reporting Shia genocide in Pakistan – by Dr. Muhammad Taqi


  • Mustafa Qadri was a cricket lover and out of fate once stumbled upon a job ad in amnesty international. to date, his Time Line on Twitter is more about cricket than human rights abuses.

  • Malik Siraj Akbar misrepresents Shia genocide in Pakistan
    Malik Siraj AKbar, famous for his Qasidah-e-Husain-Haqqani and asylum application, has shown his true color once again, this time he has backstabbed Pakistan’s Shia Muslims.

    How would the Jews react if somebody said to them they were massacred not because of their faith but because they were Polish or German or Russian? How would the Balochs react if someone tried to convince them they are being killed not because of their Baloch ethnicity but due to their sect or faith?

    This is exactly what Malik Siraj Akbar, editor the Baloch Hal has tried to do with Pakistan’s Shia Muslims by misrepresenting their genocide in Balochistan as ethnic violence. Malik blatantly ignored the following:

    1. Shia genocide in Balochistan must not be seen in isolation from Shia genocide in rest of Pakistan.

    2. If Hazaras are being killed due to their race, which race is killing them?

    3. Sipah-e-Sahaba (and its various avatars LeJ, ASWJ) is not an ethnic or racial organization.

    4. Hundreds of non-Hazara Shias have been killed in Balochistan in addition to Hazara Shias. The relative proportion of non-Hazara and Hazara Shias killed by LeJ-SSP-ASWJ is quite similar.

    5. Here are some relevant articles on this topic: List of non-Hazara Shia Muslims killed by SSP-LeJ-Taliban in Balochistan – by Marya Mushtaq and Abdul Khaliq Hazara and the ethnic cleansing narrative – by Marya Mushtaq

    Here’s a comment by Mr. Najafi:

    Malik, you are a sharp analyst…I respect your opinion on Balochistan since you belong to the land. But at times we tend to ‘irrationalize’ things. Don’t we? We do. This article of yours is replete with inconsistencies that you could have avoided by being a little more careful. You perpetuate the same narrative which the shias of Pakistan are trying to counter: ‘Sectarian Violence’ or ‘Ethnic Cleansing’. For instance, in one of the paragraphs, you say “Had the head of the provincial government uttered similar views about the majority Sunni community, he would probably face harsh criticism from the national media and the parliament but he was ignored, mainly because he had ridiculed an ethnic minority group.” Reread this paragraph a couple of times to get a sense of how absurdly you mix both sect and ethnicity together: ‘The majority sect and minority ethnicity.’ It is not only incorrect but also dangerous. Similarly, the whole article does not have a clear direction as to where it is going. In case your readers don’t know, and you yourself either, you should know that shias from gilgit to quetta, are being massacred for their belief not by Sunnis, but by state-sponsored Deobandi groups like LeJ, ASWJ and the Taliban. (haider_ali_najafi)

    malik_siraj_akbar | Apr 06, 2012 2:22 pm EDT
    It is tragic to see how the Shias and Hazaras do not look into the whole issue together. It sometimes seems there is a competition among both the groups for taking credit of being the ‘real victim.’These attacks are perpetrated by Sunni militant groups but they result in the genocide of the Hazaras (at least in Quetta). I don’t think there is any inconsistency in the article. Inconsistency is caused because of your religious or racial bias (depending on you see it secterian or ethnic without looking into it as a humanitarian issue) There is no way I can help you with the issue as long as you, the victims, keep dividing yourselves among “Hazaras” or “Shias”. Your attacker is not divided but you folks are.


    In Pakistan, the Hazaras Are Punished Over Race and Religion
    Malik Siraj Akbar | Apr 06, 2012 11:07 AM EDT

    Protestors killed at least one policeman and burnt several official buildings last week in renewed demonstrations in the capital of Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province following the killing of five members, including a woman, from the Hazara ethnic minority community. The attackers are believed to be connected to Sunni terrorist group, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has previously accepted responsibility for similar attacks that have killed hundreds of innocent Hazaras.
    Balochistan is notoriously known among U.S. officials as a safe haven for the top Taliban leadership; fewer Americans know about the gas rich region because of Pakistan’s widespread violation of human rights there in response to a nationalist movement which aims to create a separate homeland for the ethnic Baloch. However, what is not reported in the U.S. media is the systematic cleansing of a tiny minority group known as the Hazaras inside Balochistan by fundamentalist Islamic groups. These underground outfits were historically created by Pakistan’s security establishment and still continue to enjoy their covert sponsorship.
    A people of Mongolian descent, the Hazaras mainly reside in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. In all the three countries, where religion and race are dominant factors in shaping people’s identities and perceptions, the Hazaras have faced enormous hardships, extensive discrimination and brutal displacement. In Afghanistan, they constitute the third largest ethnic group but still complain of maltreatment by the dominant Pashtuns whereas in Iran the majority Persians equally asserts racial superiority over them despite sharing the common Shia Muslim faith. In Pakistan, around 500,000 Hazaras live, mainly in Quetta, where they have offered impressive services in local police, bureaucracy, labor force, education, information technology and sports.
    The Hazaras in Balochistan present an inspiring example of community awareness and development. Visitors to their localities admit that they are always impressed with the clean streets and enviable sewerage system in Hazara towns. In addition, the Hazaras perform better than other communities in terms of girls’ school attendance, computer-literacy and fluency in English language. Despite these advantages, life remains miserable for the Hazaras.
    Over the past few years, incessant attacks have killed the most talented of the Hazaras, compelling the rest of them to remain confined to their ghettos in Marriabad, Alamdar Road and Taugi Road localities in Quetta. More fortunate among them have fled to Australia, a place the Hazaras term as a safe and welcoming destination.
    Last week’s massacre in Quetta indicates a lack of commitment and complete negligence of responsibility on behalf of the provincial and the federal governments which had already been asked to guard this vulnerable segment of the population.
    For instance, in October 2011, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), a respected Lahore-based independent rights group, urged the president and prime minister of Pakistan to take “immediate, direct and personal initiative” to stop the attacks on the Hazara community in Balochistan. In a statement, HRCP’s chairperson, Zohra Yusuf, reminded the heads of Pakistani state and government that failure to protect the lives and property and basic freedoms of Hazaras people would have “serious law and order implications” across the country and make Pakistan a pariah in the comity of nations.
    “Whatever their faith and calling the Hazaras are as honourable citizens of Pakistan as anyone else and the protection of their lives and liberty is a duty for which you will be held accountable,” she said.
    Emboldened over government’s inaction, terrorists have indiscriminately butchered Hazaras in an extremely callous manner. On September 20, 2011, at least 29 Hazaras were killed by members of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in two separate incidents near Quetta.
    In the first attack, armed men stopped a passenger bus which was taking Hazara pilgrims to Iran. They force all the passengers to come down of the bus before they began to inhumanly kill them. Soon after, the attackers killed three more members of the Hazara community, who had come to shift the critically injured victims of the shooting to a local hospital.
    On October 3, 2011, two weeks after the earlier attack, a bus carrying Hazara pilgrims to Iran was once again intercepted and 13 passengers were gunned down while another six were critically injured.
    The Amnesty International, in a statement issued on October 3, said, although sectarian violence had largely contributed to the general breakdown of law and order in Pakistan, these attacks seemed to indicate a new targeting of the ethnic Hazara community.
    “Routine targeted killings of the Hazara and other groups because of their ethnicity, religion or political affiliations raises serious questions about the will or ability of Pakistan security force to protect the people of Balochistan,” said the London-based human rights watchdog.
    In a debate at the British parliament on March 31, 2012, Alan Johnson, a Labor MP, said during an adjournment debate that around 600 Hazaras had been killed in Quetta but not a single perpetrator had been brought to justice.
    The response of the Pakistani authorities to this human rights crisis has been that of absolute indifference and utter arrogance.
    When journalists asked the chief minister of Balochistan, Nawab Aslam Raisani of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, what his government was doing to provide justice to the families of those who have lost their loved ones, he smugly replied all he could do was to send them a truckload of tissue papers so that they could wipe their tears.
    The chief minister’s remarks implicitly indicate the contempt for minority rights that exists in Pakistan even at the top official level. Had the head of the provincial government uttered similar views about the majority Sunni community, he would probably face harsh criticism from the national media and the parliament but he was ignored, mainly because he had ridiculed an ethnic minority group.
    The persecution of the Hazara community is unlikely to end in the near future until the Pakistani security establishment fully abandons its covert support to Sunni fundamentalist groups such as the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. There is ample evidence of contacts between the Pakistani authorities and these terrorist groups. In addition, the legislature, judiciary and the executive branches of the government have still not included the plight of the Hazaras in national policy debates.
    Currently, the Pakistani government does not have a clear policy on how to protect basic rights of communities such as the Hazaras, who face dual discrimination because of their race and also religious belief. The authorities must take in tangible initiatives to make sure that the Hazaras are not forced to ghettoize in their communities due to fear of attacks from fanatic groups. They have offered remarkable services in various spheres of life. Therefore, the Hazaras deserve dignified treatment and reward in return of their adherence to the law and fundamental responsibilities of citizenship.
    The views expressed in his article are personal and do not reflect the policy of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) where the writer is currently a Regan-Fascell Democracy Fellow.



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