Original Articles

Elections 2013: An analysis of PB-2 provincial seat in Quetta – by Khan Mohammad

MWM

The April 23 bomb blast was another reminder for the Shia Hazara residents of Alamdar Road that security and peace is a distant dream. After two months of tense calm, the blast shattered all the hopes of peace for Shias in a city which has become the stronghold of Sipah-e Sahaba (aka ASWJ) allied Taliban and Lashkar-e Jhangvi. Fortunately, security forces averted the disaster by stopping the Takfiri Deobandi suicide bomber from making his way into Alamdar Road, and the car exploded at the check post killing and maiming dozens of innocents. The attack was continuation of campaign by Sipah-e Sahaba Taliban aka Lashkar e Jhangvi to drive the Shias out of Quetta as they threatened in their infamous letter.

But national and international media were misguided by a local party present here in Quetta. Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) which has many friends in media (particularly the pro-establishment fake liberals) through whom it misrepresents the Shia genocide by Deobandi militants as Hazara-specific ethnic killings, portrayed the bomb attack as an attempt on HDP rally. It was a dangerous portrayal. There was neither any HDP rally that day nor were any election-specific threats issued to the party in Quetta. Sipahe-e Sahaba Taliban aka Lashkar e Jhangvi has rather threatened the entire Shia Hazara community and Shia Muslims in general and especially the Shia religious figures. Even the Takfiri terrorists have clarified (in Daily Jang Quetta) that they have nothing against the HDP or the Hazara people as a tribe and target only Shias. Target killings and bomb attacks on Shias throughout Quetta speak for themselves. This false news spreaded on media was an attempt to under-estimate and misrepresent the existential threats Shias are facing. No local daily including the Hazara nationalist newspaper Awaz-e Nasl-e Nau agreed with the misleading report of potential attack on HDP. All local dailies carried the headline which read, ‘Attack on Alamdar Road foiled’.

The HDP attempt shows its desperation. It is facing the emotional backlash in the community which will show itself in elections. In the two sit-in protests after Alamdar Road and Hazara Town blasts, HDP did not own and join the protests, and did not bother to sympathize with the protesters. Since then, Shia Hazaras have gone further away from HDP which banks upon racist politics, and dismisses the religious belief as extremism.

Like some other establishment backed parties which owe their existence to media coverage as they have no presence in assemblies, HDP has no electoral influence either. It has never won any elections since it came into being. It lives on the media coverage where it is presented as the representative of the nation. Here in Quetta, it is struggling to prove its relevance. To make for their excesses and failures, HDP has turned to media and social networking sites to be relevant. Like PTI, its trolls (most of them are based in foreign countries as a part of HDP-foreign-smuggling-racket but present themselves as tweeting from Quetta) have filled social networking sites who go on to abuse and harass every political opponent and supporter.

With the coming elections, HDP is once again facing the prospect of electoral defeat. Majlis-e-Wahadat-e-Muslimeen (Muslim Unity Council aka MWM) which had organized sit-in protests all around Pakistan after Quetta blasts has fielded a strong candidate Agha Raza Rizvi who has mobilized the masses and looks all set to win the PB-2 seat. While one may disagree with some of the policies of MWM, its choice of candidate in Quetta has received positive response. An educated gentleman from a respectable backward, Agha Raza is known to be very honest and straightforward, and has won backing of the community elders and voters.

Another candidate who is contesting the PB-2 seat is PML-N’s Sahar Gul Khilji. Khilji is a known to be a Shia-hater who has support of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat) and Taliban. He has even taken out rallies against the Shia of Quetta and chanted the notorious anti-Shia slogans of takfir (Shia Kafir, which was so shamelessly promoted as an election slogan in Najam Sethi-Raza Rumi’s The Friday Times). Khilji’s gang has also attacked and fired upon innocent Shias and their houses in the past. It is very disturbing, but not surprising that PML-N has fielded a terrorist as candidate from Quetta.