Editor’s note: What was ignored by Pakistani media and foreign correspondents in Pakistan is being shown by France 24 TV. The footages of Shia massacres in Pakistan which were completely censored in Pakistani media as well as by foreign correspondents of BBC, The Time, NYT etc in Pakistan, have been picked by France 24 TV. Here’s a report which was recently published by France 24.
Not unlike other Shiites Muslims in the country, Pakistan’s Hazara population, a predominantly Shiite Muslim ethnic minority, has long been subjected to persecution, and in recent months, increasing violence. Yet in a disturbing new trend, members of the (allegedly Pakistan army-backed) Sunni-Deobandi extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (currently operating as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat ASWJ), which has claimed responsibility for several attacks targeting the country’s Shia Muslims including Shia Hazara community, have begun filming deadly assaults on the community and posting the videos online.
Filmed just outside of Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s western Balochistan province and home to a large Hazara community, the video below contains graphic images. A number of Shia Hazara fruit and vegetable sellers were en route to Quetta from a suburb dubbed “Hazara Town” on October 4, 2011 when the bus they were travelling on was forced to stop by a group of armed men. Aiming their weapons into the vehicle, the assailants killed 13 of the passengers in cold blood.
The incident was reported by local media
, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has ties to both al Qaeda and the Taliban, came forward to claim responsibility for the massacre. Footage of the attack later surfaced on the Internet.
WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS DISTURBING IMAGES
Though the video is several months old, it is representative of the kind of deadly violence that has become increasingly commonplace in the country against Shia Muslims. Such violence is not confined to Quetta or Hazara Shias only. Shias of all ethnic backgrounds and areas are under attack by LeJ-ASWJ extremists who seem to have immunity from Pakistan security agencies. The last known attack happened on June 28
, when a car bomb struck a bus carrying a group of Shia pilgrims on a road near Quetta. Thirteen people of Hazara Shia and non-Hazara Shia backgrounds were killed and 25 others injured. The next day, members of the city’s Shia community staged a demonstration to protest against the bloodshed.
According to Abdul Qayuum Changezi, head of the organisation Hazara Jarga, approximately 60 Hazaras have been killed since January alone, while more than 600 have been killed since 2000. In Quetta alone, the number of non-Hazara Shias (a much smaller community) is estimated to be more than 200 in the same period.
“We’re an easily recognisable target for terrorists, because we look like Mongolians”
Hamza Qasimi, a Hazara, lives in Quetta.
In the video, the terrorists are speaking in Barahvi, a local Balochistan dialect. They are shouting ‘Kafir, Kafir!’ which means ‘non-Muslim’. To them, we are infidels. It’s not the first time that the Taliban have filmed themselves executing members of my community. Other videos are circulating on the Internet, often set to Taliban chants. To them, killing Shia Hazaras is a demonstration of power, and a source of pride.
Video of an attack targeting Hazaras in September, 2011. In it, Taliban chants can be heard.
We’re an easily recognisable target for terrorists because we look like Mongolians. Sometimes, they hunt us down in our stores in Quetta. My father had a shop near the central marketplace but he decided to leave town, it had become too dangerous to live here.