NationalVolume 13 Issue # 19

How to stop the Hazara massacre in Pakistan

Unfortunately, the Hazara community is suffering severely in Quetta. Extremists have killed hundreds of the Hazara community members, including women and children, during the last five years. While the community is facing the worst kind of genocide, the government and law enforcement agencies have utterly failed to arrest the terrorists and give protection to the community members. According to the reports, the Hazara community members are imprisoned within a few kilometres and they can’t go out of this confined area. In spite of this confinement, the terrorists kill the community members in broad daylight and flee with complete impunity.
After the recent targeted killing of two persons in Quetta, the Hazara community staged sit-ins at three different places, Western Bypass, Press Club and outside the Provincial Assembly, for four days. The community called off its sit-ins and protest after Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa met the community elders in Southern Command and assured them security.
“Those targeting the Hazara community will suffer twice as much and the state and Pakistan Army will provide security to the community,” General Bajwa said during the meeting with the community elders. According to the Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief also met the Hazara women and Advocate Jalila Haider who went on hunger strike against the targeted killing of Hazara community members. “We are Muslim first and then anything else. Every Pakistani irrespective of religion, sect, language or caste has to stay steadfast and united to defeat hostile forces trying to create division among our nation,” said General Bajwa as quoted by the Army’s media wing.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar has also taken suo motu notice of the recurring attacks on the Hazaras. “It has been pointed out by the Bar and media alike that during the last several years, the Hazara community in Quetta has been a target of repeated terrorist attacks driven by ethnic and sectarian hatred,” said the CJP.  “I met the Hazara community recently. They were so afraid that they wouldn’t even lodge complaints or requests in the SC,” he said. “The killers of the community are holding public rallies.”…“They (the members of the community) can’t go to schools or hospitals. Are they not part of Pakistan?”, the top judge asked. “The right to life is the most sacred human right guaranteed under Article 9 of the Constitution which however has been violated with impunity by miscreants against the small and dwindling community which is otherwise peaceful and law abiding,” exclaimed Justice Nisar, asking the authorities to provide causes of their failure in safeguarding Hazara lives.
Human Rights Watch reported : “at least 509 Hazaras have been killed during the last five years…There is no travel route, no shopping trip, no school, or no work commute that is safe for the Hazaras.”  On the contrary, the Hazara community claims that around 3,000 people, including women and children, have been killed. “More than 200 Hazaras were killed only in two suicide attacks in this period,” Bostan Ali Kishmand, leader of the Hazara Democratic Party said.
There are around 900,000  Hazara citizens who live mostly in Balochistan while around 70,000  have already left the country just to save their lives.  Jalila Haider, a Hazara lawyer and human rights activist, said in a recent TV interview, “Hazaras are being forced by the killings to sell their properties at throwaway prices to avoid the killers who are targeting them at their shops”.
Wajid Shamsul Hasan, the former High Commissioner of Pakistan to UK and a veteran journalist, wrote: “The peaceful character of the city (Quetta) was destroyed during the regimes of General Ziaul Haq and General Pervez Musharraf who allowed terrorists safe havens, Haqqani Network and Quetta Shura to carry out their terrorist activities as part of their doctrine of strategic depth as well hoping to convert Afghanistan as Pakistan’s fifth province. Both the Generals compromised national security, the country’s sovereignty and tore to shreds the writ of the state by allowing entry into Pakistan thousands of Arab, Chechen, Uzbek and Uyghur terrorists into the tribal areas to fight the American jihad. Peaceful madaris were allowed to be converted into training camps to produce militants to wage proxy wars. General Pervez Musharraf even to this day supports at LeJ and his hero is Hafiz Saeed. The TTP and IS who target Hazaras, Christians and security forces in Balochistan are the offshoots of the monsters raised by the two generals”
The Afghan Taliban killed thousands of Hazaras for supposedly siding with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. When, the Afghan Taliban allegedly “found safe haven in Quetta”, they started to kill the Hazars in Quetta. In this pursuit, Pakistani extremists groups also helped the Afghan Taliban. Pakistani extremist groups like the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan are attacking the community continuously without any fear. A spokesman for the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, while accepting responsibility for most of the Hazara killings a few years ago, said his group is exacting vengeance for the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of American commandos”.
It is very strange that in the presence of many intelligence agencies in Balochistan, the security forces are not able to arrest the target killers and smash the extremist groups like the Laskhar-i-Jhangvi and the Sipah-i-Sahaba. Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa should take notice of this failure.
The PML-N government has also committed a blunder by not implementing the National Action Plan fully. If the government wants to protect the Hazaras and end extremism in the country, it should implement the NAP immediately and take stern action against hate speech in mosques, madrassas, classrooms , public gatherings and the media.