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Thursday, August 30, 2012

SECOND EDITORIAL: What a miscarriage of justice

How sad that such a senseless blowback of the Shia-Sunni schism of millennia should fall so violently on Balochistan’s Hazara, a peaceful, harmless community of mosty mid and low-level workers with no history of quarrel with the outside world. And how cruel that even the most blatant, disgusting slaughter of these passive people should fail to so much as register at the centre of power in Islamabad, a fitting response being a far thing.

Considering that this everyday murder of innocent Hazara, often women and children, is mostly duly claimed by extremist organisations created for just such purposes, the government’s continued silence is as revealing as it is disturbing. Could it be that the security machinery is really incapable of reacting to, let alone coping with, what is clearly sectarian cleansing, most prominently in Balochistan? Or is it that the government can still get a handle on the situation but sees it politic to concentrate energies elsewhere for the moment, like judiciary, military and election issues? Or is it that our one-time nest egg, the mulla-cleric novelty of the Soviet jihad, has become so big and powerful a monster that where it cannot directly control the security apparatus, it just bypasses it with impunity?

Granted, preempting such unfortunate instances is difficult at the best of times in places like Quetta, therefore the government’s position must best be revealed by its response. And sadly, where actions should speak louder than words, Islamabad draws a big blank. Why does the interior ministry not move against militant outfits always taking responsibility for this savage monstrosity? Why does Malik Ishaq roam free, addressing large rallies, when his Lashkar e Jhangvi openly prides itself for killing the Shia?

It seems Pakistan is really fast descending into a no-go hell-on-earth marked by extremism, fanaticism and savagery. The burden of responsibility dictates that an authority mute during and after repeated violations of the law must be held complicit with the perpetrators. And the more Islamabad delays necessary action, the more it risks being branded party to the crime. Already the Hazara, once the epitome of the good Pakistani, are embittered to no end, and rightly so; they have buried far more innocent souls than any feelings of loyalty and patriotism they once prided. So much for Jinnah’s secular, progressive Pakistan.

Even worse, a political spectrum obsessed with drone bombings continues to ignore the plight of the Shia, save the MQM, whose strong stance should be mirrored in more parties. Allowing such sectarianism to continue unchecked is the height of infamy, amounting to pouring fuel on an already raging fire. Yet the all-is-well posture dominates in Islamabad, as it is expected to all the way to the election. Meantime tea boys, shoe polishers and taxi drivers comprising the docile Hazara clan continue to pay in blood and tears for the state’s paralysis. What a miscarriage of justice.

Daily Times

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