Azaranica is a non-biased news aggregator on Hazaras. The main aim is to promote understanding and respect for cultural identities by highlighting the realities they face on daily basis...Hazaras have been the victim of active persecution and discrimination and one of the reasons among many has been the lack of information, awareness, and disinformation.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

For Some, Quetta Is A Deadly Prison

Billboard warning asylum seekers against taking “illegal routes to Australia” looms over the scene of a 2010 suicide bombing in Quetta.

By Aubrey Belford

Once a haven for refugees from Afghanistan, the Pakistani city of Quetta has turned into a deathtrap. Many see escape to Australia as their only hope.

For years, the Pakistani city of Quetta has been studded with billboards put up by Australia.

When a suicide bomber detonated himself in a Shia Muslim rally on September 3, 2010, killing more than 70 people, photographs of the carnage showed one of these signs in the background. Behind the welter of torn bodies, black smoke and sheared metal, the message was clearly visible: “All illegal routes to Australia are closed to Afghans.”

This city near Afghanistan has long been a transit point for would-be asylum seekers from across the border, many of them Shia Muslim ethnic Hazaras. The Afghans would enter, make contact with smugglers and arrange documents, and head on to Australia. Many of those in transit would stay with relatives among the half-million-strong local community of Hazaras who have settled in the city over more than a century — seeking refuge from waves of massacres and oppression in Afghanistan.

But Quetta is no longer a haven. Recent years have seen a dramatic rise in the killing of Hazaras and other Shias by the extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which is allied to the Taliban. The killers, who often strike in the daytime and brazenly leave their faces exposed, carry out their work with little hindrance from the authorities. Some allege they have state support.

Quetta has now become a place that Hazaras are desperate to leave.... Continue Reading.... 

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