Azaranica is a non-biased news aggregator on Hazaras and Hazarajat...The main aim is to promote understanding and respect for cultural identities by highlighting the realities they are facing 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...... To further awareness against violence, disinformation and discrimination, we have launched a sister Blog for youths and youths are encouraged to share their stories and opinions; Young Pens

Friday, August 31, 2012

Five killed in Quetta ambush

Quetta: Hazar Ganji shooting toll rises to five

Updated on: Saturday, September 01, 2012 8:57:14 AM

Staff Report
QUETTA: At least five people were killed in a firing incident that occurred this morning in the city area of Hazar Ganji, SAMAA reports Saturday.

According to details of the incident, some unidentified miscreants opened fire at a vehicle transporting some vegetable vendors from main vegetable market located in Hazar Ganji, killing three people and critically injuring two others.

Rescue sources confirmed three people have been killed in the recent incident of violence.

The injured and bodies have been shifted to nearby Bolan Medical Complex located in Bruri Road area on board Edhi ambulances. However, both of the injured succumbed to injuries at hospital, pushing the death toll to five.

Police and other law-enforcers arrived at the overly crowded mishap site.

All five casualties belong to Hazara community. (Last updated at 0920 PST) --SAMAA

Justice Zulfiqar Naqvi Assassination Quetta

Five (Hazara vegetable vendors) gunned down in Quetta's Hazar Ganji

September 01, 2012 - Updated 912 PKT
From Web Edition



QUETTA: Unknown gunmen ambushed a vehicle carrying five passengers and killed all of them in Hazar Ganji area Saturday, Geo News reported.

According to police, the incident took place near Sabzi Mandi in Hazar Ganji area of Quetta when the five passengers were on their way. Unidentified miscreants opened indiscriminate fire and as a result, all five passengers died on the spot.

Death in Quetta

Editorial

Saturday, September 01, 2012
From Print Edition

It would be surprising if we were to pick up a newspaper and see no headlines narrating tales of sectarian or other kinds of violence from Balochistan. The latest news tells of the killing of additional sessions judge Syed Zulfiqar Naqvi who was gunned down along with his driver and guard while on his way to work from the GOR sector in Quetta. The death is being treated as yet another sectarian killing, with Shia groups and the legal fraternity staging protests across the country. An investigation has been ordered. Will it lead anywhere, we ask? We really do not know. Despite similar inquiries, the frequency of sectarian killings has only grown over the last few years, with the Hazara Shia community bearing the brunt of the killing in many cases. Three more members of that community were shot dead only a few days ago. The murder of the sessions judge was obviously well-planned and carried out by motorcyclists who aimed a hail of bullets into his car as they rode past. It seems obvious that extremist forces are behind the planning and execution of such crimes. Why they cannot be apprehended and a strong message sent out by punishing their leaders under the law is far from clear. The helplessness of the government and the forces of law and order only encourages further violence.

The descent of Balochistan into a spiral of endless death has been recorded by the autonomous Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in its latest report based on a fact-finding mission to the province. The report notes that things appear to have worsened since 2011 when the last fact-finding mission to the province conducted its work. Greater Talibanisation and the growth of extremism have been noted during the intervening period. The Commission also notes that violence runs in layers, with criminal elements, nationalist elements and sectarian elements all involved in one way or the other. The lack of governance adds to the entire ambit of problems as does the growing rage and feeling of alienation among the people of Balochistan. The pertinent questions at this stage are: why are the authorities unable to ruthlessly clamp down on sectarian forces that operate freely in the area? Are there any solutions to end this ruthless spiral of killings? We certainly do not see them on the horizon. Sectarian violence is splitting Quetta and Balochistan apart. It has created a terrible sense of fear and adds to the dark clouds that hover continuously over the province. The real tragedy is that no winds are blowing from any other direction to blow these dark clouds away.

Ships ignored survivors' pleas




A Hazara asylum seeker watched his sister drown when their boat sank en route to Australia, reports Indonesia correspondent Michael Bachelard on Friday.

‘Talebanisation on the rise in Balochistan’

Rehan Siddiqui / 1 September 2012

KARACHI — The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has claimed that Talebanisation was growing in the country’s largest and troubled Balochistan province and its capital Quetta has become a haven for militants.

The latest report by the HRCP on Balochistan came after a mission visited the province from May 15 to 19 to assess the impact of recent measures taken by the government with respect to the province, and to hear suggestions from stakeholders on a way out of the crisis.

“Talebanisation is growing in several areas and, unlike in the past, religious fanaticism is not merely being exported to the province from elsewhere — it is now being bred in Balochistan,” the report said.

It also reported that a growing network of seminaries has contributed to inflame sectarian tensions and militant training camps are reported in the province while the government’s strategy to quell the unrest in the province has largely failed.

The mission, during its stay in Balochistan, met members of the executive, representatives of political parties, civil society organisations, relatives of missing persons, religious and ethnic minority communities, businessmen, lawyers, journalists, teachers, students and senior government officials.

According to the report, the situation in Balochistan, in many fundamental respects, has not changed since HRCP’s last fact-finding mission to the province in 2011. Enforced disappearances continue in the province as does the dumping of bodies and impunity for perpetrators.

Frontier Corps and intelligence agencies are generally believed to be involved in enforced disappearance; in some cases their involvement had been proved beyond doubt, the report says.

Target killings and crime on the basis of religious and ethnic identity has grown, the report says, adding that the continued persecution of the Hazaras is as ruthless as it is unprecedented.

The report also pointed out that there is a popular feeling that the national media has abandoned Balochistan and has not given the province adequate coverage and journalists in the field feel threatened from the security forces, militants and insurgents.

news@khaleejtimes.com

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

Session Judge, his driver and gunman are murdered in Quetta


Mashriq News Paper Encourages Terrorists



جب ہمارے بندے شہید کئے جاتے ہے تو لکها جاتا ہے "نامعلوم افراد" یہ معلوم ہونے کے باوجود کے کون لوگ تهے۔
لیکن غیر ذمیداری کی حد کو دیکهئے کہ پرسو فیصل ٹاؤن میں فائرنگ سے تین افراد زخمی ہوۓ تهے اور کل کو مشرق اخبار میں خبر یہ آئ کی "ہزارہ افراد کی فائرنگ سے " تین افراد زخمی۔

Geo Reports-Quetta Killing-30 Aug 2012

Quetta Under Target Killing: Session Judge Killed with his Driver and Se...

COMMENT : Shia genocide: what’s in a name? — Dr Mohammad Taqi




For all intents and purposes, the Shia of Pakistan constitute a social collectivity that has been under a systematic assault by non-state actors

Is it Shia genocide or is it the genocide of the ethnic Hazaras of Quetta? What about the Gilgiti, Balti and Peshawari Shia then, or the Pashtun Shia of the Turi and Bangash tribes? Is it genocide at all? Why call it genocide when the state is allegedly not involved or supporting the perpetrators? And so continues the debate over the semantics of mass murder. As much as the killers are calm, cool, collected and calculated; the response is disjointed, if any at all, and the responders disparate and bickering.

Last year, I had noted in these pages that human rights activists, for various reasons, balk at calling the wholesale killings of the Pakistani Shia as genocide. But it is not just the nomenclature. The fact is that the two major international human rights organizations, viz Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are constantly remiss in reporting in a timely manner the atrocities perpetrated against the Pakistani Shia. For example, the recent massacre of the Shia at Babusar Top was widely reported by the international media and condemned even by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, but not so much as a denunciation has been issued by these two outfits. I understand that it might not be a grand scheme to not record and report the systemic slaughter of the Shia underway in this country but it certainly is disconcerting to note such omissions. The two groups have a dismal record of reporting the four-year siege of the Shia of upper Kurram and their deaths in thousands. If the idea of highlighting an issue is to chronicle it in a ‘country report’ the following year, then clearly there is a level of dysfunction in these outfits that should raise a flag.

I had also previously noted that a working definition provided by Professors John Thomson and Gail Quets serves as a useful template in Pakistan’s case. Thomson and Quets had stated: “Genocide is the extent of destruction of a social collectivity by whatever agents, with whatever intentions, by purposive actions, which fall outside the recognised conventions of legitimate warfare.” For all intents and purposes, the Shia of Pakistan constitute a social collectivity that has been under a systematic assault by non-state actors operating outside the norms of conventional and legitimate warfare, while the state has either stood idle or even worse, aided and abetted the perpetrators. The intensity of the atrocities has varied over roughly the last 27 years but the intent has clearly been to identify and, wherever possible, physically eliminate the Shia. This is not to say that the Shia are being thrown into gas chambers but let it be very clear too that for the systematic killings of a community to qualify as genocide, every single one of its members does not have to die.

The man who coined the term genocide, Raphael Lemkin, had taken great pains to note, “Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is indented rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the political and social institutions of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.” Lemkin’s work dealt predominantly with the Jewish population but subsequent scholars expanded the target populations from a nation or ethnicity to include political or religious groups and even social classes.

Article II of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide thus states: “Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious groups as such: a) Killing members of the group; b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. Article III of the same Convention goes on to list the following acts as punishable: a) Genocide; b) conspiracy to commit genocide; c) direct and public incitement to commit genocide; d) attempt to commit genocide; e) complicity in genocide.

The simple point is that to prevent and/or contain genocide, it has to be identified and named correctly. The viciousness of the atrocities against the Shia is incremental. From the inception of the first openly anti-Shia terrorist outfit in 1985 to a plethora of such gangs today, thousands of Shia have perished at their hands and scores have fled their locales and, when possible, the country. Those who live and stay behind, live in a state of constant fear. For the first time in the history of Pakistan many Shia, in areas where their numbers are smaller, have now been forced to conceal their religious identity or at the very least not announce it. In the event that their physical characteristics are a giveaway, as in the case of Quetta’s Hazara population, the ethnic dimension is an added risk that cannot be averted. Many Hazara thus face a double ethno-religious whammy in their already ghettoised environs.

The chances, unfortunately, are that the situation for the Shia of Pakistan is going to get worse before there is even a possibility of any improvement. They would be well advised to coordinate with other vulnerable groups as similar forces persecute and eliminate them. But more importantly, the Shia community of Pakistan has to come up with an indigenous leadership and advocates. When media misrepresents or obfuscates information about mass murders, human rights activists and honest witnesses hold its feet to the fire. But when advocacy groups get cold feet or are derelict in reporting in an honest and timely manner, the victim communities must bring forth their own Raphael Lemkins. The debate over semantics perhaps cannot be resolved but at least an honest first draft of an unfortunate history can be preserved.

The writer can be reached at mazdaki@me.com. He tweets at http://twitter.com/mazdaki

Sectarian attack: Gunmen kill Shia judge, two others in Quetta


By AFP
Published: August 30, 2012


Policemen gather after the killing of a Shia judge in Quetta on August 30, 2012. PHOTO: AFP

QUETTA: Unidentified gunmen shot dead a Shia Muslim judge along with his driver and police bodyguard on Saryab Road, Thursday, in a suspected sectarian attack, police said.

The incident took place in Quetta, the capital of the oil and gas rich province of Baluchistan, as Zulfiqar Naqvi was travelling to his office.

“Gunmen were waiting for him at a railway crossing, the moment the car slowed down, the assailants sprayed bullets and fled,” senior police officer Wazir Khan Nasir told AFP.

“The target of the attack was the judge and it appeared to be a sectarian incident.”

Khalid Mazoor, another senior police officer, confirmed the killings and added the gunmen were riding a motorbike.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack but Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, has been a flashpoint for violence between majority Sunni and Shia, who make up around 20 percent of the population.

Sectarian conflict has left thousands of people dead since the late 1980s, and the province also suffers Taliban attacks and a separatist insurgency.

Baloch rebels rose up in 2004, demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region’s oil, gas and mineral resources.

Bomb blasts and attacks on police and security forces are frequent in the province, which is one of the most deprived areas of Pakistan.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Uninterrupted death


By Editorial
Published: August 28, 2012


If the current trend continues, it will take Quetta and the rest of the province closer to the breaking point. PHOTO: AFP

Quetta has turned into a city of death. Targeted killings based on sectarian and ethnic factors take place without an end in sight. Entire communities live in fear and people hesitate to leave their homes. When they do, they can never be certain whether they will return safely or not. The three Shias who were shot down in the latest sectarian attack in a drive-by shooting, certainly did not make it back home. It is unclear who their killers were but it can be assumed that the men wielding guns had been sent out by one of the Sunni extremist forces which have set up base in Quetta over the last decade or so. Thousands of sectarian deaths have occurred in the province since the 1990s due to their actions, with Quetta’s small and traditionally peaceful Shia Hazara community most frequently beingtargeted in recent months.

On August 27, sectarian killings alone did not bring death to the province. A day of mourning had been called by the Balochistan Republican Party, led by Brahmdagh Bugti, to mark the death anniversary of his late grandfather, Nawab Akbar Bugti. Other nationalist parties supported the call with strikes observed across towns in the province. Sadly, there was also violence, with five bus passengers shot dead in Bolan. Whatever motives may underpin the killings, the end result is the same: death and agony.

Is there any way to end the murders in Balochistan, restore sectarian harmony and dampen rage? Certainly, right now there appear to be no answers in sight. The question for the province is whether these answers can ever be found. If this does not happen, there can be no guarantee for what the future will hold or how things will develop in our largest territorially federating unit. The sectarian strains running through Quetta alongside other kinds of violence have destroyed the once harmonious flow of life that existed there. If the current trend continues, there will only be a worsening in the situation, taking Quetta and the rest of the province closer to the breaking point.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2012.

Hazaragi traditional game Sang girag

Cover Photo Amnesty International Australia

Monday, August 27, 2012

سه شیعه در پاکستان به قتل رسیدن


به روز شده: 18:15 گرينويچ - دوشنبه 27 اوت 2012 - 06 شهریور 1391

در شهر کویته پاکستان مردان مسلحی که سوار بر موتورسیکلت بودند به روی یک تاکسی حامل سه تن از شیعیان اقلیت هزاره آتش گشودند و آن ها را به قتل رساندند.

به گفته پلیس پاکستان اختلاف فرقه ای انگیزه این حمله بوده است.

این این تازه ترین مورد از سلسله حملاتی است که علیه شیعیان هزاره صورت گرفته و صدها تن از آن ها را به قتل رسانده است.

“If this isn’t Shia genocide, what is?"

Zofeen Ebrahim




A video grab purportedly shows an attack on Shia passengers on their way to Gilgit-Baltistan. It remains unconfirmed whether the video is from the August 16 incident or April 3. – Video grab from YouTube

“It must have been early morning when about two dozen masked men, in army uniforms, stopped their convoy of buses. All passengers were asked to get down. In an organised manner they separated the Shias from among the rest and having ascertained their identity (through their names and the area they belonged to), shot them dead,” said Hussain (real named withheld on request), who belongs to a village in the Astore district of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).

Twenty-four people (21 Shias and three Sunnis) in aboard three buses, who had embarked on fateful that August 15 morning, from Rawalpindi, never reached their destination in G-B (a Shia-majority region), aftertheir buses were intercepted near Lulusar area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province on Aug 16, where they were mercilessly massacred.

Among them, 12 were from Astore and six were Hussain’s close relatives from the same village.

Two family members, somehow, survived to tell the sordid episode. “They saw their cousins die in front of them,” he said.

During the massacre, said Hussain, the masked men asked the passengers to loudly chant “Allah-o-Akbar” (God is Great) and “kafir, kafir, Shia kafir (infidels, infidels, Shia infidels)”. He belongs to the Shia sect although 90 per cent of the villagers were Sunnis.

A shaky and grainy video doing the rounds on the internet shows the incident exactly as Hussain described to Dawn.com.

Muhammad Afridi, of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, associated earlier with the anti-Shia militant outfit Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), stated the killings were in retaliation for ‘excesses’ committed by Shias against Sunnis in G-B. He warned that more such attacks would be carried out in other parts of the country.

After the incident hundreds remained stranded in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, after public and private transport for the region was suspended.

This is the third such incident since the beginning of the year. On February 28, and then again on April 3, 18 and nine Shia passengers were dragged out of the buses in a similar manner in northern district of Kohistan, and Chilas, 60 miles from Gilgit, respectively.

Political analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi finding a “growing trend of Islamic sectarianism” predicts that with Pakistan’s rapid shift towards religious orthodoxy in Islam, “sectarian thinking” is likely to dominate.

Pakistan has recorded at least 2,642 sectarian attacks, killing 3,963 people since 1989, according to theSouth Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) database.

Balochistan, said the SATP has witnessed at least 71 incidents of sectarian attacks in which 304 persons have been killed since 2009. Over 90 people have already been killed in 34 such incidents since the beginning of 2012 until August 19.

Earlier Interior Minister Rehman Malik, hinted at “foreign” hands fanning sectarianism in Pakistan to destabilise the country and promote religious hatred.

Dismissing Malik’s statement, Dr Mohammad Taqi, said it is Pakistan’s own domestic policy of using jihad as a tool which has “led to the tail wagging the dog.”

Talking to Dawn.com, Taqi, who left Pakistan for the United States in 1996 “anticipating the disaster we are facing” added that the intolerance and extremism Pakistan is in grips with is a “direct consequence of Pakistan’s neighbour-phobic national identity anchored in religious ideology”.

Hussain from Astore called the massacre nothing short of genocide against the Shias.

“If this isn’t genocide, what is?” exclaimed Hussain. “What’s worse we were advised by elders in our village, that we shouldn’t agitate as it may fuel riots,” he said.

Finding the “studious silence of the Shia massacre by the Sunni majority” disquieting, Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, a peace activist and an academician told Dawn.com: “Describing the killings as sectarian is outrageous because a conflict assumes two warring sides. But in fact here there is just one side – the Shias – which is being massacred.”

“Pakistan was conceived in haste with just one goal in mind – Muslims must be separated from Hindus, and then somehow all Muslims will live together in bliss. Zero thought was given to what happens when religious fervour is aroused,” said Hoodbhoy retracing the partition of the sub-continent in 1947 when India and Pakistan became two separate nations.

The pre-independence writings by Wahabbi, Deobandi and Ahle-Hadees hardliners, added Rizvi, show discord between Shias and Sunnis existed even then.

“The division always existed but sectarianism gained momentum in the 1980s (during military dictator General Zia ul Haq’s 11-year rule) when Pakistani state began to implement and promote religious orthodoxy and conservatism,” he said.

Today, the country is more fragmented than ever before and Hoodbhoy blamed the rise in extremism to the “overdose of religion given to young Pakistanis”.

Citing the recent Washington DC-based Pew Research Centre’s survey which found 50 per cent of Sunnis in Pakistan believe Shias to be non-Muslims, Hoodbhoy warned this may result in “bitter religious wars”.

Eighty-three per cent of Sunnis in Afghanistan, contrary to only 50 per cent in Pakistan, accept Shias as Muslims. Even in Bangladesh, which split before General Zia ul Haq’s regime took control of Pakistan, 77 per cent of Sunnis believe Shias are Muslims.

“For now the Shia’s are feeling the brunt, along with the Ahmadis, but tomorrow it will be one Sunni faction butchering another,” warned Hoodbhoy.

Finding the politicians, the government and even the army incapacitated, many like Hussain say: “When the state can’t protect itself, how can we expect or have the confidence in these institutions to protect us?”

“The federal government is too bogged down in its survival,” agreed Rizvi. And when the attackers get away with their crime so easily, it encourages them to repeat it while it gives others the impetus to do the same, he said.

With the breakdown of the state authority, hardline Islamic groups like Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and allies like the former SSP and Jaish-e-Muhammad can pursue their narrow religious-political agenda more boldly, said Rizvi.

With foreboding he said: “These trends are expected to continue. The frequency of killings will vary from time to time but it is not expected to end in the near future.”

Meanwhile there are reports that all government and private schools in G-B have been closed down for an indefinite period after Taliban announced attacks on Shia schools in Gilgit.

“Instead of making a strong policy against terrorists, government and security authorities seem to have bowed down to the threats of the terrorists,” it was reported in the Shiite News.

The author is a freelance journalist.

The killings of Shias is a rude wake-up call for the saner elements in our state and society



hatred
Destructive formula
The killings of Shias is a rude wake-up call for the saner
elements in our state and society
By Raza Rumi

The joke is that those who raise the slogan of Islam in the loudest voices have nothing to do with the philosophy of this religion... Apart from imperialism, no mention is ever made of Islam’s great humanism, nor is it considered necessary to speak about the open-heartedness of Arab seers, Iranian poets and Indian Sufis. There is no interest in the philosophy of Ali and Hussain. Islam is being presented as a violent religion and a violent way of life.” (Qurratlain Hyder, Aag Ka Darya, 1957)

On August 16, 2012, passenger buses headed towards Gilgit-Baltistan via the Mansehra-Naran-Jalkhad route were stopped by killers dressed in military uniforms, who undertook a witch hunt of Shia Muslims by putting them through a theological test. Later, the terrorists killed 21 Shias and 3 Sunnis who tried to protect the former. This was the second such incident on the highway — in February 2012, 19 Shias were murdered in broad daylight. Only this year, there have been dozens of attacks on the Shia population in Pakistan, and hundreds have been killed.

More recently, the Gilglit Baltistan and Balochistan have emerged as the hot spots for Shia hatred and killings. These are zones where governance is weak and new havens are being established for Sunni militant organisations that can launder the Taliban and Al Qaeda agenda of destabilising the country and cleansing it of non-Wahabi-Salafi influence.

The expansion of sectarian hatred has emerged as a major threat to peace and harmony in Pakistan. The denominational differences in Islam are not new. They have been there since the new faith spread from the seventh century onwards. Sects of Islam have always reinforced the pluralism of this faith and its ability to absorb myriad cultural nuances. From the spartan interpretations of the faith in the Arabian Peninsula to the eclectic Central Asian and Persian cultures, the core principles of Islam – equality, redistributive justice and focus on spirituality – have attracted a variety of groups and communities.

In South Asia, Islam arrived through the Sufis who were multicultural by birth and attitude. Sufis had their sectarian origins but they placed emphasis on the inherent cultural diversity of the subcontinent; instead of being exclusivist, they attempted to be as inclusive as possible. Most Sufi orders established in medieval India respected local traditions, folklore, languages and age-old belief systems. This is how the peculiar framework of a tolerant, secular local society emerged in South Asia. As court-based Ulema gained power and influence, there were communitarian and sectarian tensions, which usually come with the organised clergy.

The Shia and Sunni clerics opposed each other but kept the debates intellectual and theological. Manazara (a theological debate) was a popular instrument in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It would shock many Pakistanis to know that even Ahmadis (also termed pejoratively Qadianis) held manazaras with Sunni clerics and no one brandished each other as infidel or called for ‘cleansing’.

The contemporary notion of violence and hatred is a political phenomenon that has come through the manufactured majoritarian religious identity developed by the state. This is why there was an official dilemma, a schism, manifested at the time of the funeral prayers for Jinnah, the country’s founder. The latter had converted to Shia faith but, as a leader of the Sunnis, his funeral had to subscribe to the majority norm. The civil-military bureaucracy — devoid of a political and progressive vision for the postcolonial state — allied with the clerics and capitulated at every stage. In the 1960s, the funeral of Jinnah’s sister, also a democrat, Fatima Jinnah underwent similar trajectory. Khaled Ahmed has quoted Ayub Khan’s diaries in his seminal work on sectarianism. The lines from Ayub Khan are tragicomic as well as indicative of how early we had started to pander to exclusion of Shia identity in the public arena. Here is our ‘progressive’ dictator recording the account of Fatima Jinnah’s funeral:

“11 July 1967: Major General Rafi, my military secretary, returned from Karachi. He had gone there to represent me at Miss Jinnah’s funeral. He said that sensible people were happy that the government had given her so much recognition, but generally the people behaved very badly. There was an initial namaz-e janaza at her residence in Mohatta Palace in accordance, presumably, with Shia rites. Then there was to be namaz-e janaza for the public in the Polo Ground. There an argument developed whether this should be led by a Shia or a Sunni. Eventually, Badayuni was put forward to lead the prayer. As soon as he uttered the first sentence the crowd broke in the rear. Thereupon he and the rest ran leaving the coffin high and dry. It was with some difficulty that the coffin was put on a vehicle and taken to the compound of the Quaid’s mazar, where she was to be buried. There a large crowd had gathered and demanded to converge on the place of burial. This obviously could not be allowed for lack of space. Thereupon, the students and the goonda elements started pelting stones on the police. They had to resort to lathi charge and tear gas attack. The compound of the mazar was apparently littered with stones. Look at the irresponsibility of the people. Even a place like this could not be free of vandalism.”

While the Sunni state was tottering for creation of an identity, the real putsch came in the 1970s with the formal alliance that Bhutto made with the Arab world and its proxies, ie, the religious right. Thereafter when General Zia contracted with the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia. There were a mix of factors: petrodollars, migration of Pakistani workers, vague notions of an Ummah (dominated by Saudi and Pakistani muscle), and later, the clear-cut alignment with US strategic interests in South West Asia.

Saudi money started to shape a new Pakistan: an influential madrassa network which followed the ‘Ahl-e-Hadith’ interpretation of Islam closely tied in with the puritanical Wahabbi stream of Islam defined by the House of Saud to control the Arabian Peninsula and deny the Shia populations their voice and status in most of the Gulf belt. The introduction of mandatory Zakat collection and the promotion of Deobandi groups for jihadi purposes became state policies. To counter the evil Soviet Union was a collective project of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia with US money and shortsighted objectives in the region. Today, the US cries foul of Islamic jihad, conveniently forgetting that decades of investment have created ‘demand’ for jihad as well.

This is why known clerics and ‘scholars’ such as Dr Israr Ahmad received state patronage. Their Shia hating views were well known, and state-run television gave them ample space, and the vernacular press articulated their version of Islam spreading hatred across all strata of society. Pakistan’s civil military bureaucracy prayed on Fridays under the leadership of Dr Israr who married his daughter in Muharram (month of mourning) to undermine the Shia religio-cultural practices. It is another matter that Pakistan’s inherent pluralism, which is centuries’ old, continues to resist this top-down project of the state.

But this ‘Sunnification’ project is now an existential danger for Pakistan. Despite the limitations of PEW polls, their new survey shows that nearly half of Pakistanis do not consider Shias as ‘true Muslims’. Hate literature is found everywhere, printed in thousands, and the Internet is the new bastion of religious extremism. On Youtube alone, thousands of videos calling and rationalising Shias as infidels can be found.

The top down sectarian hatred for Shias has been institutionalised through the formation and rise of anti-Shia militant organisations such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), or its ‘sanitised’ version Ahl-e-Sunnat-wal-Jamaat (ASWJ), all of whom have played havoc with the social fabric of the country, especially in the Punjab province. Reports suggest that they are in league with the anti-state Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Others have warned that this is the way Al Qaeda is operating in Pakistan. Thus the state and society of Pakistan are under severe threat. Ayaz Amir (The scope and tapestry of religious extremism, The News August 24, 2012) has put it plainly:

“North Waziristan extremism has ideological sympathisers, sleeper cells and a support network, a mosque support network, running from one end of Pakistan to the other. And it is thriving in an atmosphere of radicalisation marked by such incidents as the killing of Shias in Quetta, the murder of Shias in Kohistan... When the next bunch of Shias is murdered we read it as a newspaper item and shrug our shoulders and carry on as usual. And the call to prayers is sounded and it makes not the slightest difference to our collective conduct.”

Across the spectrum, Pakistan’s sane voices are calling for urgent attention of the state. But the politicians are scared of the power of Sunni extremists, as well as of their historical links with the intelligence agencies. The law enforcement agencies as a subset of the larger society are not free of radicalization either. The police recruitment and training methods are antiquated and do not have adequate focus on human rights’ protection. The prosecutors are in short supply and insecure to take a stance. Worse, the judges have also been cowed down by the might of these agencies. Some say that they also espouse the majoritarian [Sunni] Islamic identity. And the armed forces, never shy of advocacy on US Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill, have nothing to say on the murder of their fellow citizens whose security is their professional duty. We are faced with an onslaught of silence, inaction and policy paralysis.

Pakistan has to protect its Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It has a Constitution, which needs to be upheld by all institutions of the state. Most importantly three areas of reform are critical: First, beefing up and re-educating the law enforcement agencies and giving protection to witnesses, prosecutors and judges who handle sectarian cases. Second, urgent measures to regulate the check the growth of hate industry, which should be unacceptable in a plural country like Pakistan. For this purpose, publications need to be screened and the seminaries’ curricula have to be regulated. Lastly, a comprehensive policy review by the military and civilian authorities that far from being the assets, the Sunni extremist organisations are now sources of social instability and can accelerate state collapse. Surely this is not what the ruling elites want unless they are on a suicidal path.

The writer is Director Policy & Programs at Jinnah Institute in Islamabad. The views expressed are his own. His writings are archived at www.razarumi.com



A few headlines this year say it all

January 13: Shia man shot dead in Karachi

January 15: Blast in Khanpur Shia Procession killing 18

January 25: Three Shia lawyers killed in Karachi

January 25: Three Shias shot dead in Quetta

January 27: Former Imambargah trustee killed in Karachi

January 30: Fast food outlet manager killed in sectarian clash in Karachi

February 6: Sectarian Clash resulting in 14 injured in Mansehra

February 16: Sectarian attack leaves one dead in Karachi

February 17: 29 Shias killed in Kurram

February 17: Sectarian attack claims two more lives in Karachi

February 28: 18 Shias shot dead in Kohistan

March 2: Suicide attack at valley’s mosque in Khyber Agency kills 23

March 12: Passenger van attacked in Kurram killing two

March 15: Jafferia Alliance leader injured, son killed in Karachi attack

March 18: Shia leader and member of peace committee gunned down in Hangu

March 24: Shia lawyer gunned down in Karachi

March 29: Seven Shias killed in Balochistan

April 3: Sectarian unrest boils over in Gilgit-Baltistan, after 16 were killed

April 3: Two people shot dead in sectarian violence in Quetta

April 9: Six Hazaras killed in Quetta sectarian attack

April 12: Three more Hazaras shot dead in Quetta

April 14: Eight more Shias gunned down in Quetta

April 16: Hazara Shias attacked in Quetta

April 21: Two more Hazaras killed in Quetta

April 22: Hazara man shot at, injured in Quetta

May 6: Shia passenger coach attacked in Kurram

May 6: Hazara man killed in Balochistan

May 15: Hazara Brothers killed in sectarian attack in Quetta

May 17: Two Shia policemen killed in Quetta

May 24: Member of Hazara community killed in Balochistan

May 28: Three Shias killed in Kurram bus attack

May 30: Another Hazara killed in Quetta

May 30: Two Shias shot dead in Karachi Violence

June 3: Four Shias gunned down in Quetta

June 18: Five Shia students killed in Quetta bus blast

June 28: Suicide attack on Shias kills 14

June 28: 60 Hazaras fall victim to terrorism this year

July 4: Senior government official, two others killed near Quetta

July 11: Bodies of two kidnapped Shias found in Quetta

July 17: Unidentified men torch three vehicles in Shia Action committee rally in Karachi

August 16: 25 Shias pulled off buses, executed in Kohistan

August 17: Shia bus attacked in Karachi killing two, wounding 18

August 21: Shia killings continue in Gilgit- Baltistan, two killed

Firing on taxi on Spini Road, Quetta 27-August 2012.

کوئٹہ: اسپنی روڈ پر فائرنگ، 3 افراد جاں بحق، 2 زخمی ہوگئے



کوئٹہ(جیوڈیسک)کوئٹہ میں ٹارگٹ کلنگ کے تازہ واقعے میں ہزارہ کمیونٹی کے تین افراد کو قتل کر دیا گیا جبکہ 2 افراد زخمی بھی ہیں۔

ہزارہ کمیونٹی سے تعلق رکھنے والے افراد مصطفی ، ضامن اور محمد علی ٹیکسی پر عمل دار روڈ کی طرف جا رہے تھے کہ اسپینی روڈ پر نامعلوم افراد نے ان پر فائرنگ کردی جس سے تینوں موقع پر ہی دم توڑ گئے۔ پولیس کے مطابق فائرنگ سے دو افراد زخمی بھی ہوگئے ۔ انہیں بولان میڈیکل اسپتال داخل کرایا گیا تاہم حالت زیادہ خراب ہونے پر انہیں سی ایم ایچ منتقل کر 
دیا گیا ہے۔ ہزارہ ڈیموکریٹک پارٹی نے واقعے کے خلاف شدید احتجاج کیا ہے۔

Gunmen kill three Hazara Shias in southwest Pakistan

Press Trust of India / Islamabad August 27, 2012, 16:05

Three Hazara Shia men were killed and two others injured when gunmen opened fire at a taxi on a busy thoroughfare in southwest Pakistan's Quetta city today, police said.

Two gunmen, who were riding a motorcycle, fired indiscriminately at the taxi on Spini Road on the outskirt of Quetta, police said, adding three men were killed instantly.

The injured men were taken to the nearby Bolan Medical Hospital.

The gunmen escaped after the shooting.

Police officials and witnesses said all the victims were Hazara Shias.

The incident created tension in the area. The Hazara Democratic Party strongly condemned the attack.

Quetta and its surrounding areas have witnessed a series of attacks on Hazara Shias. Dozens of members of the minority community have died in these attacks.

The banned Lashkar-e-Jhanvi have been blamed for most of the attacks.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Global Voices | The Boy Mir | Video Extra | ITVS

میں سچا مسلمان کیسے بنوں



آخری وقت اشاعت:  اتوار 26 اگست 2012 ,‭ 03:56 GMT 08:56 
ایک سنی دیوبندی گھرانے میں پیدا ہونے والا وسعت اللہ خان خود کو ایک اچھا مسلمان ثابت کرنے کے لئے کہاں تک جائے، کیا کرے ؟؟؟
شاید شیعوں کو مارنے سے میرا کام نہیں چلے گا۔ شائد اور بہت کچھ کرنا پڑے گا۔
تو کیا بو علی سینا کی قبر پر جا کے تھوک دوں؟
بابائے الجبرا الخوارزمی کے فارمولے جلا دوں؟
بابائے کیمیا جابر بن حیان کی ہڈیاں زمین سے نکال لوں؟
بابائے فلکیات البیرونی کے مزار کو آگ لگادوں؟
مورخ المسعودی کی تاریخِ اسلام حرام سمجھ لوں؟
حضرت معروف ِ کرخی کے تصوف، ملا صدرا کے نظریہِ وجودیت اور سیّد علی ہمدانی کی تبلیغ کو شرک کے خانےمیں رکھ دوں؟
عمرِ خیام کی رباعیات چھلنی کر دوں؟
شاہ نامہ والے فردوسی کا تہران یونیورسٹی میں لگا مجسمہ گرا دوں؟
ڈاکٹر علی شریعتی کو مرتد مان لوں؟
"ایوب خان نے ایک سنی اکثریتی نظریاتی ملک کی حسّاس فوجی قیادت اور پینسٹھ کی جنگ لڑنے کی ذمہ داری بھی ایک ہزارہ شیعہ جنرل موسی کے حوالے کردی۔"
جو بھی قلی قطب شاہ، میر، غالب، انیس، دبیر، اکبر الہ آبادی، جوش، علی سردار جعفری، کیفی اعظمی اور جون ایلیا کے شعر پڑھے، پڑھائے یا حوالہ دے، کیا اس کا منہ نوچ لوں؟
اردو کا سب سے بڑا ناول آگ کا دریا، دریا برد کردوں؟ خاک اچھا ہوگا ایسا ناول جسے قرت العین جیسی شیعہ نے لکھا ہو۔
اور صادقین نامی شیعہ کی قرانی کیلی گرافی کسی تہہ خانے میں چھپا دوں؟
کیا جہانگیر کی ایرانی محبوبہ نور جہاں کو بھی ذہن سے مٹا دوں؟
تاج محل کو ڈائنامائیٹ لگا دوں جس میں سنی شاہ جہاں کی شیعہ اہلیہ ممتاز محل سو رہی ہے؟
نادر شاہ کا تذکرہ صفحات سے کیسے کھرچوں؟
بتائیے حیدر علی شیعہ اور شیر کی ایک دن کی زندگی گیدڑ کی سو سالہ زندگی سے بہتر ہے والے فتح علی ٹیپو سلطان کے ساتھ کیا کروں؟
جنگِ آزادی کی ہیروئن بیگم حضرت محل کا تذکرہ کہاں لے جاؤں؟
جس شخص کو بانیِ پاکستان کہا جاتا ہے اس پر سے شیعت کا دھبہ کیسے مٹاؤں؟ اسے تو غالباً سنی علامہ اقبال نے ضد کرکے انگلستان سے بلوایا تھا نا۔
اور یہ راجہ صاحب محمود آباد اپنی شیعت بھول بھال کر پاکستان کی نوزائیدہ مملکت پر دامے درمے کیوں قربان ہوگئے۔ شاید وہ پاکستان کو شیعہ ریاست بنانا چاہتے تھے ۔تبھی تو !!!!
اور ایوب خان کو کسی راسخ العقیدہ نے بروقت کیوں مشورہ نہیں دیا کہ ایک سنی اکثریتی نظریاتی ملک کی حسّاس فوجی قیادت ایک ہزارہ شیعہ جنرل موسی کے حوالے نا کرے۔ اور دیکھو ایوب خان نے مزید کیا غضب کیا کہ پینسٹھ کی جنگ لڑنے کی ذمہ داری بھی جنرل موسی کو تھما دی۔
اور سادہ لوح سنیوں نے یہ کیا کیا کہ ذوالفقار علی بھٹو کو کندھے پر اٹھا لیا۔ کیا انہیں کسی نے نہیں بتایا کہ وہ شیعہ ہے اور سینہ زوری دیکھو کہ خبردار کرنے کے باوجود بھی اس کی بیٹی کو دو دفعہ وزیرِ اعظم بنا لیا ؟؟؟
"آخر کس نے کیپٹن حسن، صوبیدار میجر بابر اور ان کے ساتھیوں کو کہا تھا کہ خود ہی بندوق اٹھا لیں، خود ہی کشمیر کی ڈوگرہ حکومت کی غلامی کندھوں سے اتار پھینکیں اور آزادی کمانے کے لگ بھگ بیس روز بعد ہی پاکستان سے آئے ہوئے پہلے پولٹیکل ایجنٹ کو سیلوٹ مار کےگلگت بلتستان کی چابیاں اس کے حوالے کردیں۔"
شاید گلگت اور بلتستان کے شیعوں کو بالکل ٹھیک سزا مل رہی ہے۔ آخر کس نے کیپٹن حسن، صوبیدار میجر بابر اور ان کے ساتھیوں کو کہا تھا کہ خود ہی بندوق اٹھا لیں، خود ہی کشمیر کی ڈوگرہ حکومت کی غلامی کندھوں سے اتار پھینکیں اور آزادی کمانے کے لگ بھگ بیس روز بعد ہی پاکستان سے آئے ہوئے پہلے پولٹیکل ایجنٹ کو سیلوٹ مار کےگلگت بلتستان کی چابیاں اس کے حوالے کردیں۔ آج بھی ان کی نسلیں اس پر اتراتی ہیں کہ باقی پاکستان تو میز پر بنا۔ ہم نے اپنا حصہ بندوق سے آزاد کروایا۔ مگر ان نسلوں کو اتنی عقل نہیں ہے کہ قومی شناختی کارڈ پر اپنا نام ہی تبدیل کروالیں۔
اور یہ نگر اور ہنزہ کی اسماعیلی شیعہ ریاستیں کس برتے پر پاکستان میں مدغم ہو گئیں؟
جانے کیا سوچ کر حوالدار لالک جان انیس سو ننانوے میں کارگل کی چوٹیوں پر جان دے کر نشانِ حیدر والوں کی صف میں شامل ہوگیا۔ تو کیا میں یہ مطالبہ کردوں کہ اس شیعہ سے نشانِ حیدر واپس لیا جائے اور اسے شہید نا کہا جائے اور یہ نشانِ حیدر کس نے نام رکھا؟ کیا پاکستان کے اعلی ترین فوجی اعزاز کا نام نشانِ صحابہ، نشانِ جھنگوی، نشانِ جیش، نشانِ طالب یا نشانِ قاعدہ رکھتے ہوئے ہتک محسوس ہوتی ہے ؟؟؟
مجھے پانچ سال کی عمر میں انگلی پکڑ کے اے بی سی ڈی سے متعارف کرانے والے استاد کے سنگِ مزار پر سے حمید حسن نقوی کا نام کھرچوا کے دلاور خان یا خورشید صدیقی یا اسلم فاروقی یا بابر بلوچ یا پھر بھگوان داس لکھوانے سے کیا کام چل جائے گا ؟؟؟؟
بتائیے نا! آخر کیا کروں خود کو ایک اچھا سچا مسلمان ثابت کرنے کے لئے ؟؟؟؟

Taliban's pledge to kill Kiwis 'propaganda' - Minister

Published: 2:38PM Sunday August 26, 2012 Source: ONE News


Taliban fighters in Pakistan - Source: Reuters

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Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says a statement by the Taliban that they will find and kill New Zealand soldiers is propaganda.

Following the deaths of five New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan's Bamiyan province this month, a Taliban spokesman reportedly told a Herald on Sunday correspondent, "We will find them and kill them. There's no safety for them."

Coleman told TVNZ's Q+A this morning there was an insurgency and it had become more dangerous in the north-east of Bamiyan province over time.

"But at the same time, the second point is, there is a war of words and propaganda. And naturally the Taliban would want to unsettle the public and the Government of New Zealand with statements like this," Coleman said.

"So we know that it has become more dangerous in that part of the [Bamiyan] province. But, look, this is what's happening across Afghanistan every day. This is just a usual day in Afghanistan."

Coleman said the Government is determined to "stick to the course" in Afghanistan "because we just can't cut and run and lose the gains that New Zealand's made there over a decade".

He said: "So while it's very sad, it's very tragic, and of course it's a very disturbing series of events, it doesn't deflect us from our path in Bamiyan. That remains unchanged."

New Zealand troops 'not specifically' targeted.

However, Otago University lecturer Dr Najibullah Lafraie, who a minister in the Afghan government before the Taliban took over in 1996, believed Kiwi troops were not being directly targeted.
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But Lafraie told Q+A that does not mean there would not be more Kiwi casualties in Afghanistan.

"It seems the Taliban have found a way to penetrate into Bamiyan. So that there's more danger and more risk to the lives of Kiwi Soldiers," he said.

"I don't think that it's specifically about Bamiyan or specifically against New Zealand troops. They see all the foreign troops as invaders and take action wherever and whenever they can."

Lafraie said people had misconceptions about the Taliban and they would be watching the reaction of the New Zealand Government following the deaths of Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, Private Richard Harris and Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone.

"We think that the Taliban are just a bunch of traditional, uneducated youth and they don't know anything about what's going on in the world. But that is not the case," Lafraie said.

"The sophistication is there and they are following the news. And certainly they take note of what's going on and what the politicians say."

New Zealand's Provincial Reconstruction Team has been in Bamiyan since 2003.

Lafraie said while the work they had done in the region had helped locals, they would not come home with a legacy of helping Afghanistan.

"Unfortunately, that is the case, because Bamiyan, being an isolated place and the level of activity going on there, the impact on the overall situation is almost negligible," he said.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

UN decides to observe Balochistan situation

South Asian News Agency (SANA) ⋅ August 25, 2012 ⋅

ISLAMABAD, (SANA): United Nations has decided to send a delegation to Pakistan for reviewing the situation in Balochistan. Foreign office has been informed in this regard.

The UN authorities has written a letter to foreign ministry mentioning that seven-member US delegation would visit Pakistan from September 10 to 20 to review the situation in Balochisatan.

The UN delegation would visit Quetta, Karachi, Peshawar and Islamabad. Members of the UN delegation would also hold meetings with Prime Minister, interior Minister and the provincial authorities.
Ends-SANA-AK-AA

Controlling extremism

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dunya @ 8 with Malick -- Khaliq Hazara on Hazara Massacre 22nd August 2012 - p1

Body of little girl found in Quetta

Thursday, August 23, 2012
From Print Edition

QUETTA: The Police found a body of an eight-year-old girl from Karani road area of the provincial capital.

Police said that it received information about the body of a little girl in a garden on Karani road. The police took the body into custody and shifted it to hospital morgue for identification. Further investigation is underway.

Quetta as it used to be


Thursday, August 23, 2012 
From Print Edition

It is depressing to read accounts of what Quetta was once like as a city. In the past, people thronged to its cinemas, wandered through the bazaars without fear, dined out, attended parties and children played safely on the streets. The city was a much-loved home to the generations who grew up there as well as a cool oasis for holiday-makers from other parts of the country escaping the summer heat. But that was before strife and trouble hit the once-tranquil city. Balochistan’s capital has today changed beyond recognition. Bomb blasts and incidents of ethnic and sectarian violence are reported almost every day, with check-posts, bunkers and road blocks now ubiquitous. The latest incident of violence took place on Eid, killing one and wounding eight when a vehicle belonging to the security forces was targeted. There have been numerous similar attacks as well as others based on sectarian or ethnic motives. In targeted killings, teachers have been shot dead and abductions and disappearances have become a regular affair. The people of Quetta and many other parts of the province now live in a state of perpetual fear and avoid going out after dark. There is simply no law and order and no sense of security.

As a result of all this, settlers from other provinces who have lived in Balochistan for generations have been forced to pack their belongings and leave. The Hazara community of the city feel equally insecure given the chilling frequency of attacks on them. In desperation, many have restricted their movements and others have made attempts to leave the country. Little heed has been paid to their protests by the authorities. Many Baloch young men, meanwhile, continue to live in the fear of being abducted and joining the ranks of ‘missing persons’. In these circumstances, it is almost impossible to believe that Quetta was once a place of joy and calm. Old pictures from more peaceful times now seem difficult to recognise. Certainly, the generation that has grown up in the Quetta of today find it difficult to even relate to such happier times. Can anything be done to halt this slide of a once-graceful city towards anarchy? Is it already too late for the provincial government to wake up from its deep slumber and accept its responsibility of protecting the people? Do the top political leaders of the country really understand what is happening and what their role is in stopping it? The Supreme Court continues its efforts to persuade the authorities to impose some kind of order in Balochistan. But the task, given the callous and indifferent attitude of those responsible for maintaining law and order, appears to be beyond the court’s abilities. The future of our largest province is shrouded in deep uncertainty and it falls upon all of us to try and find solutions before it is too late.

Dunya @8 with Malick - 22August 2012 - Hazaras massacre in Quetta, Pakistan

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Leaving is better than staying to face death

August 20, 2012

Muhammad Khani

I want to talk about my people, the Hazara people. The emigration of Hazara people started about 200 years ago. In the 1890s, the British-backed Amir of Afghanistan, Abdur Rahman Khan, killed 64 per cent of Hazaras, by some accounts, because they were Shiite Muslim and had different faces from those of other nations in Afghanistan.

The Taliban regime also killed many Hazaras for the same reason. After they captured the town of Mazar-e-Sharif in 1998, the Taliban killed 4000 ordinary Hazara villagers in one day.

Under the current President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, it is still going on. One example is the suicide bomb attacks on the Ashura [day of mourning] commemoration in 2011, which killed 150 Hazara Shiites in Kabul.

Because of these problems, people have long emigrated to a safer place.
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At first they emigrated to Iran and Pakistan. But in Iran they have never been accepted. In Pakistan, every day, the Sunni militant organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi kills Hazara Shiite Muslims for the same reasons we have always been killed.

Just last week, two innocent 10-year-old boys were killed, and on Thursday three more people were killed.

When Hazara people hear about Australia - that they accept asylum seekers - they become happy that we have found a safe place to live.

Many Hazara people have been to [the United Nations' refugee agency] UNHCR offices but got no response from anyone. After that, people started to reach Australia illegally. It was a great source of hope for them to get there.

Afghanistan's situation is getting worse every day. The government does not have any control during the night outside of the capital, Kabul - so just think about what the situation is in other cities.

Democracy in Afghanistan exists only on paper. Nothing more. No one obeys even the simple rules of democratic government.

When NATO's army said it would be leaving Afghanistan in 2014, everything in Afghanistan stopped. People don't build anything any more and are sending their money out of the country. Most think the Taliban will come back after NATO troops leave.

In my case, I had two choices - one bad and one worse. The worse way was to stay there and uselessly die. The bad way was to find a safe place in Australia. If I had any other choice, I would never come in this way.

I want to say to Australians that we are seeking justice and safety. We need help. We are human and we want the rights of human beings.

The feeling of being targeted by your enemy, who will kill you, is very hard to describe. That is what forced me to select this risky way out.

Muhammad Khani, 22, is an electrician from Afghanistan who has left to come to Australia. He is waiting in the Indonesian town of Cisarua for a boat to take him to Christmas Island. He says he will come, despite the federal government's harsh new laws, because he has no choice.

SMH

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Shia killings on the rise

From the Newspaper |

Thursday’s execution-style killing of Shia citizens in Mansehra district and the killing of Hazaras in Quetta were only the latest incidents in what is now a clear trend: targeting innocent members of the sect — not necessarily members of any political or religious organisation — and killing them for no reason other than their religious affiliation. The Mansehra attack had a particularly disturbing aspect to it, with passengers made to show their identity papers and those suspected of beingShia, on the basis of their names or tribal affiliations, being picked out and killed. Like other recent sectarian killings in Balochistan, Kohistan and Orakzai, the approach used resembled ethnic cleansing in its chilling focus on identifying and killing innocent citizens simply because of their membership to a particular community. And while the Hazara community under attack in Balochistan is relatively small and powerless, the same is not true of Shia communities elsewhere in the country. If not arrested, this trend could well spiral out of control, turning the issue into a much larger conflict.

Meanwhile, where is the outrage from the security forces and politicians? We know these groups are willing to launch aggressive messaging campaigns when they wish to. Take, for example, the army’s response to Salala, the PML-N’s reaction to the government’s refusal to write the ‘Swiss letter’, the ruling party’s defensive posture on threats to democracy or the PTI’s campaign against drone strikes. And while it is unclear what judicial activism can achieve in such cases beyond raising their profile, where is the judiciary that otherwise takes suo moto notice of everything from the price of sugar to violence in Karachi? As each of these groups tries to focus on topics they think will boost their populist or nationalist credentials, the campaign to eradicate a minority community continues to receive less official attention than it should.

Beyond the messaging failure, little appears to have been done to confront the physical danger. Providing security escorts to pilgrims’ buses and changing the routes Shia travellers take has not been enough. Whether combating the problem is a matter of improving intelligence-gathering to prevent attacks, pre-emptively going after the groups that are carrying them out, improving policing in vulnerable areas or other intelligence or security measures, further delays are inexcusable. The state needs to demonstrate what it is doing to combat this threat. If not, Pakistan may as well give up any pretence of being a state for anyone other than its majority religious community.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sectarian scourge

Editorial

Saturday, August 18, 2012
From Print Edition

Thursday morning’s brutal sectarian massacre of 22 passengers travelling through the Babusar Top area of Mansehra district was a bloody iteration of a chilling pattern of attacks against religious minorities, including members of Muslim minority sects. In the early hours of the morning, terrorists ambushed four buses, hauled off passengers, checked their national identity cards and summarily executed the Shias. A spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the killings. While there was legitimate outrage across the country over Thursday’s Kamra airbase attack and the subsequent loss of lives and damage to national assets, the slaughter of innocent civilians belonging to the Shia community was not met with quite the same amount of indignation. In fact, if the past is a benchmark, the 22 victims of Babusar Top will have died as insignificantly as they had lived, with no one held responsible or answerable for their deaths. In a state where the concept of national security does not yet incorporate the crucial element of human security, the symbols of state authority seem to matter more than the citizens whose protection and well-being constitutes the very raison d’être of the state. Thus, while the airbase attack unleashed a debate about the militants’ determination to target Pakistan’s most sensitive installations and raised questions about their safety, the more elemental questions were lost in the cacophony: are Pakistan’s citizens safe? Can Pakistan protect its minorities? Is any part of Pakistan free from the scourge of sectarian terror?
As things stand, this is the third attack this year that has specifically targeted Shias on buses. Meanwhile, Hazara Shias are routinely murdered in Balochistan, including the three more killed on Thursday, while sectarian violence has become a regular feature of life in Mansehra District, Kurram Agency, Dera Ismail Khan as well as south and central Punjab. The country’s financial hub of Karachi too has witnessed more than its fair share of sectarian attacks in recent days, with a blast near a bus carrying Shias to a rally on Friday killing at least one. The thick sectarian tide in the overall wave of militancy sweeping Pakistan can be explained by the fact that sectarian groups here have linked up ideologically with global jihadism. Overtly sectarian and jihadi elements are also increasingly seen occupying the same stage as mainstream religious parties. Meanwhile, those behind repeated acts of violence - such as the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi - are rarely caught or punished. Indeed, killing minorities in Pakistan seems to have become fair game while those responsible for securing citizens remain helpless, leaving minority communities to believe the security establishment is protecting the perpetrators. The mysterious escape of the local head of the LeJ, Usman Saifullah, and a key leader, Shafiq Rind, from a very well guarded Anti-Terrorist Force jail in Quetta Cantonment, is a case in point. A deadly pattern is emerging: terrorists are on a murderous rampage against Pakistan’s minority sects while the authorities have failed to prove themselves capable of taking them on. Virtually all terrorist outfits operating in Pakistan have donned the religious cloak. It is this criminal abuse of religion that the state must check against. And yet, the state is doing nothing to identify, capture, prosecute and punish those involved in sectarian terrorism. Thus, the scandal here is not just that Shia after Shia is being killed; it is that the state has become a silent onlooker in the massacre. Flaccid behaviour is too often empowering for a cunning enemy. Today, this logic is creating a dangerous moment in Pakistan where those on a killing spree are asserting themselves for little reason beyond the conviction that they can, while those who can stop them do nothing. In Pakistan, the triumph of evil may have become more and more possible under a silent, impotent state emasculated by religious extremists.

Ban Ki-moon condemns Shias killings in Pakistan



Pakistani's shift the dead body of a Shia Muslim at a hospital in Ghari Hbibullah in the northwestern district of Mansehra, August 16, 2012.

Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:14AM GMT

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the killing of 20 Shia Muslims in a bus attack in northern Pakistan.

In a released statement on Thursday, Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said the UN leader slammed the "appalling" attack.

"The secretary general expresses his outrage over such deliberate attacks on people due to their religious beliefs in Pakistan," said the statement. "He also extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the government and people of Pakistan."

Gunmen dragged the Shia passengers off a bus in the northwestern district of Mansehra on Thursday and killed them at point blank range. Several others were injured during the attack. The victims were going from Rawalpindi to Gilgit -- a heavily-Shia-populated area.

Meanwhile, on the same day at least three more Shia Muslims were killed by gunmen in the city of Quetta in the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan.

Following the attack, hundreds of Pakistani people took to the streets in the southern city of Karachi to protest against the killings of Shia Muslims.

Hundreds of Shia Muslims have been killed in various parts of the violence-hit country over the past few months.

MSH/HMV/MA

Sectarian killings, Kamra attack prove Taliban are nobody's friend: HRCP

By PPI
Published: August 17, 2012


Recent Shia killings underline the dangers faced by this minority in Pakistan: HRCP PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: Condemning the killing of around 25 Shias in Mansehra and three in Quetta, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Friday demanded the concerned authorities to explain their lack of control over the situation.

On August 16, gunmen dragged Shia travellers off buses en route to Rawalpindi from Gilgit and killed them at point blank range.

According to a HRCP statement, the authorities owe an explanation to the people for their inability to crack down on sectarian killers and for their failure in protecting the lives of the citizens.

“HRCP would like to know what words of solace and reassurance the government can offer to the families of the victims and members of a community that is increasingly certain that terrorists get support from within the security agencies,” the statement said.

Drawing similarities between the Shia killings in Gilgit Baltistan and in Kohistan in February, the human rights body stated that the buses were stopped on a main road by men in military uniforms, Shia passengers were separated from the rest and executed.

Equally denouncing the killing of three men belonging to the Hazara community in Quetta on the same day, HRCP stated the events underlined the dangers faced by Shias in Pakistan.

HRCP said that the terrorists managed to strike again only because there were not tracked down after the earlier killings in Kohistan and Quetta.

“The sectarian killings and Kamra attack prove that the Taliban were nobody’s friends and those who had created them, had taken Pakistan down the road of annihilation,” the HRCP stated.

HRCP condemns Shia killings

Saturday, August 18, 2012

LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Friday condemned Thursday’s killing of 25 Shias from Gilgit-Baltistan and target killing of another three Shias in Quetta. In a meeting, the commission said, “The HRCP is appalled that terrorists have once again succeeded in targeting without any difficulty Shia Muslims on their way to Gilgit-Baltistan.

Thursday’s attack was similar to the one carried out in Kohistan in February in more than one respect. Again men in military uniforms stopped buses on a main road. Shia passengers were separated from the rest and executed. Many transporters had started using the Mansehra-Naran-Jalkhad route instead of the Karakoram Highway after the February killings, from

which the region had yet to recover. Thursday’s attack occurred on this changed route.” HRCP also said, “Other than claims of responsibility made by Taliban or other groups of extremist militants, the authorities appear to be clueless about who the attackers were or how to stop them. Killing

of three men belonging to Quetta’s long suffering Hazara Shia community on Thursday further underlined the hazards that Shia Muslims face in Pakistan. Such targeted killing of people because of their religious beliefs is unfortunately no longer an anomaly in Pakistan. Those keen on creating new minorities in Pakistan have made sure of that. However, HRCP

has no hesitation in stating that the terrorists managed to strike on Thursday only because those behind earlier target killings in Kohistan and Quetta had not been tracked down. The killings are doubtless the work of those who want to destroy Pakistan, but a failure to nab and punish the

killers is also contributing to the same end.” The commission said, “The attack on Kamra airbase on the same day provided evidence. If further evidence was needed that Taliban were nobody’s friends and those who had created this monster had taken Pakistan down the road of annihilation. The authorities owe an explanation to the people for their inability to crack down on sectarian killers.” staff report

From Mariabad to Harvard University






It is a feel good story. A student from an underdeveloped town in Baluchistan, Mariabad, attends Harvard University for his MBA and now pursues his PhD from USC. Maria Waqar shares his story in Tribune.

Like most poor people, their aspirations rarely go beyond sustaining themselves in this underdeveloped nook of Balochistan. Many of them live and die in Mariabad (or Maree Abad) — unaware of the complex concerns and tremendous pace of life in urban centres like Karachi and Lahore.

But one student — the son of a trader who sold Quaid-e-Azam style caps in Mariabad for a living — dared to tread a radically different path. Karrar Hussain Jaffar transcended the confines of an obscure town in Balochistan, where people rarely educate themselves beyond matriculation, to study at the prestigious Harvard University. His story — a narrative about the wondrous possibilities of equal educational opportunities — is truly inspirational....continue Reading....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Three more Hazaras killed in Quetta

our correspondent
Friday, August 17, 2012
From Print Edition



QUETTA: In a fresh wave of target killings, three persons were killed in the provincial capital after unknown armed men attacked an auto-rickshaw at the Arbab Karam Khan Road on Thursday.

Police said unidentified armed men, riding a motorcycle, attacked an auto-rickshaw in which three persons were travelling from the Quetta city to Hazara Town. The attackers opened indiscriminate fire from automatic weapons, killing all of them. The victims belonged to the Hazara community. The deceased were identified as Ghulam Husain, Abdul Ali and the rickshaw driver Qurban Ali. The armed men made their escape from the scene.

Officials of police and rescue teams reached the spot on information and shifted the bodies to the Civil Hospital. The people from Hazara community thronged the hospital, staged protest and demanded of the government to step down, saying the incident proved a failure of the government.

Moving scenes were witnessed in the hospital when bodies of the deceased were being handed over to the heirs.Meanwhile, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) strongly condemned the killings and held the provincial government responsible for the deaths.

A spokesman for the PkMAP said in a statement issued to the press that target killings, terrorism, kidnapping for ransom had become a matter of routine in Balochistan, while the government was oblivious of the gravity of the situation.

He observed that the government had failed in providing security to citizens and demanded of the government to step down in the larger interest of the province.APP adds: The police, soon after the incident, cordoned off the entire area and started a search operation.

Three gunned down in Quetta

Agencies


Police sources said that it appeared that these were targeted killings.—File Photo

QUETTA: As many as three persons have been killed in an incident of firing in Balochistan’s provincial capital of Quetta on Thursday.

Gunmen on a motorcycle pulled three people from a rickshaw and opened fire on them.

“Unknown armed men riding bike opened fire on a vehicle at Arbab Karam Khan road area, leaving three person in the vehicle seriously injured,” police said adding that the wounded succumbed to their injuries on way to the hospital.

Nobody immediately claimed the responsibility for the killings which took place at Arbab Karam Khan Road, a middle-class neighbourhood of Quetta, said police official Noor Baksh.

Police sources said that it appeared that these were targeted killings.

کوئٹہ: ارباب کرم خان روڈ پر فائرنگ، 3 افراد جاں بحق


August 16, 2012 - Updated 1730 PKT

کوئٹہ … کوئٹہ میں نامعلوم افراد کی فائرنگ سے 3 افراد جاں بحق ہوگئے۔ ذرائع کے مطابق کوئٹہ کے علاقے ارباب کرم خان روڈ پر نامعلوم افراد نے فائرنگ کردی جس کے نتیجے میں 3 افرا جاں بحق ہوگئے۔ واقعے کے بعد پولیس اور امدادی ٹیمیں 
جائے وقوعہ پر پہنچ گئیں۔امدادی کارروائیاں شرو ع کردی گئیں ہیں جبکہ پولیس واقعے سے متعلق تفتیش کررہی ہے

Geo  TV


کوئٹہ میں نامعلوم افراد نے تین افراد کو رکشے سے اتار کر قتل کردیا اور فرار ہوگئے۔

پولیس کے مطابق ارباب کرم خان روڈ پر فاروق ملز کے قریب موٹر سائیکل سوار نامعلوم افراد نے ایک رکشہ کو اسلحہ کے زور پر روکا اور اس میں سوار تین افراد کو اتار کر ان پر اندھا دھند فائرنگ کردی جس کے نتیجے میں تینوں افراد موقع پر ہی جاں بحق ہوگئے ۔ ملزمان واردات کے بعد فرار ہوگئے ۔ عینی شاہدین کے مطابق مقتولین کی لاشیں پولیس کے آنے تک سڑک پر پڑی رہیں ، پولیس نے موقع پر پہنچ کر لاشوں کو سول اسپتال منتقل کیا جہاں دو افراد کی شناخت خادم حسین اور عبدال علی کے نام سے ہوگئی۔ پولیس کے مطابق جاں بحق افراد کا تعلق ہزارہ قبیلے سے ہے اور واقعہ ٹارگٹ کلنگ کا نتیجہ ہے ۔