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.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pakistan's under-fire Hazaras vow to make votes count

Agence France-PresseMay 7, 2013 01:15

In the city that has become the epicentre of sectarian bloodshed in Pakistan, Shiite Muslim candidates are braving death threats to make themselves heard in Saturday's election.

Shiites make up around a fifth of Pakistan's 180 million population but they are caught in a rising tide of sectarian hatred, targeted by extremist Sunni Muslim bombers and vilified on the campaign trail.

Quetta, capital of the southwestern province of Baluchistan, has been a focus for much of the violence and two devastating bombings earlier this year killed nearly 200 people from the city's ethnic Hazara Shiite population.

Banned Sunni extremist organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which has links to Al-Qaeda, claimed the attacks and vowed to strike again.

The authorities stepped up security in some Hazara districts of Quetta but those running for office say the threats to their lives are so great that they are unable to move around freely to canvass for votes.

Ruquiya Hashmi, a doctor and a former soldier, faces a double challenge -- as well as being Hazara she is also the first woman to stand in Quetta for the national assembly.

For the past few days she has had threatening phone calls and letters sent to her offices. She is running for Pakistan Muslim League-Q, an ally of the outgoing government, but she is determined to stand up to the extremists.

"I'm lucky I'm a very brave woman. It's very challenging being a woman, being a Hazara, but God willing I will face the challenges and I will raise my voice," she said.... Continue Reading....

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