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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

دھرنے اور تبدیلی

Tuesday 26 February 2013



بارہ جنوری 2013 کو کوئٹہ میں شیعہ ہزارہ برادری سے تعلق رکھنے والے مظاہرین اور ہلاک ہونے والے افراد کے لواحقین میتوں کے ساتھ احتجاجی دھرنے میں موجود ہیں — اے ایف پی تصویر

کیا دھرنے تبدیلی کا ذریعہ بن سکتے ہیں؟ 

سیاسی کارکنوں میں یہ بحث چل نکلی ہے کہ مسائل دھرنے سے ہی حل ہو سکتے ہیں یا یہ دھرنے کسی بڑی تبدیلی کا ذریعہ بن سکتے ہیں۔ گواحتجاج کی یہ شکل پرانی ہے مگرآج بھی موثر ہے۔ حالیہ کوئٹہ کی ہزارہ کمیونٹی اور علامہ طاہرالقادری کے دھرنوں نے اس میں نئی جان ڈال دی ہے۔

ہر طرح کا احتجاج دراصل سماج سے رجوع کرنے کا مظہر ہے۔ مظاہرہ تھوڑٰی دیر کا احتجاج ہے جس کے ذریعے متعلقہ حکام کو مطالبات سننے پر مجبور کیا جاتا ہے یا ان مطالبات کی طرف عام لوگوں کی توجہ دلائی جاتی ہے اور رائے عامہ بنائی جاتی ہے۔

ریلی اور جلوس موبائل احتجاج ہے۔ جس میں احتجاج کرنے والے اہم علاقوں کا گشت کرکے لوگوں کو اپنی اور اپنے مطالبات کی طرف توجہ دلاتے ہیں۔

دھرنے کی نوعیت ان دو سے مختلف ہے۔ اس کا بنیادی فلسفہ مطالبے پر اصرار کرنا ہے۔ یعنی یہ احتجاج کسی عمل کو روکنے یا عمل پر متعلقہ حکام کو مجبور کرنے کے لیے استعمال کیا جاتا ہے۔

مظاہرین کسی اہم جگہ پر دھرنا مار کر اس طرح بیٹھ جاتے کہ کوئی مخصوص عمل کو روک سکیں یا اس میں رکاوٹ بنیں۔ دھرنے میں عزم اور مالکی زیادہ ہوتی ہے کہ ہم تب تک بیٹھے ہیں جب تک مطالبات منظور نہیں ہوتے۔ پھر انہیں زبردستی اٹھایا نہیں جاتا یا گرفتار نہیں کیا جاتا۔

دھرنوں کی حالیہ لہر وال اسٹریٹ پر قبضے سے شروع ہوئی۔ اس کے بعد بڑا اور کامیاب تجربہ مصر کے التحریر اسکوائر کا ہے۔ جس نے مصری حکومت کا خاتمہ کیا۔ یہ الگ بات ہے کہ وہاں کی متحرک قوتوں کو اس کے نتیجے میں آنے والی تبدیلی کو برقرار رکھنا خاصا مسئلہ ہو رہا ہے۔

دھرنا دراصل راست قدم کی ایک شکل ہے، مگرعدم تشدد پر مبنی پرامن طور احتجاج ہے۔

عام طور پر دھرنے احتجاج کا کامیاب ترین نسخہ رہے ہیں۔ کیونکہ یہ پورے عمل میں رخنہ پیدا کرتے ہیں۔ پرامن رہتے ہوئے یہ کسی بھی علاقے کو بند کرنے کا موثرترین طریقہ ہے۔

احتجاج کرنے والے پرامن ہوتے ہیں ایسے میں حکومت طاقت کا استعمال کرتی ہے تو بھی مصیبت میں آجاتی ہے۔ کیونکہ لوگوں کی ہمدردیاں احتجاج کرنے والوں کے ساتھ ہو جاتی ہیں۔

دھرنے ہمیشہ سے سول نافرمانی تحریک کا حصہ رہے ہیں۔ امریکہ میں گزشتہ پچاس ساٹھ سال کے دوران احتجاج کے اس طریقے کے نتیجے میں شہری حقوق کا قانون منظور ہوا۔ اور اس کے بعد نسلی بنیاد پر عوامی مقامات پر علحدگی ختم ہوئی۔

آگے چل کر دھرنے نے گھیراؤ اور قبضے کی تحریک کوجنم دیا۔ یہ احتجاج کی شکل مزدوروں کی جدوجہد سے شروع ہوئی جو بہتر تنخواہوں سے لیکر سرمایہ داری نظام کے خاتمہ تک کا مطالبہ کر رہے تھے۔ مزدوردھرنا مار کر بیٹھ جاتے تھے اور کارخانہ چلنے نہیں دیتے تھے۔

بعد میں قبضے کی تحریک سیاسی مقاصد کے لیے استعمال ہونے لگی۔ 2010 میں لندن کے پارلیمنٹ اسکوائر میں جمہوریت کا گاؤں کے نام سے خیمہ بستی لگائی گئی۔ 2011ع میں وال اسٹریٹ پر قبضہ کی تحریک چلی۔ جو دنیا بھر میں چل رہی ہے۔ گزشتہ سال اسپین میں بھی دھرنوں کی تحریک چلی۔ اس کے بعد مصر میں انقلاب التحریر اسکوائر آیا۔

دنیا بھر کے مزدوروں کی طرح پاکستان میں بھی مزدور یونینز مطالبات منوانے کے لیے دھرنے دیتی رہی ہیں۔ سندھ ٹیننسی ایکٹ بھی دھرنے کے نتیجے میں منظور ہوا تھا۔ سندھ ہاری کمیٹی نے کامریڈ حیدربخش جتوئی کی قیادت میں سندھ اسمبلی کا گھیراؤ کیا تھا۔

زبردستی منظور کرایا گیا قانون اس وجہ سے برقرار رہا کیونکہ صوبے میں رائے عامہ اس کے حق میں تھی۔ مزید یہ بھی کہ ریاستی مشینری پر وڈیروں اور جاگیرداروں کا قبضہ تھا۔ اس لیے انہیں یقین تھا کہ وہ ہاریوں کے حق میں بنائے گئے اس قانون کو غیر موثر رکھیں گے اور عمل درآمد نہیں ہونے دیں گے۔ ایسا ہی ہوا۔ اس قانون کو منظور ہوئے آدھی صدی سے زائد عرصہ گزر چکا ہے مگر کبھی بھی اس پر عمل نہیں ہوا۔

پاکستان کی سیاست میں دھرنے کا تصور مولانا عبدالحمید بھاشانی نے ساٹھ کے عشرے کے آخر میں گھیراؤ جلاؤ کے نعرے سے کیا۔ بائیں بازو کے بعض گروپ بھی اس نعرے میں بہہ گئے۔

ساٹھ اور ستر کے عشرے میں پیپلز پارٹی کے دور حکومت میں بعض مزدوریونینز نے کارخانوں کا گھیراؤ کر مطالبات منوانے کی کوشش کی۔ جس کے نتیجے میں کراچی اور ملتان میں مزدوروں پر گولی چلائی گئی اور کچھ مزدورہلاک بھی ہوئے۔

اس تحریک کے بعض منفی نتائج بھی نکلے۔ سرمایہ داروں نے اس تحریک کو بھٹو کی قومیانے کی پالیسی کے ساتھ جوڑا اور ملک سے سرمایہ کو باہر لے گئے۔ مہم جوئی کی آڑ میں حکومت کو موقعہ ملا کہ وہ ملک میں مزدور تحریک کو کچل دے۔

ماضی قریب میں ہمارے ملک میں دھرنے کی سیاست لانگ مارچ کیساتھ آئی۔ نواز شریف کے دور حکومت میں کالاباغ ڈیم کی تعمیر کے خلاف بینظیر بھٹو نے سندھ پنجاب سرحد پر کموں شہید کے مقام پر اور ولی خان نے اٹک کے پل پر دھرنا دیا تھا۔ یہ دھرنے اگرچہ چند گھنٹوں کے لیے تھے مگر موثر ثابت ہوئے اور نواز شریف حکومت کو آئندہ چند ماہ میں جانا پڑا۔

حال ہی میں علامہ طاہرالقادری نے انتخابی قوانین اور نگراں حکومت کی تقرری کے طریقہ کار میں تبدیلی کے لیے وفاقی دارالحکومت اسلام آباد میں دھرنا دیا۔ یہ دھرنا ایک حد تک کامیاب رہا کہ حکومت کو ان کے ساتھ معاہدہ کرنا پڑا۔

انہی دنوں کوئٹہ میں ہزارہ کمیونٹی سے تعلق رکھنے والے 83 سے زائد افراد دہشتگردی کے ایک واقعہ میں ہلاک ہوئے۔ جس کے خلاف دھرنا دیا۔ حکومت کو ان کے مطالبات ماننے پڑے۔

فروری کے دوسرے ہفتے میں ہزارہ کمیونٹی کے ساتھ ایک اور واقعہ پیش آیا ہے۔ جس میں درجنوں افراد ہلاک ہوگئے۔ ان واقعات کو ہزارہ کمیونٹی –جس کا تعلق اہل تشیع فرقے سے ہے– نے کمیونٹی کی نسل کشی کے مترادف قرار دیا اور دو روز تک کوئٹہ میں دھرنے دیئے گئے۔

ملک بھر میں اہل تشیع نے کوئٹہ کے مظلوموں کے ساتھ یکجہتی دکھا کر عوامی طاقت کا مظاہرہ کیا۔ تمام شاہراہیں بلاک کردی گئیں۔ مظاہرین نے ملزمان کی گرفتاری تک لاشیں دفنانے سے انکار کردیا۔ گزشتہ ماہ ان کے مطالبے پر بلوچستان میں رئیسانی کی صوبائی حکومت ختم کر کے گورنر راج نافذ کردیا گیا تھا۔ اس مرتبہ ان کی لسٹ میں یہ مطالبہ بھی شامل تھا کہ کوئٹہ کا انتظام فوج کے حوالے کیا جائے۔

سندھ میں قوم پرست جماعتیں دھرنے دیتی رہی ہیں۔ مگر ان کے دھرنے موثر ثابت نہیں ہوئے۔ حال ہی میں قوم پرستوں نے متنازع بلدیاتی نظام کے خلاف حیدرآباد کے بائی پاس پر دھرنا دینے کی کوشش کی تھی، مگر پولیس نے ان سے بائی پاس خالی کرالیا۔ لیکن علامہ قادری کے دھرنے یا سندھ سمیت ملک بھر میں ہزارہ کیمونٹی کی حمایت میں لگنے والے دھرنوں کے خلاف پولیس یا رینجرز وغیرہ استعمال نہیں کی گئی۔

یہ معاملہ اس وجہ سے بھی حساس تھا کہ کوئٹہ میں درجنوں لوگوں کی ہلاکت ہو چکی تھی۔ اور وہ مظاہرین لاشیں رکھ کر احتجاج کر رہے تھے۔ عالمی برادری کے آواز اٹھانے کی وجہ سے معاملے کی حساسیت اور بھی بڑھ گئی تھی۔ یہ بھی کہ یہ ایک مذہبی فرقے کا معاملہ تھا جو سماج اور ریاست کے مختلف اداروں کے حصوں کو متاثر کر سکتا تھا۔

دھرنے کی اثرپذیری کی وجہ سے بعض سنجیدہ حلقوں میں یہ بحث چل رہی ہے کہ کیا دھرنوں کو سماجی تبدیلی یا انقلاب کے لیے استعمال کیا جا سکتا ہے؟

سوشل میڈیا پر بھی اس موضوع پر بحث چل رہی ہے۔ اس بحث کے اہم نکات کو ان الفاظ میں سمویا جا سکتا ہے۔
- عوام ہی طاقت کا سرچشمہ ہیں اگر صحیح نظریہ اور سچی قیادت کے تحت عوام سڑکوں پر آجائیں تو انقلاب آکر رہتا ہے۔

- اس طرح کے دھرنوں سے فرق پڑتا ہے۔

- تبدیلی شعور سے آتی ہے۔ ہمارے پاس آج بھی لوگوں کا مطالبہ ہے کہ فوجّ آئے اور آکر حالات کو ٹھیک کرے۔ جبکہ فوج نے کئی سال حکومت کی مگر کوئی فائدہ نہیں۔

- پہلے یہ دیکھنا پڑے گا کہ لوگوں کو کونسی تبدیلی چاہئے؟ لوگوں کو انفرادی مفادات سے آزاد کریں گے تب تبدیلی آئے گی۔

- ہم ایک گلی میں رہتے ہوئے بھی ساتھ نہیں تو انقلاب میں کیسے ساتھ ہونگے؟

- انقلاب لفظ کا اتنا غلط استعمال ہوا ہے کہ اب اس لفظ پر پابندی عائد کی جانی چاہئے۔

- دھرنے انقلابی یا سماجی تبدیلی نہیں لا سکتے۔ انقلاب کے لیے تحریک کی ضرورت ہے۔ سماجی تبدیلی یا انقلاب کے لیے نظریہ اور سوشل پلان چاہئے۔

- دھرنے سے شاید انقلاب لیا جا سکتا ہے مگر یہ تبدیلی برقرار کیسے رہے؟ ریاستی مشنری مزاحمت کرے گی۔ ریاستی مشنری پر قبضہ کرنا اور اسکو کنٹرول میں رکھنا اتنا آسان نہیں ہوتا۔ دنیا میں ناکام انقلابوں اور تجربوں کی کہانیاں یہی بتاتی ہیں۔

- یہ ایک جدوجہد کی شکل ہے جسے مسلسل کرتے رہنے سے فرق پڑ سکتا ہے۔

- عرب دنیا میں انقلاب کیوں ناکام ہوئے؟ یہ سب دھرنا سیاست کے ذریعے آئے تھے۔ اگر باضابطہ کوئی تنظیم ہوتی تو لوگوں کو بڑا فائدہ پہنچتا۔

دھرنے کے ذریعے شاید کوئی چھوٹا موٹا مطالبہ تو منوایا جاسکتا ہے لیکن ہر دھرنا کامیاب نہیں ہوتا۔ صرف وہی دھرنے کامیابی حاصل کر پاتے ہیں جن کی پشت پر کچھ دوسری طاقتیں بھی ہوں۔ اس کے ساتھ ساتھ دھرنے کے مطالبات عوام میں صرف مقبول ہی نہ ہوں بلکہ ان کے لیے شدت سے خواہش بھی موجود ہو۔

اگرکوئی سیاسی قوت یا کوئی پرکشش نعرہ عوام کو اتنا متحرک کر بھی دیتا ہے کہ وہ اقتدار پر قبضہ کر لے، تو یہ قبضہ وقتی ہوتا ہے۔ کیونکہ اس قبضے کو برقرار رکھنے کے لیے جس تنظیم کاری کی ضرورت ہوتی ہے وہ پاکستان جیسے ممالک میں ناپید ہے۔ ریاستی مشینری ابھی بھی اتنی طاقتور ہے کہ وہ ایسے کسی چیلنج کا مقابلہ کرسکے۔ فرینچ انقلاب سمیت دنیا کے ناکام انقلابوں کے تجربے اور کہانیاں اس کی واضح مثال ہیں اور ان سے بڑا سبق بھی ملتا ہے۔

بلاشبہ عوام میں بڑی طاقت ہے۔ لیکن یہ طاقت جب ہی سیسہ پلائی دیوار بنتی ہے جب تنظیم کاری اور بے لوث قیادت بھی 
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VIEW : Hazaras, the children of a lesser god — I — Mehboob Qadir




Anywhere else in the world, the Hazaras could have been a powerhouse of industry, culture, education and great civic sense

Shias in Pakistan are a sizeable religious community that has lived among Sunni main mass in perfect harmony since centuries. One would not really know or bother to find out who was a Shia or a Sunni until Moharrum, the month of Shia mourning arrived. Shias would wear black clothes with a sense of grief and loss commemorating the great martyrdom of Imam Hussain and his companions at the hands of an absolute despot. It used to be over as the month ended, more or less and then normal business of life resumed in the neighbourhood. As Sunnis, we would respect and empathise with Shia mourners in many local but graceful ways. We would attend their majlis (a recitation of tragic events), consume post majlis food distributed and set up drinking water stalls en route the mourning processions. Similarly, for at least the ten days of the Ashur (end of the month) we would not play music, buy new clothing or any major new thing, hold any festive event like weddings etc and avoid wearing freshly tailored or showy bright clothes.

All this and much more was done voluntarily and not under any special instructions by any lofty Allama or a Shaikh-ul-Islam. We would be deferential to the Shia sentiments because we were taught it was decent, humane and expected. None hated or disliked anyone for the shade of his belief, particularly Islamic faith. There were many sub-sects and schools of fiqah that were subsisting together with the main ones without any difficulty. Ahmadis were very well adjusted and so were Ismailis and the like. Wahabis were a few and far between, and generally distanced from socially because of their unsettling kind of belief. Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis and a tiny number of Jews were respected for their sensibilities. It used to be such a wonderful sight to see local Sikh businessmen sitting side by side the fierce Afridi traders in the Torkham bazaars.

Most regrettably, perceptions have moved away from realities in case of Pakistan and that is our real and abiding loss. There were no fatwas for beheadings; no faith charged processions, and least of all, no sectarian or communal murders. The best and most well behaved student in my class in Loralai was a handsome Hindu boy, Ramesh, whom I understand rose to heights in the civil service of the country. During college days, my best friends and brighter students were mostly Ahmadi boys with whom a lifelong relationship remains. Their sense of duty, integrity and dependability was amazing.

Then came the notorious, and in the hindsight, catastrophic anti-Ahmadi riots of 1953 in Lahore particularly. These were orchestrated mainly by the Jamaat-e-Islami’s Maududi and the Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam‘s firebrand Deobandi mullahs. Ahraris were typically opposed to Pakistan like Maududi and hated Ahmadis. The army quickly and effectively put them down and sentenced these characters to death that was later commuted to a jail-term. Sorrowfully, more than 200 Ahmadis were killed and huge property gutted in that madness. As an evil consequence, all such bigoted religious elements began to band together first as opposition to the Ahmadis but eventually expanded to other shades of belief via their doctrinal gurus: the Wahabis. Shias were the natural next minority, as it irked the unforgiving breed of mullahs within the Sunni main mass, and who better than the Deobandis and their chief patrons and ideologues: the nettlesome Wahabis. This toxic lava began to simmer but was controllable till two demons of destruction swept down upon the region in general and Pakistan in particular. As if coordinated, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, and almost simultaneously, Ayatullah Khomeini, descended upon Iran. This was the beginning of a mutually reinforcing and assured destruction of broad and beautiful balance of faith in Pakistan. The late General Ziaul Haq espoused the cause of Afghan resistance and repainted it as jihad under the twin persuasion of Saudis followed by the US. That stratagem also assured a flow of dollars and reinvigorating of his faltering regime against the rising popular opposition to his medieval style rule. On his beck and call was again the abrasive Deobandi-Wahabi combine, unfortunately. These wicked twains were to later bring Pakistan and its people to tremendous harm and grief. That is what happens when one feeds vipers like these in one’s backyard.

The Khominite takeover of Iran enthused Shias to their dream of Mahdavi world dominance while Soviet invasion helped Saudis realise their dream of universal jihad albeit not in their land but safely in Afghanistan-Pakistan. There could have been nothing more auspicious for them than having a tin-pot dictator ruling Pakistan and looking for some kind of legitimacy. In this lava crater of regional upheavals, the Hazaras of Afghanistan and Quetta were caught in a vice not of their making but thrown around them by the tragic twists and turns of history. Pakistan was already seething with sectarian divide. Ahmadis had been declared as non-Muslims by the late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto under pressure from the religious lobby in 1973.Time was ripe for a Wahabit-Deobandi ascent in Pakistan, just as the petro dollars began to flow in while Zia was already teetering over the sectarian edge.

The Afghan war of freedom from Soviets and concomitant Khominite revolution in the neighbouring Iran helped to pitch Sunnis against Shias in strange ways. The Khominite zeal scared and startled the Sunni peninsular Arabs. The Soviet invasion provided Saudis a golden chance to play out their Wahabist fantasy of jihad against an atheist super power. Eventually, the two mutually repulsive fantasies pitched Shias against Sunnis in our region and the bolt actually fell upon the Shia Hazaras in Afghanistan, in Quetta and elsewhere inside Pakistan. In a short while we will see how, but before that a bit of historic perspective is in order.

Hazaras had been truly the proverbial children of a lesser God in our region. Anywhere else in the world, the Hazaras could have been a powerhouse of industry, culture, education and great civic sense. In other words, they are a potential engine of tremendous social uplift. They are descendents of Mongol warriors who were accompanied by their Eurasian households when Chengiz Khan laid siege to Bamyan in 1221.After its capture they settled down and proliferated. Their robust resistance to assimilation into Afghan melting pot of races has turned out to be their biggest but unintended fatal fault.

Babur, the Mughal emperor had noted Hazaras inhabiting Hazarajat west of Kabul as far as Ghor, Ghazni and Quetta in the 16th century. That was just about the time when under Safavid influence they converted to Shiism, a leap that unfolded dreadfully three centuries later. It was 1890 and the fierce Amir Abdur Rehman ruled over Afghanistan. The Hazaras decided to side with the king’s rebel cousin. They were routed.Their men were imprisoned; many were brutally executed and properties confiscated arbitrarily. The atrocities continued forcing the Hazaras to revolt again in 1892, and yet again in 1893. Amir’s retribution was swift, barbaric and bloody. Thousands of Hazara men, women and children were sold off as slaves in the markets of Kabul and Qandhar.

Amir Abdur Rahman’s relentless repression firmly sowed the seed of abiding hatred between Hazaras and Afghans for all times to come. Almost 35,000 families fled to Northern Afghanistan, Mashad and Quetta displacing almost 60 percent of the whole ethnic population. Short of the Partition, this should be the most horrific exodus of an entire people in the region’s history. The Hazaras had finally and decisively become unwelcome among Afghans, particularly Pushtuns on three counts. They came as conquerors and settled down on prime lands in Hazarajat. Much against the Sunni mass preference they converted to Shiism, thus, permanently creating a pro-Iran enclave dangerously close to the Pushtun seat of power in Kabul. Lastly, they kept their distinct identity and never assimilated. As a rule, history does not forget nor forgives collective mistakes made by the races or nations, which confront them eventually and draws retribution, often horrible.

The writer is a retired brigadier of the Pakistan army and can be reached at clay.potter@hotmail.com

Jafria Alliance urges Swat-like operation in Quetta

From the Newspaper | A Reporter



Shia including relatives of recent bomb blast victims, protest in Quetta. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Jafria Alliance has demanded of the government to launch a Swat-like operation in Quetta to save provincial capital from falling into the hands of extremists and terrorists.

Addressing a press conference here at the National Press Club, leader of Jafria Alliance Allama Abbas Kumaili said the police and administration in Balochistan were not only incompetent but also corrupt. “They have failed to execute their duties and are directly and indirectly protecting terrorists by not registering cases and presenting challans in courts.” Allama Kumaili said.

Had practical and effective steps been taken after the removal of Raisani-led government in January, the Hazara Town carnage would not have taken place after 35 days of another bombing, he said.

He narrated his own experience when he was a Senator in 2003 and had spoken against terror attacks in the province, “The-then Balochistan government registered a case against me and barred my entry into the province.”

He said sectarian groups have complete freedom to operate in the province’ He criticised the federal government for failing to ensure their directives were implemented.

“We have no trust and hope in political governments or even in governor Balochistan,” he said and added: “However there is a ray of hope in the suo motu taken by the apex court”.

The Jafria Alliance leader said that if directives of the Supreme Court to root out sectarianism and terrorism were not implemented, then there were chances that in future the outlaws would become more powerful than the Balochistan government.

Hounded for being Hazara


ANITA JOSHUA

Isolated and massacred in sectarian violence, the Hazara Shias in Quetta are seeking a military takeover

It is no longer a question whether there will be another attack on the Hazara Shias of Quetta but when and where next. That is how certain everyone is of the terrorists’ agenda. In fact, of all the state and non-state actors who have said anything on the Hazara Shias in the week after their second massacre in 37 days, only the outlawed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) is expected to deliver. The LeJ threat is real and assurances of protection from various institutions of the State have time and again proved to be empty promises.

This sense of resignation is not without reason. For over a decade now, the Hazara Shias have been specifically targeted. While Shias in general are under attack, in the case of the Hazaras the task is made that much easier because of their distinctive Mongoloid features. But, their plight never got much attention. Why, even after the January 10 massacre in which over 80 Hazara Shias were killed in serial blasts, it became an issue only after the community took to the streets with the bodies in sub-zero temperature and refused to bury them.

A cursory look at media coverage is instructive. The massacre of 80-plus people in one locality in a day became a footnote rather quickly and the media was literally shamed into taking note of the Hazara Shia protests when civil society came out in support across the country. That was about a day into the protest of the Hazara Shias of Quetta.

Thus named and shamed into reacting, the response was a tad better when a similar massacre took place a month later in another Hazara settlement, killing nearly 90 members of the community yet again though locals insist the number is over a 100. Only their bodies remain untraceable as the impact was such that many were charred beyond recognition or blown to smithereens.

Still, it took another three-day protest with the bodies by the Hazara Shia community to get the government to order a targeted operation against the sectarian outfits. While it helped break the impasse and ensured that the bodies were buried, not many are convinced by the government’s claims of killing four terrorists and arresting 170 others in a day’s operation.

Factor of elections

With the spotlight turning on the tacit understanding between the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and many jihadi organisations, including the LeJ in its various incarnates, the Punjab government detained LeJ head Malik Ishaq under the Maintenance of Public Order a week after the second massacre of Hazara Shias. Police claim they acted on complaints regarding his provocative speeches over the past month. At best this is belated action because Ishaq, the alleged mastermind of the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009, has been delivering such speeches for months now and a random search on YouTube offers enough evidence. No one is convinced the detention will make much difference because during an earlier incarceration — before he was released in 2011 by the Supreme Court for lack of evidence — Ishaq had a cellphone in prison and was being paid a stipend by the Punjab government. And, the PML(N) can hardly be expected to go after the organisational network of these outfits on the eve of national and provincial elections given their vote bank that could make or break the party’s electoral prospects in as many as 40 constituencies.

So, with good reason, none of this “action” has brought any comfort to the Hazara Shia community, cowering in their “open air jails” — that’s what they call the two colonies of Quetta to which they have confined themselves to over the years. What they flag, instead, is the inability of the security establishment to act against sectarian outfits who openly address the media at the Quetta Press Club or the LeJ spokesman who routinely calls up journalists to claim responsibility and boast of capability to repeat their actions.

One such conversation happened soon after the February 16 blast with a LeJ spokesman claiming they had enough explosive material to conduct 20 more such blasts. In the last blast, 800 to 1,000 kilos of explosive material was packed into a tractor-trolley ferrying a water tanker which brought up the question as to how the vehicle managed to get through Quetta, one of the most barricaded cities of the country owing to Baloch insurgency.

Campaigns against them

There are other footprints too. According to Sajjad H. Changezi, a student member of Hazara for Humanity (HFH) spearheading the community’s campaign in Islamabad, the LeJ has launched an SMS service in some places of Quetta asking people to report to a certain mobile number as soon as they spot a Hazara.

Such campaigns against Hazara Shias have begun to impact their decision-making, particularly on issues like sending children to schools outside their so-called secured areas. That facade of security has also been stripped with the February 16 attack as the terrorists struck at Hazara Town; one of the two main Hazara Shia settlements of Quetta.

Criticism over suggestion

There has been a suggestion in the mainstream discourse that the Hazaras are being trained by Iran and the escalation of violence is a repeat of the 1980s Iran-Saudi Arabia tussle. Describing this charge as baseless, Mr. Changezi pointed out: “Iran has never acknowledged Hazara as a distinct ethnic identity. Despite living in Iran for decades, despite the common Shia faith, the three million Hazaras there have not been granted citizenship. Are the Hazaras killing Sunnis? Is there any proof of Hazara militancy?”

In their hour of grief, the Hazara Shias have drawn criticism for demanding a military takeover of Quetta because the security establishment is widely perceived to be the real reason for the situation not just in Balochistan but across the country. “It is a cry of despair,” said Fatima Atif, responding to a barrage of such questions in Islamabad with a toddler in her arms. “This is not an ideal option, but our last option. The police are clearly unable to deal with the situation.”

As the Hazaras see it, the civilian administration of Balochistan is toothless as the security establishment calls the shots in the restive province. By putting the Army in actual control, the hope is that they would be forced to prevent such attacks to keep their own slate clean. And, despite the Army’s rejection of allegations of the LeJ and company being its proxies, the widely held perception is that many of these Punjab-based jihadi organisations have been pushed into Balochistan to target the Baloch nationals and help change the demography of the resource-rich province.

If in the process, they further their own sectarian agenda, then turn a blind eye as Pakistan still reaps the bitter fruits of Zia’s Islamisation project that encouraged “Sunnification” of the country with Saudi money. It will create, in the words of author Irfan Husain, “a witch’s brew of violent forces” in which the Hazaras are just collateral damage.

Up to Alphabet

‘Chota ae par zehr da tota ae’



Wednesday, 27 February 2013 00:00
Written by The Spokesman

Published in Exclusives


The Spokesman


MIRZA KHURRAM SHAHZAD

QUETTA: ‘Chota ae par zehr da tota ae’ was the response of a young Pakhtun soldier of the Frontier Corps when one of them joked that his force can’t control a small city like Quetta.

“This small city is calm for most of the time, but when something happens, it is very poisonous,” said the soldier guarding an important crossroad in the Quetta city.

“Then the impact of that event is not small. It is huge and kills dozens of people, so do not call it a small city,” he said.

The capital of Balochistan, with a complex and diverse population of over 2.5 million, is right now in the grip of sectarian violence. Two major attacks in two months have killed around 200 people from the minority Shia Hazara community.

A trip around the city suggests that the security forces are present but their activity is useless because they are not available where and when they are required.

Almost all the crossroads of the city and important avenues have a heavy presence of FC and Police, but they are not seen at the Sariab Road, around Afghan refugees’ localities and the vicinities where the Islamic hardliners take refuge.

The soldiers remain posted at various places in the city for the whole day but as the sun sets, they are nowhere except their permanent posts and the rest of the city is open to all kinds of criminals and terrorists to roam around.

In Sariab Road, which is the hub of hardliner Islamists and Baloch ethnic groups, hardly a soldier is seen there. Wall chalking at the Sariab Road in favor of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and ‘Independent Balochistan’ suggests that the security forces are reluctant to operate there and remove the anti-state slogans.

Just on Saturday, when Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ) announced a shutter down strike after some LeJ workers were arrested and a few others were killed during an encounter with the forces, the administration handed over the city to them.

The workers of ASWJ and sympathizers of LeJ were openly roaming around the streets on motorcycles armed with weapons and clubs and there was nobody to stop them.

Many of the ASWJ workers were seen forcing traders to close their shops and breaking the glass and gates of the shops which were opened. They also assaulted many of the shopkeepers.

But for the administration, it was part of their efforts to bring peace back to the city. 
 
“As you know they protested yesterday with dead bodies of their workers killed in the encounter and blocked the roads, so we provided them some room to solve the problem,” a senior administration official said when asked why they were reluctant to take action against the law violators.

Asked about the Sariab Road status, he said: “Our forces do operate in the whole city and get deployed wherever they need to. I am not aware of any illegal activity in that specific area or the fact that there is no presence of the forces”.

But not only at Sariab Road, in Akhtarabad, which is very close to Hazara town and where most of the ASWJ workers live among a huge number of Afghan refugees, there is also no presence of the forces. Even the deployment around the Hazara town and Alamdar road was almost zero before the two deadly attacks on January 10 and February 16, in which 92 and 90 people were killed respectively. 

The Hazara community members complain that the LeJ activists get refuge in Akhtarabad after attacking their fellows but the forces don’t take any action.

“We have limited resources and can’t operate everywhere. We can’t go to every doorstep and search for the law violators,” admitted a senior police official who requested anonymity.

“What will happen if we launch a search operation, we will go door to door and will also arrest some of them and confiscate the weapons but some other people will emerge and start operating,” he said, adding that the problem will not be controlled until state policies are not changed.

“Hundreds of seminaries in the country are producing thousands of religious extremists every year. The extremists’ organizations are being funded by the rich businessmen who have a liking for them. Sympathizers are in the society which provides them refuge, so police and other forces can’t overcome everything. We need to change mind of the society,” the police official, who heads special operations, said.

Where paramilitary troops are deployed they also act casually or authoritatively. There is no sign of any professional training which enables a soldier to identify a criminal on the first gaze. At most of the posts soldiers are found talking to each other instead of observing the passersby professionally. And when things are tight and they are asked to monitor everybody closely, they humiliate and disrespect the people. 

Otherwise, everybody gets a go-ahead after replying to some questions like “who are you”, “where are you going” and “from where have you come?”

A senior official of the Frontier Corps (FC) agrees that the soldiers are not well trained but still insists that they are doing well.

“Of course they are part of our society; they get mixed with the people of other forces. If the officials of two other soldiers are relaxing and not doing their job well, how can FC soldiers stay away from these habits?” he asked and added they are still doing great.

“Both Baloch and Islamic militants are getting weakened. They are not that powerful now and that is because of these soldiers. A few incidents to which you are referring are exceptions and exceptions are always there,” he said.

Pakistan’s Hazaras to take up arms over attacks


AFP |



In this Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 photo, Pakistanis gather at the rubble of a market which was destroyed by a bomb blast on Saturday, February 16, 2013, in Quetta, Pakistan. — Photo by AP

QUETTA: Ismatullah holds an AK-47 and checks vehicles on the road. “Enough is enough. We have no trust in the security forces any more and we’ll protect our community ourselves,” says the teenage Shia student.

Extremist bombers killed nearly 200 people in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta in the two worst bomb attacks to strike Shia Muslims from the minority Hazara community, just weeks apart on January 10 and February 16.

After each attack, thousands of Hazaras, including women and children, camped out in the bitter cold demanding that the army step in to protect them.

The government brokered an end to the protests, but refused to mobilise the troops.

Outlawed extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) claimed responsibility and has threatened to exterminate all Shias. Few believe that dozens of men rounded up after the bomb attacks will ever be brought to justice.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court and rights groups accuse the authorities of failing to protect Hazaras and now young men like 18-year-old Ismatullah are taking up arms to defend themselves and their families.

Ismatullah’s best friend was shot dead last June near Hazara Town. He lost more friends when suicide bombers flattened a snooker hall on January 10 and a massive bomb hidden in a water tanker destroyed a market on February 16.

“I couldn’t control myself when I saw scattered pieces of so many children and women of our community,” said the first year college student.

“Our community is only interested in education and business, but terrorists have forced us to take up whatever arms we have and take to the streets for our own security.”

At the moment they operate as volunteers under the name, Syed-ul-Shohada Scouts, registered as part of the Baluchistan Scouts Association, an affiliate of the worldwide scouting movement.

For years, young men like Ismatullah have volunteered to protect sensitive events, such as religious processions during the holy month of Muharram.

But their chairman says the threat is now so great that they should be paid full time as an auxiliary to government security forces.

“We have around 200 young men who perform security duties on specific occasions, but most of them are students and workers, and can’t work full-time,” said Syed Zaman, chairman of the Hazara Scouts.

“We are trying to make a system to start their salaries for permanent deployment and also coordinate with the security agencies. Hopefully, we will be able to form a regular force… and salaries in a month,” he said.

Scouts president Ghulam Haider said it was a mistake to rely on government security when the first of two suicide bombers struck at the snooker hall in the Alamdar Road neighbourhood.

“It resulted in another bomb blast minutes after the first one and we lost many more people,” Haider told AFP.

“We didn’t want that to happen again, so immediately after the blast on February 16, we armed our youth to man the streets and entry points, which helped to prevent the chances of a second attack,” he claimed.

Hazara Town, where the market was bombed, is very exposed, in the shadow of the Chiltan mountains and near the bypass which links the Afghan border town of Chaman to Pakistan’s financial capital Karachi.

While paramilitary Frontier Corps and police patrol the main approaches, they are not visible inside the neighbourhood.

“Security agencies can’t protect us. They don’t know the area because most of them come from outside Quetta. So we’re planning to set up our own permanent posts inside our areas,” said Haider.

The police, however, have their doubts.

“If we start private policing by arming one particular community, it will set the wrong precedent,” said Fiaz Ahmed Sunbal, head of Quetta police operations.

He claimed police were planning to close entrances to Hazara Town, and would recruit 200 young Hazaras to patrol their own areas.

Haider says closing off roads will isolate the community but welcomed the recruitment of Hazara Scouts as a long-term solution.

Others warn that time is running out.

“If they don’t do anything and something happens again, we will take up guns and go out and kill our opponents. There will be open war,” said 26-year-old shopkeeper Zahid Ali.

Terrorized by relentless attacks, ethnic Hazaras to cobble together their own protection force

(Arshad Butt/ Associated Press ) - In this Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, photo, Pakistani Shiite Muslim children hold candles and banners next to photographs of people, who were killed by a bomb blast in market on Saturday, February 16, 2013, in Quetta, Pakistan. Terrorized by ferocious attacks that have killed nearly 400 ethnic Hazaras in the past 18 months, with almost half of those deaths occurring in the first two months of this year, Shiite leaders blamed the inaction of Pakistan’s security service for the rising violence against them in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province.

By Associated Press, Published: February 27

QUETTA, Pakistan — Inside the ruins of a market demolished by a powerful bomb, four tiny white candles —dwarfed by the scale of the destruction — flickered gently in the freezing rain as dazed Shiite Muslim Hazaras wept for the nearly 90 people killed in the blast.

Condemning the Pakistan government for doing little to protect them, the small ethnic group has vowed to set up their own defense force to deal with Sunni extremists they blame for the bombing and a series of other ferocious attacks that have killed nearly 400 ethnic Hazaras in the past 18 months, nearly half in the first two months of this year.

The bomb earlier this month in the Pakistani city of Quetta ripped a swath of devastation that flattened a three-story building and left the ruins of scores of single-room shops exposed to the rain. Blood-soaked rugs were all that was left of a carpet store.

“The ones who did this — they are not human. They are animals,” said Surha, a young woman who goes by one name, a common tradition here. She spoke as she grieved at the site, more than a week after the bombing.

Shiite leaders blame inaction by Pakistan’s security service for the rising violence against them in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province. They told The Associated Press recently that they are petitioning the provincial administration of Baluchistan to approve a Hazara-led defense force to work with local police..... Continue Reading.... 

Monday, February 25, 2013

From Alamdar to Kirani

By Amina Jilani
Published: February 22, 2013


amina.jilani@tribune.com.pk

From January 10, when 93 people were killed in bomb blasts in Quetta to February 16, when 89 men, women and children died in a massive bomb blast in the same city, bringing the Quetta toll of death to 182, and all in the space of one month and five days — was this not time enough for a government to act in some manner, considering that the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) proudly claimed that they were the murderers, as they now have done? Their targets were poor Shias of Quetta, who have lived in fear and trepidation of their lives for long.

Since the LeJ are getting away with murder and mayhem and the governor of Balochistan, who presides over a pathetic governor’s rule, has admitted that “there is chaos everywhere and the state does not seem to be effective” (“does not seem to be” is ridiculous, it ‘is not’), therefore, we can expect more killings of Shias.

The federal government and all the petrified pillars of state have abdicated, done a Pontius Pilate, washing their hands off the entire matter of murder. The law minister has declared that “the situation is not so bad that the army should be deployed in [Quetta]”. The Supreme Court pronounced that the prime minister should bear responsibility for the carnage. Well, as everyone knows, he can take responsibility for nothing.

And the head of state is far more involved in the election process — approving symbols, trying to galvanise his party, plotting the caretaker set-up, and so forth — than he is in dwelling upon the safety and welfare of the citizens of the country. Since he runs the government and all else, other than the awkward judiciary and the overweening military, the responsibility for law and order and the lives of mainly the poor and deprived (high profile victims there have been but low in proportion to the rest) sits firmly on his head.

However, he and the others, who form the so-called ‘leadership’ can do nothing but ‘condemn’ all terrorist attacks and that too anonymously, as they avoid mention of the perpetrators, even though their identities are plastered all over the press — the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the Lashkar-this and the Lashkar-that, or whoever it may be who deals in death.

What is it with these people who sit, or rather cower, in high chairs? Are they all too frightened out of their skins that they dare not name names, or act in any way to prevent the dance of death that extends from Balochistan, over to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and down to Karachi? The sole security they are worried about is their own. Security arrangements involving the dual head of state and political party co-chairman are a joke as they cross all boundaries of logic and smack of cowardice. The same applies to the hundreds of minion ministers, to the chief justice of Pakistan, and somewhat disgracefully, even to the military top brass — the guardians paid to guard the nation.

Reported in the national press on February 19 was a news item detailing how the Rawalpindi roads are ‘cleared’ for the COAS to pass on his daily voyages. On February 18, a lawyer was clobbered by a soldier’s rifle butt when he parked his car in an area that had been ‘cleared’. And in September 2012, two police officers were manhandled when they attempted to cross a road on the COAS’s route. This is utter nonsense, as is the size of the motorcades that accompany the corps (sometimes mistakenly written corpse) commanders (at least he of 5 Corps) when they travel from point to point on roads that are ‘cleared’ for them.

So, these men, paid to protect the lives and livelihoods of the common citizens of Pakistan,have no will or intent to so do. That being so, Hazara Shias and other Shias and all other citizens will continue to be at the non-mercy of the militant groups who have a free hand to murder and maim in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2013.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Quetta dead to be buried today: Relatives agree to end sit-in

From the Newspaper | Saleem Shahid |




Shia mourn next to the bodies of their relatives, a victims of Saturday’s bombing that killed scores of people, as relatives refuse to bury their dead in protest, in Quetta, Pakistan, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. — Photo by AP

QUETTA: At a late-night press conference, leaders of Shia organisations and Hazara community announced that relatives of the people who had died in Saturday’s terrorist attack had agreed to start burying the dead at 9 on Wednesday morning and end their sit-in.

The leaders included Allama Amin Shaheedi of Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen; Sardar Saadat Ali Hazara, chief of the Hazara tribe; and Qayyum Changezi of the Quetta Yekjehati Council. They are accompanied by Agha Ghulam Abbas and Ghulam Raza who have lost several dear ones in the attack. They said there were 113 bodies in the camp which would be kept overnight.

Earlier in the evening, the protesters holding the sit-in with the bodies of the dead had insisted on continuing their sit-in after what was described as success of negotiations with a parliamentary delegation from Islamabad. The Shia leaders had announced their decision to end the sit-in and start burying the bodies. Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Magsi had attended the talks.

The protesters said they would not bury the dead till their main demand of handing over Quetta to army had been met.

Till late in the evening there were reports of protesters in some other cities of the country taking the same position. They said they would end their protest only if the sit-in was ended in Quetta.

After negotiations with the parliamentary delegation, the leaders said they had been assured that a targeted operation would be launched against banned extremist organisations involved in attacks on the Hazaras.

They also said the bodies of the victims of the Karani Road carnage would be buried soon.

But Ghulam Ali Hazara told reporters in Hazara Town that the heirs had refused to burry the dead till the handing over of Quetta’s control to the army.

Hundreds of relatives of the victims remained sitting with the coffins at Imambargah in Hazara Town despite heavy rain and cold weather. “We will end our protest only when the army takes over security of Quetta and launches a targeted operation against banned organisations.”

After the negotiations, the Shia leaders had left the Hazara Town area. “The government has accepted all our demands,” they told reporters.

The parliamentary delegation comprised Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira, Maula Bakhsh Chandio, Afzal Nadeem Chan, Hazar Khan Bijarani, Sughra Imam and Yasmeen Rehman. After arriving in Quetta, they held a meeting with Governor Magsi, Frontier Corps IG Major General Obaidullah Khattak, IG Police Tariq Omar Khitab, Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad, Home Secretary Capt (retd) Akbar Hussain Durrani and other senior officials of the army and intelligence agencies at the Governor’s House. The meeting discussed the protesters’ demand of handing over Quetta to the army and launching a targeted operation.

In the afternoon, the delegation went to Hazara Town and met leaders of Shia organisations.

After about two hours, the two sides announced success of the talks.

Allama Shaheedi, Sardar Saadat Ali and Qayyum Changezi announced that they would end their sit-in and bury the dead because the government had assured them that the army would carry out an operation.

“We are going to end our sit-in and protest and ask the protesters across the country to end their sit-in and disperse peacefully,” Allama Shaheedi said.

He said that after successful talks with the government, burial of victims would take place.

“We have formed a three-member committee to monitor the fulfilment of the federal and the provincial governments about the army operation and we will launch sit-ins and protest again if another act of terrorism takes place again.”

Mr Kaira told newsmen that the FC and other law enforcement agencies had already launched an operation against the groups involved in sectarian killings. Four terrorists had been killed and dozens of other suspects had been arrested so far, he added.“The army will also carry out the operation which will continue till all suspects wanted in cases of sectarian attacks are apprehended,” he said.

Mr Kaira said the government had accepted all demands of the Hazara leaders.

Sardar Saadat Ali Hazara said they would try to complete burial on Wednesday.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who returned here after an official visit to Iran, joined the parliamentary delegation at the Governor’s House.

He told reporters that the government would declare the Shia-Hazara areas of Quetta as a red zone.

He said the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Jaish-i-Mohammad and Sipah-i-Sahaba were working as a syndicate and carrying out bomb attacks against the Shia community.

The syndicate of three banned outfits, he said, had stopped target killings and were now carrying out bomb blasts like the one on Karani road in which potassium and sulphuric acid had been used.

Quetta tragedy: End to country-wide sit-ins announced

February 19, 2013 - Updated 1827 PKT
From Web Edition



QUETTA: The sit-ins/protests to show solidarity with the martyrs of Quetta tragedy have been called off after the negotiations between the Hazara community leaders and government concluded successfully, Geo News reported

The announcement was made at a press conference following a successful meeting between the government delegation led by Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Magsi and elders/Ulema leading the main sit-in in Quetta.

During the press conference, Majlis Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen leader, Allama Ameen Shahidi, appealed to all the protestors in the country to call it a day and go home.

"I appeal to all my friends to peacefully disperse. God forbid, if such a tragedy befell us again we will go for countrywide sit-ins once more", said Shahidi.

According to sources, consensus was reached on the constitution of a three-member committee to evaluate the targeted operations being conducted in the province.

Leaders of the Shia Ulema Council and Shia Solidarity Council were also present during the talks with the government.

Announcing to start the burial of the martyrs, the chief of the Hazara tribe, Sardar Saadat Ali Hazara directed the Hazara community to prepare for the last rites of their departed dear and end the sit-in.

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said compensation will be given to the families of the victims.

Meanwhile sit-ins in Karachi were also ended.

Quetta operation: FC kills four militants including mastermind

By: Online 



Frontier Corps conducted a search operation in the city area of Qambrani where at least four miscreants, including the purported mastermind of a devastating bomb attack, were killed in an exchange of gunfire with the security personnel overnight and seven were arrested , officials said.

Following Saturday’s massive bombing on Kirani Road that claimed lives of at least 90 people, the FC personnel conducted a search operation in Qambrani area of Kaly Barezai.

On the occasion, the miscreants entered exchange of fire with the security force that left four saboteurs dead.

The home secretary of Baluchistan province, Akbar Hussain Durrani, and Colonel Maqbool Ahmed from the paramilitary Frontier Corps said the killings and arrests took place during what they called an "ongoing operation".

"Those who were killed were high-profile targeted killers. They were involved in the killing of a Shiite judge and senior police officers," Durrani said.

One of the masterminds of Saturday's bombing in the Quetta suburb of Hazara Town was among those in custody, Durrani added.

The FC arrested several suspected miscreants from the area and shifted them to undisclosed location for interrogations.

Also, three bombs, detonators, mortar shells and numerous other firearms were seized from the criminals.

Parliamentary delegation arrives in Quetta to meet protesters

DAWN.COM |




Hazaras shout slogans as they protest against the bombing which killed 89 people, in Quetta on February 18, 2013. Thousands of members of the Shia community refused for a third day on Tuesday to bury victims of a devastating bomb attack on their community, demanding protection against record levels of sectarian violence. — AFP Photo

A six-member parliamentary delegation met with Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Magsi on Tuesday prior to talks with participants of a sit-in being staged in Quetta against Saturday’s carnage, DawnNews reported.

The delegation comprised of Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, PPP MNA Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, PPP MNA Nadeem Afzal Chan, PPP Senator Sughra Imam, PPP MNA Yasmeen Rehman and Federal Minister for Political Affairs Maula Bakhsh Chandio.

Thousands of Hazara men, women and children are continuing their protest sit-in for the third consecutive day. They refuse to bury those who died in Saturday’s explosion on Kirani Road, HazaraTown, unless action is taken against the perpetrators.

The protesters’ demand at all these places is the same: Call in the army in Quetta and take immediate action against the extremist militant group, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, which in recent months has played havoc with Shias, mainly the peaceful Hazara community of Balochistan, through a string of attacks.

The delegation is expected to hold negotiations with the protesters and convince them to bury the victims.

PM orders for targeted operation in Quetta

DAWN.COM




Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has ordered on Tuesday the security forces to begin targeted operations in Quetta, DawnNews reported.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s spokesperson, Prime Minister Raja ordered for the initiation of targeted operations in Quetta adding that those responsible for the Quetta carnage should be targeted.

The statement further said that immediate action should be taken in those areas where information indicates presence of terrorist elements and that security forces should conduct targeted operations.

The spokesman further said that the prime minister would monitor the Quetta operation.

Moreover Prime Minister also ordered for the removal of Balochistan’s Inspector General of Police, Tariq Umer Khatab, and replaced him with Mushtaq Sukhera media channels reported. The prime minister also ordered the transfer of various other police officials posted in Balochistan.

Meanwhile, thousands of Shia protested for a third day in Quetta, demanding the army take control of the city and launch a targeted operation against sectarian militant groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).

The group claimed responsibility for the bombing Saturday that killed 87 people and one in January that killed at least 93.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Quetta tragedy: MQM submits adjournment motion in Senate

February 18, 2013 - Updated 1616 PKT
From Web Edition



ISLAMABAD: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)'s senator Tahir Mashadi submitted adjournment motion in Senate over Hazara killings in Quetta on Monday, terming the tragedy as failure of secret agencies, Geo News reported.

Tahir Mushadi pointed in adjournment motion that killings of 96 people in Quetta blast is the evidence that government has failed to assured protection of members of Hazara community and no strategy has been made to foil such attempts.

The Senator said that truck was filled with explosives in workshop to attack Hazara community but security agencies remained unaware.

Mashadi demanded of the government to arrest criminals immediately and to make strategy to overcome terrorism.

Sit-ins held in several cities over Quetta carnage

DAWN.COM



People in Karachi shout slogans as they react against Saturday’s bomb attack in Quetta, Feb 17, 2013. — Photo by AFP

KARACHI: Demonstrations were held in different cities of the country including Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Monday on the call of the Shia Ulema Council over the deadly bombing in Quetta that claimed at least 84 lives, DawnNews reported.

Traders in Karachi had announced a shut-down until 4:30 om whereas the protestors continued their sit-ins.

Shops and markets were earlier shut down in parts of Karachi and traffic was scarce. Furthermore, a number of government and private educational institutions were also closed and the strike was also affecting the schedule of the flights and trains to and from the city.

Women and children were also partaking in the sit-ins being held at the city’s M A Jinnah road’s Numaish chowrangi, Aisha Manzil, Ancholi, Shahrah-i-Pakistan and Shahrah-i-Faisal.

Moreover, flight schedules were also being affected as the patch between Drigh Road and the airport was sealed. A sit-in was also staged on the railway track in Malir Town which had led to affecting the schedule of trains traveling to and from the city.

The protesters and participants of the sit-ins say they would continue to demonstrate until the demands of the heirs of those killed and wounded in the bombing are not met.

The Pakistan Bar Council, Sindh High Court Bar Association, Karachi Bar Association and Malir Bar Association boycotted court proceedings to protest against the killings of innocent citizens in Quetta.

Some enraged protestors in Islamabad engaged in rioting near the Faizabad bridge injuring several media persons including a camera man of DawnNews.

The routes to Islamabad airport were also blocked by the protestors.

Similarly the activists of the Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) held protests outside the Governor’s house in Lahore. Lawyers belonging to the Lahore Bar Association had announced a boycott of court proceeding over the Saturday’s carnage in Quetta.

Earlier on Sunday, demonstrations and sit-ins were held in most several and towns across the country. There were calls for handing over Quetta to the army to protect the life and property of the people, particularly of the Hazara Shia community.

CJ takes suo motu notice of Quetta bombing

DawnNews




The Supreme Court will begin hearing the case on Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top judge on Monday took suo motu notice of a deadly bombing which claimed 84 lives in Quetta, the provincial capital of restive Balochistan, DawnNews reported.

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, will begin hearing the case from Tuesday, Feb 19.

Notices have been issued to the Attorney General and Advocate General Balochistan. The suo motu notice was taken on a notice forwarded by the SC Registrar’s office.

زنان هزاره مانع خاکسپاری اجساد قربانیان انفجار کویته شدند


به روز شده: 10:42 گرينويچ - دوشنبه 18 فوريه 2013 - 30 بهمن 1391


زنان قوم هزاره پاکستان مانع دفن اجساد قربانیان بمبگذاری مرگبار اخیر در یک مرکز تجاری در شهر کویته شدند.

مسلمانان شیعه قوم هزاره نسبت به حمایت ناکافی نیروهای امنیتی محلی و ملی از خود در پی حملات مکرر اخیر خشمگین هستند.


انفجار روز شنبه گذشته در یک بازار شلوغ شهر کویته در جنوب غرب پاکستان، دست کم ۸۴ تن را کشت و ۱۶۹ نفر را زخمی کرد.

این دومین حمله بزرگ از نوع خود در سال جاری میلادی است که مسئولیت آن را یک گروه تندرو سنی موسوم به لشکر جنگوی به عهده گرفته است.

حدود چهار هزار زن از شامگاه روز یکشنبه در اعتراض به این کشتار دست به اعتصاب زده‎اند.

به گزارش خبرگزاری فرانسه، آنها گفته‎اند تا زمانی که اقدامی علیه بمبگذاران روی دست گرفته نشده، از برگزاری مراسم خاکسپاری قربانیان انفجار روز شنبه خودداری می‎کنند.

قیوم چنگیزی از رهبران هزاره پاکستان به این خبرگزاری گفت که "ما کشته شدگان را تا وقتی که عملیاتی هدفمند در این زمینه آغاز نشده به خاک نمی‎سپاریم".

گزارشها حاکی است که هزاران نفر از قوم هزاره اجساد قربانیان را به یک مسجد محلی منتقل کردند و به دنبال آن به عوض به خاک سپردن آنها، دست به اعتراض زدند.

هزاره ها چه کسانی هستند؟

هزاره ‎ها عمدتاً در مناطق کوهستانی مرکز افغانستان زندگی می‎کنند که هزاره‎جات نامیده می‎شود
بخش اعظم جمعیت هزاره شیعه مذهب و شماری از آنها پیرو مذهب سنی هستند
حد اقل ۶۰۰ هزار نفر هزاره در کویته پاکستان هستند که عمدتا از مهاجران افغان هستند.
بیشتر آنها در پی قتل عام هزاره‎ها در زمان سلطنت امیر عبدالرحمان خان در ۹۲-۱۸۹۱ از افغانستان به پاکستان مهاجر شدند.
شهر کویته برای هزاره‎ها یکی از راههای اصلی برای رفتن به زیارت شیعیان در ایران محسوب می‎شود.
تندروان سنی پاکستان هزاره‎ها را به وابستگی به ایران متهم می‎کنند

از اعتصاب و اعتراض در برخی جاهای دیگر پاکستان و از جمله شهر کراچی، پایتخت تجاری پاکستان هم گزارش شده است.

در همین حال، شماری از فعالان مدنی در ولایت بامیان در مرکز افغانستان هم اقدام به کلیکاعتصاب غذا کرده و خواستار مداخله سازمان ملل برای توقف کشتار هزاره‎های پاکستان شده‎اند.

گروه تندرو لشکر جنگوی گفته که در این بمبگذاری، که عمدتا هزاره‎ها را هدف قرار داد، دست داشته است.

این دومین حمله بزرگ و ویرانگر در شهر کویته در یک ماه اخیر بوده است. بمبگذاری ماه ژانویه حدود ۹۰ نفر را کشت.

انفجار بمبی دیگر در یک مسجد شیعیان در اواخر فوریه ۲۴ نفر را کشت که شمار کشته شدگان هزاره این نوع رویدادها را به بیش از ۲۰۰ نفر در دو ماه نخست سال ۲۰۱۳ میلادی رساند.

روز یکشنبه نواب ذوالفقار مگسی فرماندار بلوچستان پاکستان گفت که دستگاه‌های امنیتی و انتظامی این کشور "یا در حالت ترس از تروریست‌ها به سر می‎برند و یا اصلا خبر ندارند که با چه کسی طرف هستند".

او گفت: "این وظیفه آنها است که از وقوع این گونه حملات جلوگیری کنند. به همین دلیل به آنها حقوق پرداخته می‎شود."

حملات مکرر و هدف علیه هزاره‎های پاکستان، که صدها قربانی گرفته، شماری از آنها را مجبور به فرار از این کشور کرده 
است.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on Kirani Massacre


LATEST STATEMENTS

New York, 17 February 2013 - Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on sectarian violence in Pakistan

The Secretary-General strongly condemns the terrorist attack carried out yesterday in Quetta, Pakistan, targeting the Shi’a Hazara community which resulted in more than 80 persons killed and nearly 200 wounded, many of them women and children.
This is the second terrorist bombing in the same city and against the same community since last month. In the face of this latest attack on religious and ethnic minorities in Pakistan, the Secretary-General calls for swift and determined action against those claiming responsibility and perpetrating such actions.
The Secretary-General conveys his heartfelt condolences to the families of all the victims. He reiterates the strong support of the United Nations for efforts by the Government and people of Pakistan to protect religious and ethnic minorities and to combat the scourge of terrorism.


Outrage across country at Quetta carnage

From the Newspaper | Dawn Report



Shias mourn the death of relatives as they gather with coffins of bomb attack victims during a protest in Quetta on February 17, 2013. — Photo by AFP

•Death toll tops 84 •Army deployment sought: Outrage across country at Quetta carnage

Outrage over Quetta massacre erupted all over the country on Sunday with people expressing solidarity with the Hazara community and demanding immediate steps to punish the culprits.

Demonstrations and sit-ins were held in most cities and towns in the country. There were calls for handing over Quetta to army to protect the life and property of the people, particularly of the Hazara Shia community.

Quetta and several other towns in Balochistan closed in protest and in Karachi a call was given for a strike in the city on Monday. Traders and transporters supported the strike call. Schools in the city will remain closed.

Saleem Shahid adds from Quetta: The Saturday carnage toll rose to 84 on Sunday but the bodies of the victims were not buried and some Shia organisations said the burial would take place only after Quetta was handed over to the army.

At least 169 people, including women and children, were injured in the massive explosion that rocked the entire city and destroyed four markets and 100 shops. A further rise in the toll is feared as, according to hospital sources, over 20 men and women with critical injuries are battling for their lives.

Leaders of the Shia community criticised the federal government and the Balochistan administration under the governor’s rule for having failed to act effectively against the terrorists involved in attacks on the Hazaras.

Tehrik Nifaz-i-Fiqa Jafria chief Agha Syed Hamid Ali Shah Moosvi, in a statement issued in Rawalpindi, urged the government to admit that it had failed to provide security to people.

The TNFJ leader said things were going from bad to worse and if the government was not able to protect the Hazara people from terrorists, it should provide them weapons and military training and enable them to defend themselves against the onslaught of sectarian terrorism.

“The toll has risen to 84 after some seriously injured people died at the Combined Military Hospital,” DIG Wazir Khan Nasar told Dawn.

But unofficial sources put the death toll at 96.

Over 70 bodies were handed over to families of the victims. But around a dozen bodies, charred beyond recognition, are lying in the morgue of the hospital.

“DNA test would be conducted to establish their identity,” hospital sources said.

Twenty people were missing, according to leaders of the Hazara community.

Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen, Balochistan Shia Conference and Milli Yakjehti Council failed to reach an agreement on burying the victims.

The Majlis leadership said no burial would take place until the army was deployed to protect the Hazara community and a targeted operation was launched against the banned organisation behind such attacks.

But leaders of the Milli Yakjehti Council wanted the dead to be buried but supported the demands made by the Majlis. Sources said a final decision would be taken on Monday.

The bodies have been kept in Imambargah of Hazara Town and in an open place adjacent to the graveyard in the town.

Meanwhile, about 2500 women of the Hazara community took out a procession and held a demonstration in protest against the carnage. Later, they held a sit-in with coffins of the bodies. They said they would not allow the burial until the city was given army’s control.

The Majlis leaders took part in the sit-in. Addressing a news conference, Majlis leader Daud Agha said the community had been pushed against the wall.

Also on Sunday, a gathering was held in connection with the Chehlum of the victims of Jan 10 Alamdar Road terrorist attacks.

Talking to reporters on the occasion, Allama Sajid Naqvi of the Islami Tehrik-i-Pakistan said: “Killing of Shia people in bomb blasts and other terrorist attacks has been continuing unabated for several years because of the government’s abject failure to act decisively to punish terrorists.”

He called upon the government to expose the sponsors of terrorism and uproot their network.

Abdul Qayyum Changezi of the council urged the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take notice of bomb blasts and other heinous crimes in Balochistan.

Around 100 people were killed in the Jan 10 twin blasts and their bodies were not buried until Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf reached Quetta and announced dismissal of the provincial government and imposition of governor’s rule in the province.

Chief Secretary of Balochistan Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad visited the hospital on Sunday and enquired after the health of the injured. He said arrangements had been made to take seriously injured people to Karachi.

Heavy contingents of Frontier Corps, Balochistan Constabulary and police patrolled the city. A large number of law-enforcement personnel was deployed in and around Hazara Town, Alamdar Road and other areas.

Roads leading to Alamdar Road and Hazara Town were blocked with containers and barricades.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

کوئٹہ کے ہزارہ ٹاؤن میں دھماکہ، 54 ہلاک 178 زخمی


آخری وقت اشاعت: ہفتہ 16 فروری 2013 ,‭ 16:22 GMT 21:22 PST




گورنر راج کے نفاذ کے بعد یہ ہزاری برادری کے خلاف سب سے بڑا دہشت گردی کا واقعہ ہے

پاکستان کے صوبہ بلوچستان کے دارالحکومت کوئٹہ میں پولیس کے مطابق بم دھماکے کے نتیجے میں چون افراد ہلاک جبکہ ایک سو اناسی سے زیادہ زخمی ہو گئے ہیں۔

بلوچستان پولیس کے ترجمان ڈی آئی جی انویسٹی گیشن فیاض سنبل نے بی بی سی سے بات کرتے ہوئے ان ہلاکتوں اور زخمی افراد کی تصدیق کی ہے۔



اس سے قبل بلوچستان کے ڈی آئی جی وزیر خان ناصر نے بی بی سی کو تفصیلات بتاتے ہوئے بتایا کہ یہ دھماکہ کوئٹہ کے علاقے ہزارہ ٹاؤن میں ہوا جہاں ہزارہ برادری سے تعلق رکھنے والے افراد رہتے ہیں۔

انہوں نے بتایا کہ یہ ایک ریمورٹ کنٹرول بم تھا جسے سڑک کے کنارے پر نصب کیا گیا تھا۔

ہلاک اور زخمی ہونے والوں کو قریب ہی واقع بولان میڈیکل کمپلیکس اور سی ایم ایچ کوئٹہ لیجایا گیا ہے اور ان میں خواتین اور بچے بھی شامل ہیں۔

بڑی تعداد میں زخمیوں کی وجہ سے یہ خدشہ ظاہر کیا جا رہا ہے کہ ہلاکتوں کی تعداد بڑھ سکتی ہے۔

ہزارہ ٹاؤن سے تعلق رکھنے والے قادر نائل نے بتایا کہ ’یہ دھماکہ جس علاقے میں ہوا وہ کرانی روڈ سے متصل ہے اور اس کے ایک جانب ہزارہ ٹاؤن اور دوسری جانب نیو ہزارہ ٹاؤن ہے۔‘

قادر نے مزید بتایا کہ یہ علاقہ شام کے اوقات میں انتہائی مصروف ہوتا جہاں گھریلو خواتین بڑی تعداد میں سبزی اور فروٹ کی خریداری کے لیے آتی ہیں۔ اس علاقے میں اے بڑی سبزی اور فروٹ کی ریڑھیوں کی منڈی لگتی ہے جس کی وجہ سے بہت رش ہوتا ہے۔ اس کے علاوہ اس کے ساتھ ہی ایک میدان ہے جس میں نوجوان والی بال اور ایک ہزارہ روایتی کھیل کھیلتے ہیں۔‘

اس دھماکے کی زمہ داری کالعدم تنظیم لشکرِ جھنگوی کے ترجمان نے بی بی سی کو فون کر کے قبول کی ہے۔

بلوچستان میں گورنر راج کے نفاذ کے بعد ہزارہ برادری کے افراد کے خلاف یہ سب سے بڑا دہشت گردی کا واقعہ ہے۔

یاد رہے کہ دس جنوری کو علمدار روڈ پر ہونے والے دو بم دھماکوں کے بعد ہزارہ برادری سے تعلق رکھنے والے افراد نے اپنی میتوں کو دفن کرنے سے انکار کرتے ہوئے کئی روز تک دھرنا دیا۔

اس دھرنے کا اختتام بلوچستان میں نواب اسلم رئیسانی کی حکومت کے خاتمے اور گورنر راج کے نفاذ کے فیصلے کے بعد کیا گیا تھا۔
 

20 killed, 157 injured in blast on Kirani Road in Quetta


Published: February 16, 2013




Contest agreements reached over Reko Diq and Gwadar deep sea port.



QUETTA: At least twenty people were killed and over 157 injured in a blast on Kariani Road in Quetta on Saturday, Express News has reported. The area is reported to be located near Hazara Town.

Sources told Express News that women and children are also amongst the casualties.

Security forces and the Bomb Disposal Squad have cordoned off the area, fearing another blast. A search operation has also been launched.

The relief teams were allowed in only after the bomb site was cleared.

Officials said most of the dead were members of Hazara shia minority.

Due to lack of rescue services, people are moving the injured victims to hospitals on Alamdar road by themselves.

Emergency has been declared at Civil, Civil-Military Hospital and Bolan Medical Complex (BMC) hospitals.

The injured have been shifted the CMH where many of them are reportedly in serious condition.

“Dozens of people were also injured. We have announced an emergency in hospitals,” Provincial home secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani said.

“It was a remote-controlled bomb,” Wazir Khan Nasir, senior police officer in Quetta, told AFP.

Durrani confirmed the incident and told AFP that the dead included women and children.

Express Tribune 

Ali Abad Suicide Attack Raw Pictorial Report










15 killed in blast on Kirani Road in Quetta


By Web Desk

Published: February 16, 2013

Contest agreements reached over Reko Diq and Gwadar deep sea port.

QUETTA: At least fifteen people were killed in a blast on Kariani Road in Quetta on Saturday, Express News has reported. The area is reported to be located near Hazara Town.

Sources told Express News that women and children are also amongst the casualties.

Security forces and the Bomb Disposal Squad have cordoned off the area, fearing another blast.

The relief teams were allowed in, only after the bomb site was cleared.

A large number of people have reportedly been injured as a result of the blast. Due to lack of rescue services, people are moving the injured victims to hospitals on Alamdar road by themselves.

Emergency has been declared at Civil, CMH and BMC hospitals and many of the injured victims are reportedly in serious condition.

Express News