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.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Quetta Street Boxing Pkg

Walayat hussain Advocate Murder PKG

Taxi Driver Family Pkg

Why ethnic Hazaras flee their home

Published Date: September 30, 2011

Quetta is a small city located in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, a couple of hours by road from the Afghan border. It is the administrative centre of Baluchistan and a second home to hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees who have settled in the city following the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent outbreak of the Afghan civil war. (Hadi Zaher,

Among them are tens of thousands of Hazaras, adding to an older community that arrived there a century earlier after the invasion of the Hazara homeland in Afghanistan’s central highlands by Amir Abdur Rehman, known in the British Empire as Afghanistan’s Iron Amir.

The Hazaras adhere to the Shiite branch of Islam, distinct from the Sunni Islam, by far Islam’s largest sect.

Quetta’s Hazara population is divided between two township slums in the east and west of the city. Many in the community own small shops, others depend on remittances from Iran, the Gulf States, Europe and Australia. Most families are divided across many political borders with relatives living in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Some of these people live legally, some have been able to obtain UNHCR refugee cards, but most have to make regular payments to local authorities and the police to avoid incarceration and deportation. This community has become the target of killings and massacres and its members have been forced to flee for their lives.

The list of attacks specifically targeting the Hazara community is long. Members of the community, easily distinguishable for their Mongoloid features, bear the brunt of Pakistan’s sectarian violence. Almost every time the killers have got away and each time the Taliban affiliated Pakistan-based sectarian outfit Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) has claimed responsibility.

LeJ has a declared agenda to rid Pakistan of all Shiites, who they consider heretics and liable to be killed. Leaflets distributed by the group have declared Hazaras and Shiite Muslims to be “infidels”. Followers are urged to take “extreme steps”, much like ones carried out by the Taliban in Afghanistan.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Boy Mir: Ten Years in Afghanistan – review

This documentary chronicling a decade in the life of a young Afghan is an eye-opening insight into the country's difficulties

Andrew Pulver, Thursday 29 September 2011 17.10 EDT

Man's world ... The Boy Mir: Ten Years in Afghanistan

An epic labour of righteousness from British documentary-maker Phil Grabsky, who evidently travelled to Afghanistan every year since 2002, to film updates on the charismatic little kid he found while making an earlier film, The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan. What emerges is an unadorned chronicle of grinding poverty: Mir starts at school, but is gradually sidetracked into a life of ploughing and coalmining as his father becomes too ill to work. In some ways, Mir's story is that of the universal early-teen – he pines after a motorbike, wants to ring girls, skips lessons – but there's the extra edge of civil war and Taliban-inspired carnage in the background. But the most powerful warning is Mir's rueful stepbrother Khushdel, who bitterly regrets his own lack of schooling.


Baat Niklay Gee-Ep 32-Part 2

Why Pakistan's Shiites are worried to death; FRANCE 24

With barely a month going by without a sectarian attack, Pakistan’s Shiite minority is now a terrified community. But are the Pakistani state and the all-powerful military to blame?

By Leela JACINTO (text)

It was a dreaded midnight call, as chilling as it was brief, that upended Amjad Hussein’s world, forcing him to flee the city of his birth, leaving his wife and two young children behind.

On April 16, just hours after a suicide attack at a hospital in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta killed 10 people, Hussein got an anonymous phone call.

“The caller, who I could not trace, said, ‘this time, you escaped. Next time you won’t,” recalled Hussein in a phone interview with FRANCE 24 from Pakistan. “That’s it. It was just two or three sentences.”

Hussein decided he wasn’t going to stick around for the next time.

Terrifying though it was, the call was not surprising.

Journalist Amjad Hussein had to leave his family and flee Quetta for Islamabad after receiving an anonymous death threat.
An ethnic Hazara, a historically persecuted, predominantly Shiite Muslim minority, Hussein was a reporter at a Pakistani national news station. The Quetta hospital attack had occurred as local journalists were interviewing the family and friends of a Hazara businessman who had been killed earlier that day.

As a journalist, Hussein had extensively covered the rise in deadly anti-Shiite attacks in the northwestern province of Baluchistan, of which Quetta is the provincial capital.

There were not too many Hazara journalists working for the mainstream Pakistani media and Hussein was a high profile figure - which can be a dangerous thing in Pakistan today.

Shortly after the call, the 38-year-old father of two decided it was time to leave Quetta for the relative safety of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. But on his reporter’s salary, he could not afford to bring his wife and children along and so, he says, he lives in a constant state of anxiety about their security.

Fear and loathing among Pakistan’s Shiites

The level of fear and loathing has been steadily rising among Pakistan’s Shiite community, which comprises around 20 percent of the population in this predominantly Sunni Muslim nation.

Last week’s attack on a group of Hazara pilgrims - who were forced off a bus, lined up and shot dead execution-style in Baluchistan - was particularly shocking even by the grim standards of violence-riddled Pakistan.

A virulently anti-Shiite extremist group, the Lashkar-e-Janghvi, claimed responsibility for the attack. A particularly vicious offshoot of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba group, the Lashkar-e-Janghvi – or LeJ – has worked closely with al Qaeda networks in Pakistan, according to security experts.

But unlike al Qaeda, the LeJ gets scant attention in the international community – and even, it seems, in Pakistani government and law enforcement circles.

In a flurry of statements condemning the attacks, international and domestic human rights groups blasted “the Pakistan government and its security forces” for “abdicating their responsibility” to defend its citizens from a “deadly form of discrimination”.

‘Deep state’ fuels the Pakistani rumor mill

But within the Shiite community – and in some non-Shiite circles as well - there is a widespread belief that Pakistan’s military-intelligence complex, the real power in this South Asian nation, is not just amiss at protecting minorities, but is actively supporting virulently sectarian extremist groups.

The release in July of the virulently anti-Shiite LeJ chief only appeared to confirm their fears. Malik Ishaq, the controversial LeJ leader, was re-arrested Wednesday following the international outcry over the September 20 attacks on the Hazara pilgrims.

When it comes to proving the involvement of Pakistan’s famously shadowy military-intelligence network though, most analysts and human rights experts admit that such allegations can be as challenging to discount as they are to prove.

“Trying to present evidence as to the direct linkage – by that I mean evidence presentable in a court of law – is difficult,” said Ayesha Siddiqa, a leading Pakistani security and military commentator whose book, “Military Inc.” is considered a reference on the Pakistani military’s substantial business empire.

“But there certainly is circumstantial evidence. The very fact that the military is supporting some groups, which in turn have linkages with groups with deeply sectarian agendas, is considered a linkage. Don’t forget that Pakistan has grown as a Sunni state where some of the foreign policy tools and the security policy tools are militant outfits that are considered state assets,” Siddiqa added.

The historic weakness of Pakistani civilian governments combined with the all-powerful military’s alleged “double-game” of cooperating with international anti-terror efforts while supporting certain militant Islamist groups has not only affected Pakistan’s standing in the international community, it has also fostered a culture of conspiracy and mistrust among its citizens.

Faced with a vast military intelligence apparatus that includes the infamous ISI spy agency and a variety of security directorates from whose cells many opposition and dissident figures have not emerged alive, the Pakistani rumour mill is alive with allegations that the “deep state” – a popular term for the shadowy military intelligence apparatus – is responsible for a variety of ills that have beset the nation in recent times.

Charged for murder – and released

For many Pakistani Shiites, LeJ chief Malik Ishaq’s release from prison in July after spending 14 years in jail was proof – if it were necessary - of complicity between Pakistani authorities and anti-sectarian groups.

A native of Punjab, Pakistan’s most-populated province, Ishaq was accused of killing 70 people and faced 44 criminal charges, 34 of which have been dropped due to lack of evidence.

One of the charges against Ishaq is for involvement in the planning – while in prison – of the March 2009 attack on the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. Security experts say the group also collaborated with al Qaeda in the deadly September 2008 attack on Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel.

While little is known about Ishaq in the West, most Pakistanis know him as the militant who was reportedly flown out of jail by the Pakistani military to negotiate with assailants during the hours-long, hugely embarrassing 2009 attack on the Pakistani Army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Shortly after his release in July, Ishaq embarked on an incendiary public speaking tour, addressing crowds of fired-up, slogan-chanting supporters.

Just days after the September 20 attack on the Hazara pilgrims, Ishaq was put under a 10-day preventative detention – a period of house arrest during which time a detainee has access to communications via cell phones and the Internet – allegedly for his own safety.

It was a protection that, some critics noted, was not adequately provided to terrified witnesses during his trial, one of many factors in the Pakistani prosecution’s dismal record on attempting to convict Ishaq.

By Wednesday though, Ishaq was back behind bars, detained – but not yet charged – under a public order act, according to police officials.

‘Good’ militant groups vs. ‘bad’ militant groups

Muhammad Amir Rana, director of the Islamabad-based Pak Institute for Peace Studies, speculates that Ishaq’s July release was possibly linked to a much-touted government militant rehabilitation programme, or that his release was a part of a political compromise with the Punjab provincial government.

“Ishaq has the capacity to activate terrorist cells although he has promised not to get involved in violence. But what is the guarantee of this, the government has not revealed,” said Rana.

Rana believes that in its attempts to counter rising Islamist violence, the Pakistani government should tackle the ambiguity between terrorists and sectarian organisations on a policy level.

“The Pakistani government needs to evolve a multifold approach to tacking this problem,” said Rana. “It’s important to differentiate between terrorist organisations and sectarian organisations.”

But Siddiqa is extremely critical of such an approach.

“It’s as if sectarian violence has a less serious connotation, it shows you how seriously they take this,” she fumed. “Such an argument completely misconstrues the various dimensions of the ideology of Sunni Deobandi militant organisations, which view attacks on religious minorities or attacking the US as various dimensions of the same central point.”

The new powerbrokers

A longstanding reason for the Pakistani state’s soft approach to anti-Shiite groups has been the pervasive Arab-Iranian jostling for influence which gets played out in a Sunni majority nation that shares a 900-kilometer border with Iran, the world’s Shiite powerhouse.

But many Pakistani experts believe the answer to the state’s indulgence of groups such as LeJ lies closer to home.

The LeJ, the argument goes, has a growing core of loyal supporters who represent a sizeable vote bank, which makes figures such a Ishaq powerbrokers in regional and national elections.

With presidential and parliamentary elections tentatively set for 2013, Siddiqa believes their influence will only increase.

“They are the new arbiters, the local players who are fast replacing the state,” said Siddiqa. “If anyone imagines that Malik Ishaq will have no role to play in the next elections, they’re only fooling themselves.”

With a prognosis like that, the future does not look bright for Hazaras such as Hussain.

Originally hailing from central Afghanistan, the Hazara community in Pakistan is primarily comprised of migrants who fled persecution more than a century ago as well as newer migrants who fled the Taliban regime. While they hold Pakistani nationality, Hazaras are often easily identified by their central Asian features and have historically borne the brunt of religious persecution in the region.

With the Muslim holy month of Muharram starting end-November, human rights groups such as Amnesty International have warned that sectarian violence could rise.

“Worried? Of course we’re worried,” said Amjad Hussain, on the line from Islamabad. “Even talking to the press is dangerous. But what can I do? I can’t just watch my community being killed. Our only options are to appeal to the international community – and if we’re lucky enough, to immigrate to other [Western] countries such as Australia and Canada.”


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The suicide path

I.A Rehman

A SERIES of atrocities recently committed against members of minority communities shows that the canker of sectarian violence is posing for Pakistan a much greater threat than is generally realised, especially by the establishment.

The killing of 29 Shia pilgrims near Mastung set some kind of a record in bestiality; the innocent travellers were forced to alight from their bus, lined up and cut down in cold blood. That this was no isolated act by some mentally deranged gangsters was soon confirmed when a similar event, though on a smaller scale, was reported from Quetta and an extremist organisation, supposedly banned by the government, accepted responsibility for both outrages.

These incidents should be seen in the context of the killing and harassment of the Hazara community in Quetta, that have been going on for years, and the excesses being committed against the Shias in Kurram Agency.

Three conclusions are obvious. First, the size of the population threatened by the wave of sectarian violence has increased by a wide margin. Secondly, the targeted groups are no longer threatened with loss of job or property; their right to life itself is denied. And, thirdly, the addition of minority-bashing to the Al Qaeda’s agenda has greatly enhanced the strength of the forces that are challenging the state of Pakistan in this regard.

Discrimination including violence against communities that are non-Muslim by choice (Hindus, Christians, Sikhs et al) and those put in this bracket against their will (Ahmedis) has been on the increase for several years. That meant about five per cent of the population, or nine million people, were threatened. Even that was not a small number. The addition of the Shias to the people earmarked for extermination should raise the figure of endangered Pakistanis to 15 to 20 per cent of the population — 27 to 36 million people. Does it not put the need to combat sectarianism at the top of the national agenda?

Traditionally, attacks on minorities were limited to demands for their purge from services, denial of promotion or recruitment, exclusion from housing colonies and similar forms of economic and social discrimination. Now the target groups are threatened with physical liquidation. In some cases, the possibility of one escaping death by ‘conversion to Islam’ is not even mentioned. Such threats carry seeds of pogroms that no sane person can possibly contemplate with equanimity.

So long as violence against the Shia community was the work of local hate-preachers employed or aided by some politicians in the Khanewal and Jhang districts any conscientious district official could deal with them. Now there is considerable evidence of organisational link-ups between anti-Shia militants of Punjabi origin and the Sunni extremists in the Al Qaeda-Taliban high command.

The danger of the anti-Shia drive being made into a duty under jihad cannot be ignored. That could increase sectarian prejudices among the government personnel. The religio-political parties that do not oppose militants and inwardly support them are unlikely to protest against Shia killings (as they do not condemn killers of Ahmedis or those who defend the blasphemy accused), leading to a wider acceptability of Shia killings. The government’s ability to deal with violators of the law will surely decline.

The increase in anti-Shia sectarian violence is fuelling intolerance in other areas. The excesses against the Ahmedis are on the increase. Every now and then an Ahmedi is killed for his belief. The intimidation and harassment of an Ahmedi couple who burnt their savings to set up a college in Duniyapur, in Lodhran district of Punjab, continues unabated. The latest is a movement for a complete social boycott of Ahmedis in Pachnand, Chakwal district, that includes expulsion of Ahmedi boys and girls from schools, boycott of Ahmedi shops and refusal to allow them seats on buses. The persecution of a Christian student by unjustly accusing her of blasphemy is just one of the many forms anti-minority mania can take.

Many factors have contributed to the growth of sectarian violence in Pakistan, beginning with flaws in the theory of the state and the various steps taken towards its theocratisation. But one of the main factors has been the state’s failure to deal with the element of criminality in sectarianism. Most of the perpetrators of horrible crimes against the minorities have remained untracked.

Many instances of collusion between sectarian killers and law-enforcement agencies have come to light. Cases against leaders of sectarian gangs have failed because of police reluctance to place evidence against them before the courts. But while failure to arrest sectarian killers can be understood because of difficulties in identifying them, no excuse is available in the case of known instigators of sectarian hatred.

All over the country, bookshops are full of publications that preach hatred against non-Muslims and the various Muslim sects and call for violence. Oral statements are made to the same effect from a variety of forums. Members of minority communities are receiving death threats through letters signed by persons who can be identified by the addresses of their organisations and phone/fax numbers. By declining to proceed against these hate-preachers the state indicts itself of complicity with some of the most despicable criminals in the country.

And this despite the fact that hate-preaching and incitement to sectarian violence have been recognised as crimes for 150 years. Action can be taken under a variety of laws, including the Pakistan Penal Code and Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance. Suppression of sectarian violence and hatred was in fact one of the objectives for which the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 was enacted. It defines an action as terrorism if it “incites hatred and contempt on religious, sectarian or ethnic basis to stir up violence or cause internal disturbance”. One does have serious reservations about this law but if it can be invoked against students (for making modest demands) and lawyers (for demanding the rule of law) its non-application to those who propagate sectarian hatred is a scandal of the first order.

True, violence and discrimination against the minorities is only a part of the mess that has been created in Pakistan by systematic abuse and exploitation of people’s belief. It will take a lot of concerted effort over a long time to restore sanity of thought, but there can be no delay in guaranteeing the minorities the protection of the law.

The point cannot be over-emphasised. If the state of Pakistan cannot afford the protection of law to the Shia, the Ahmedi and any other community, no additional evidence will be required to brand it as a failed state. Indeed, a state that puts five to 20 per cent of its population at the mercy of bloodthirsty goons forfeits its claim to be accepted as a modern state. What is at stake is not only the life and liberty of a Hazara, or an Ahmedi or a Christian citizen; at stake is the survival of the Pakistani nation. Denial of minorities’ rights has always meant that the majority has taken the suicide path.


فیلم 'میر' برنده جایزه مستند بریتانیه

Top officials have no time to visit

Mumtaz Alvi
Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ISLAMABAD: A distraught legislator belonging to Hazara community, Nasir Ali Shah, on Monday alleged the president and prime minister were power hungry and that was why they ignored massacres of his people, for they considered them as insects and useless animals.

He also referred to millions of flood victims in Sindh, who had been left to die hungry and ill and said the rulers had plenty of funds for their lavish lifestyle but for flood victims they posed as if they had no money and sought foreign help. Shah, who was elected from Quetta in 2008 and his voters were overwhelmingly Hazaras, lamented the community he belonged to, was also a victim of conspiracy. He has survived at least two attempts on his life during the last few months.

“Zardari and Gilani may try to convince me but I have the firm opinion that they are power hungry and engaged in political expediencies. Anything else is of no value to them,” the angry lawmaker charged.

Hazaras have been living in Quetta and some other parts of the province for decades but they never faced this much intensity of barbarism: they also live in Loralai, Sibbi, Khuzdar, Zhob, Mach and some other areas.

“It is mind-boggling that they are singled out for acts of terrorism in Quetta while in other districts, Hazara community peacefully co-exists with other communities such as Baloch, Pathan and other sections of people,” he pointed out.

“I have availed every forum, be it the floor of parliament, President, PM, Governor and CM Balochistan over the latest wave of terrorism but this has been a totally useless exercise and systematic killing of poor Hazaras continues.” He complained no top government functionary had time to visit the bereaved families for condolences, who had lost their loved ones.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


LeJ: Sectarian Impunity

By South Asia Intelligence Review/IBNS

On September 20, 2011, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) militants shot dead 29 Shias in two separate incidents in Balochistan. In the first incident, a bus carrying 45 Shia pilgrims, travelling from Quetta, the provincial capital, to Taftan (Iran), came under attack in Mastung. About 10 assailants, riding on a twin-cab pick-up and armed with AK-47 rifles and rocket launchers, intercepted the bus, ordered all the passengers out and then opened indiscriminate fire, killing 26 and injuring another five. An hour after the first attack, militants killed another three Shias, who Police said were relatives of victims of the first incident en route to collect their bodies, on the outskirts of Quetta. Claiming the attack, LeJ 'spokesperson' Ali Sher Haideri declared that his outfit would continue to target people from the Shia community.

Three days later, on September 23, three Shias were killed and another four injured in an attack on a passenger van on the outskirts of Quetta.

On August 31, 2011, an LeJ suicide bomber had killed at least 11 Shias and injured 22 during Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations in a Shiite mosque in Quetta.

According to partial data compiled by the Institute for Conflict Management a total of 2,555 sectarian attacks have taken place across Pakistan since 1989, inflicting a total of 3,622 fatalities.

Some of the major attacks (involving three or more fatalities) in 2010-11 include:

July 29, 2011: LeJ militants killed at least seven people, including four Shias, waiting to travel to Mashhad in Iran, at a bus terminal on Saryab Road in Quetta.

May 18, 2011: At least seven Shias, including a passerby, were killed and six others sustained bullet injuries in an attack near the Killi Kamalo area of Quetta.

September 1, 2010: 43 persons were killed and another 230 injured in two suicide attacks and one grenade attack on a Shia procession marking Hazrat Ali's martyrdom in Lahore. LeJ Al-Alami claimed responsibility for the three attacks, which occurred minutes apart in the Bhaati Gate locality of Lahore.

April 17, 2010: Two burqa-clad suicide bombers targeted a crowd of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) waiting to get registered and receive relief goods at the Kacha Pakka IDP camp on the outskirts of Kohat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), formerly known as North West Frontier Province (NWFP), killing at least 44 and injuring more than 70. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi's Al-Aalmi faction claimed responsibility for the bombings, and cited the presence of Shias at the IDP camp as the reason for the attack.

April 16, 2010: A suicide bomber blew himself up in an attack inside the Civil Hospital in Quetta, killing 11 persons and injuring 35 others. Unidentified assailants riding a motorcycle killed Arshad Zaidi, the son of the chief of the Shia Conference Balochistan, Syed Ashraf Zaidi. Hundreds of supporters, including Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Nasir Ali Shah and dozens of journalists, rushed to the hospital where the body was lying. The suicide bombing occurred when a large crowd had gathered at the casualty ward. The LeJ claimed that it had carried out the suicide bombing that also injured MNA Shah of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

March 12, 2010: At least 57 persons, including eight soldiers, were killed and more than 90 persons were injured as twin suicide blasts, moments apart from each other, ripped through the Lahore's RA Bazaar in the cantonment area. The primary target was a Shia Imambargah during Friday prayers. LeJ claimed responsibility for the attack.

Rising sectarianism in Pakistani society has emboldened militant groups that espouse sectarian violence. The primary player, here, is the LeJ, which was formed in 1996, when it formally separated from Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) now known as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ). The LeJ aims to transform Pakistan into a Sunni state, primarily through violence. Muhammad Ajmal alias Akram Lahori is the present Saalar-i-Aala ('Commander-in-Chief') of the LeJ. Lahori is currently in Police custody following his arrest from Orangi Town in Karachi on June 17, 2002. Although Lahori officially remains the LeJ chief, Qari Mohammad Zafar is now believed to be the strategic 'commander', while operational command is understood to have moved to middle ranking leaders.

The LeJ consists of eight loosely co-ordinated cells spread across Pakistan with independent chiefs for each cell. Headed by Maulana Abdul Khalil, a fugitive militant leader from central Punjab, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Aalmi (the 'international' wing) operates mostly in central parts of Punjab and the tribal areas. The group works in close connection with al Qaeda and its activists have been used as foot soldiers by Arab-dominated terror groups in their plots inside Pakistan. Asian Tigers, another LeJ cell, is dominated by Punjabi militants, though some Pakhtoon militants of the Mehsud tribe are affiliated with it as well. The third cell is Junoodul Hafsa, comprising militants who aim to exact revenge for the storming of Islamabad's Lal Masjid and its affiliated female seminary, Jamia Hafsa, in a military operation in 2007. The group operates in close coordination with the Ghazi Force, a network named after one of the two clerics of Lal Masjid, Maulana Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, who was killed in the operation. The outfit, led by a former student of Lal Masjid, Maulana Niaz Rahim, operates out of Ghaljo area of the Orakzai Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the adjacent Hangu District in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and targets military installations and personnel in parts of KP and upper Punjab, especially Islamabad. The fourth cell affiliated to LeJ is the Punjabi Taliban. Other small cells, which operate under this umbrella outfit, include those commanded by Usman Punjabi, Qari Imran, Amjad Farooqi and Qari Zafar. These cells generally operate within Punjab.

The lethality and operational successes of the LeJ, over the years, are substantially attributed to its multi-cell structure, with each maintaining limited contact with the others. Each sub-group is responsible for carrying out activities in a specific geographic location. Reports indicate that, after each attack, LeJ cadres disperse and subsequently reassemble at the various bases/hideouts to plan future operations.

LeJ's presence and operations have been reported from locations as varied as Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Multan, Islamabad, Jhang, Khanewal, Layyah, Bhakkar, Sargodha, Rahimyar Khan, Sahiwal, Bahawalpur and Bahawalnagar in Punjab; Orakzai Agency, Bajaur Agency, Parachinar, Kurram Agency, South Waziristan and North Waziristan in FATA; Bannu, Kohat, Chitral, Gilgit and Dera Ismail Khan in KP; Karachi, Sukkur, Hyderabad, Nawabshah, and Mirpur Khas in Sindh; and Mastung and Quetta in Balochistan.

While Shias remain the primary targets of the LeJ, the group has, since 2002, broadened its focus to include other civilian, Government and Western targets. Despite the ban on the group since January 12, 2002, the Pakistani Government has been unable to neutralise its operations. An intelligence agency's report on August 25, 2011, noted that banned militant organisations, including LeJ, had resumed 'full-scale public activity' and had begun recruiting young men from Punjab. Another report forwarded by the Punjab Home Department stated that LeJ had also become more active, particularly after the release of the group's founder Malik Ishaq in July 2011.

One of the prominent leaders and co-founder of LeJ, Malik Ishaq had been charged in 44 cases, involving the murder of 70 persons, most of them Shias. He was, however, released by the Supreme Court for lack of evidence. Ishaq was suspected to have been involved in the March 3, 2009, attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, but was granted bail on July 14, 2011. Ishaq was arrested in 1997 for a variety of crimes, most of which were of a sectarian nature. Over the years, the cases against him faltered, as many witnesses were too scared to testify. Ishaq was acquitted in 34 out of 44 cases, while, in the remaining 10, including the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team, he had already been granted bail.

Significantly, during his stay in jail he received a stipend from the Punjab Government and, like other key terror suspects, was allowed to use a mobile phone. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah confirmed the disbursement of the stipend, but clarified that it was given to Ishaq's family, not to him, as per orders of the court. Further investigations, however, revealed that there was no such disbursement to the family, nor was there any court order pertaining to the matter.

A US State Department report published on August 31, 2011, observed that Pakistan was incapable of prosecuting terror suspects. It said that, while Pakistan maintained it was committed to prosecuting those accused of terrorism, its Anti-terrorism Court (ATC)'s rulings in 2010 tell a different story, showing that the acquittal rate among suspected terrorists was approximately 75 percent.

Meanwhile, buoyed by his release, Malik Ishaq declared, "We are ready to lay down our lives for the honour of the companions of the Holy Prophet."

Tariq Ilyas Kyani, an officer at the Lahore Police Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) department, rightly observed, "Terrorist activities did not stop even when [Ishaq] was in captivity." However, sectarian violence has witnessed a surge since Ishaq's release. Out of 19 sectarian attacks in 2011, in which 176 persons were killed, seven attacks, resulting in 62 fatalities, have taken place after July 14.

Instead of launching any hard initiatives against the LeJ, the Punjab Government, on September 22, 2011, again placed Malik Ishaq under temporary detention at his home, charging him of stoking Sunni-Shia conflict since his release from prison. The Punjab Government ordered that Ishaq remain at home for 10 days.

Given Islamabad's lackadaisical approach towards Islamist terrorism in general, and sectarian violence against the country's minorities, in particular, action against the LeJ has generally been an eye wash, and the present steps hold no promise of reining in the menace of sectarian terror across the country.

(The writer Tushar Ranjan Mohanty is Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management)

(The view expressed in the article is of the author and not India Blooms News Service)

Washington Bangla Radio USA

Monday, September 26, 2011

مستونگ ہلاکتیں، عدالت کی سماعت

بلوچستان ہائی کورٹ نے شعیہ زائرین پر فائرنگ کے واقعے کا از خود نوٹں لیا

بلوچستان ہائی کورٹ نے مستونگ میں کوئٹہ سے ایران جانے والے شیعہ زائرین کی بس پر فائرنگ سے متعلق تفتیش پر عدم اطمینان کا اظہار کرتے ہوئے مستونگ میں جائے وقوعہ کا نقشہ اور علاقے میں پولیس اور لیویز ایف سی اور کسٹم کی چیک پوسٹوں کی تفصیلات طلب کرلیں۔

کوئٹہ سے بی بی سی کے نامہ نگار ایوب ترین کے مطابق بلوچستان ہائی کورٹ کے چیف جسٹس جناب جسٹس قاضی فائز عیسیٰ اور جسٹس ہاشم کاکڑ پر مشتمل ڈویژن بینچ نے بلوچستان کے علاقے مستونگ میں لکپاس کے مقام پر کوئٹہ سے تفتان جانے والی زائرین کی بس پر فائرنگ اور انتیس افراد کی ہلاکت کے واقعہ کی از خود نوٹس لینے کے بعد پیرکے روز سماعت کی۔

سماعت کے دوران صوبائی وزارت داخلہ کی جانب سے عدالت میں سانحہ مستونگ سے متعلق رپورٹ پیش کی گئیی جس میں بتایا گیا کہ واقعہ کی تحقیقات کے لیے سیکریٹری داخلہ نصیب اللہ بازئی کی سربراہی میں اعلیٰ سطحی تحقیقاتی کمیٹی تشکیل دی گئی ہے۔

عدالت کو بتایا گیا کہ مستونگ واقعہ کی تحقیقات لیویز سے لے کر اب سی آئی ڈی کے حوالے کردی گئی ہے۔
یہ کمیٹی واقعہ کے وقت سکیورٹی کی خامیوں کی نشاندہی کرے گی۔ اس کے علاوہ علاقے میں لیویز اور پولیس کی نفری بڑھانے کے ساتھ ساتھ ایف سی کے تین پلاٹونز بھی گشت کےلیے طلب کرلی گئی ہیں۔

عدالت کو بتایا گیا کہ مستونگ واقعہ کی تحقیقات لیویز سے لے کر اب سی آئی ڈی کے حوالے کردی گئی ہے۔

سماعت کے دوران نائب تحصیلدار مستونگ نے تفتیشی رپورٹ عدالت میں پیش کی۔

تفتیشی افسر نے عدالت کو بتایا کہ مستونگ واقعہ میں ڈرائیور سمیت تین چشم دید گواہوں کے بیانات ریکارڈ کرلیے گئے ہیں۔جبکہ واقعہ میں زخمی ہونے والے افراد کے بیانات ریکارڈ نہیں ہوسکے۔

رپورٹ کے مطابق واقعہ پانچ بج کر پندرہ منٹ پر ہوا جبکہ لیویز نے ایف آئی آر چھ بجے درج کی جس میں لاشوں کا ذکر نہیں ہے۔

عدالت نے تفتیش کو ناقص اور نامکمل قرار دیتے ہوئے اس پر عدم اطمینان اور برہمی کا اظہار کیا۔

قاضی فائز عیسیٰ نے ریمارکس دیتے ہوئے کہا کہ لیویز اس کیس کی تفتیش نہیں کرسکتی تو مستونگ کو لیویز کے حوالے کرنے کا جواز کیا ہے۔ جسٹس ہاشم کاکڑ نے ایڈووکیٹ جنرل سے استفسار کیا کہ جس روز مستونگ میں یہ سانحہ پیش آیا اورجب لیویز والوں نے فائرنگ کی آواز سنی تو وہ روکنے کیلئے کیوں نہیں آئے۔

عدالت نے اس سلسلے میں سپریم کورٹ بار کی صدر اور انٹرنیشنل کمیشن آف جیورسٹس کو نوٹس جاری کیے کہ وہ آکر آگاہ کریں کہ ہائی کورٹ کو از خود نوٹس لینے کا اختیار ہے یا نہیں
سماعت کے دوران ایڈووکیٹ جنرل امان اللہ کنرانی کی جانب سے عدالت کو بتایا گیا کہ فائرنگ میں استعمال ہونے والی گاڑیوں کو تلاش کرلیاجائےگا عدالت نے مستونگ میں جائے وقوعہ کا نقشہ اور علاقے میں لیویز ،پولیس، ایف سی اور کسٹم کی چیک پوسٹوں کی تفصیلات طلب کرلیں۔

عدالت نے سپریم کورٹ بار ایسوسی ایشن کی صدر عاصمہ جہانگیر کے اس بیان کو بھی کیس کا حصہ بنایا جس میں انہوں نے کہا تھا کہ ہائی کورٹ کو سوو موٹو نوٹس لینے کا اختیار نہیں ہے۔

عدالت نے اس سلسلے میں سپریم کورٹ بار کی صدر اور انٹرنیشنل کمیشن آف جیورسٹس کو نوٹس جاری کیے کہ وہ آکر آگاہ کریں کہ ہائی کورٹ کو از خود نوٹس لینے کا اختیار ہے یا نہیں۔

عدالت کی اس سلسلے میں معاونت کے لیے سماعت کے دوران ہزارہ ڈیموکریٹک پارٹی، بلوچستان بار کونسل، پاکستان بار کونسل نے مستونگ واقعہ کیخلاف ہائی کورٹ کے از خود نوٹس کیس میں فریق بننے کے لیے درخواست دائر کی۔ عدالت نےاس درخواست کو منظور کرلیا اور کیس کی سماعت چار اکتوبر تک ملتوی کردی ۔


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صنعت سیاحت افغانستان - بامیان به اماکن دیدنی

اہل تشیع کی ٹارگٹ کلنگ کے خلاف مظاہرہ

پير 26 ستمبر 2011 ,‭ 01:27 GMT 06:27

چند دن پہلے مستونگ میں شیعہ زائرین کی بس پر نامعلوم افراد کی فائرنگ کے نتیجے میں انتیس افراد ہلاک ہو گئے تھے

بلوچستان میں اہل تشیع نے سانحہ مستونگ کے خلاف ایک احتجاج کرتے ہوئے افواج پاکستان سے ٹارگٹ کلنگ روکنے کا مطالبہ کیا ہے۔

مظاہرین نے احتجاج میں مطالبہ کیا کہ مذہبی انتہاء پسندی میں ملوث افراد کوگرفتار کیا جائے۔

کوئٹہ سے بی بی سی کے نامہ نگار ایوب ترین کے مطابق تحفظ عزاداری کونسل کی جانب سے اتوار کو کوئٹہ میں امام بارگاہ نیچاری سے ایک احتجاجی ریلی نکالی گئی۔

احتجاجی ریلی شہر کے مختلف شاہراہوں سے ہوتی ہوئی کوئٹہ چھاؤنی کے حدود میں داخل ہوئی جہاں مظاہرین نے صوبائی حکومت کے خلاف نعرہ بازی کی۔

بعد میں ریلی کے شرکاء نے کئی گھنٹوں تک سڑک پر دھرنا دیا۔ انھوں نے کوئٹہ میں ٹارگٹ کلنگ کے خلاف پلے کارڈز بھی اٹھائے رکھے تھے۔

اس موقع پر شیعہ رہنماؤں کی جانب سے فارسی میں کی گئی تقاریر میں فوج سے اہل تشیع کی ٹارگٹ کلنگ روکنے اور ان واقعات میں ملوث مذہبی انتہاء پسندوں کوگرفتار کرنے کا مطالبہ کیا۔

مظاہرے اور دھرنے کے موقع پر صوبائی حکومت کی جانب سے سخت حفاظتی انتظامات کیے گئے تھے۔

پولیس نے نہ صرف کوئٹہ شہر کے کئی شاہراہوں کو ٹریفک اور عوام کے لیے بند کیا ہوا تھا بلکہ فرنٹیئر کور کے اہلکار بھی گاڑیوں میں گشت کر رہے تھے۔

تاہم بعد میں فوجی حکام کی جانب سے شیعہ مسلک سے تعلق رکھنے والوں کو تحفظ فراہم کرنے کی یقین دہانی کے بعد مظاہرین پرامن طور پر منتشر ہوگئے۔

تحفظ عزادری کونسل کے سربراہ رحیم جعفری کا کہنا تھا کہ صوبائی اور وفاقی حکومت اہل تشیعہ کے تحفظ میں مکمل طور پرناکام ہو چکی ہے جس کے باعث اب انہوں نے فوج سے تحفظ کا مطالبہ کیا ہے۔

واضع رہے کہ پانچ روز قبل بلوچستان کے علاقے مستونگ میں شیعہ زائرین کی بس پر نامعلوم افراد کی فائرنگ کے نتیجے میں انتیس افراد ہلاک ہو گئے تھے۔

کالعدم تنظیم لشکر جھنگوی کے ترجمان علی شیرحیدری نے ایک نامعلوم مقام سے اخبارات کو ٹیلی فون کر کے اس واقعہ کی ذمہ داری قبول کی تھی۔

اس کے بعد جمعہ کو کوئٹہ میں سریاب روڈ پر نامعلوم افراد نے کوئٹہ سے مچھ جانے والے شیعہ مسلک سے تعلق رکھنے والے تین کارکنوں کو گولیان مار کرہلاک کیا تھا۔

دونوں واقعات کی ذمہ داری کالعدم تنظیم لشکر جھنگوی نے قبول کی تھی۔

ان واقعات کے بعد پولیس اور فرنٹیئر کور نے کوئٹہ اور مستونگ کے علاقوں سے تین سو سے زیادہ مشکوک افراد کو حراست میں لے لیا ہے جن میں افغان مہاجرین بھی شامل ہیں۔


Rally held to protest against sectarian killings

By: Bari Baloch | Published: September 26, 2011

QUETTA - Different Shia organisations on Sunday took out a rally to protest the targeted killing of members of Shia community in Balochistan and demanded for deployment of Army in Quetta.
The leaders and activists of Majlis Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen, Shia Ulema Council, Shia Conference and Hazara Qaumi Jirga participated in the rally which after marching through various roads of the City gathered outside Musa Check Post at Quetta Cantt where they staged a sit-in.
Participants of rally were shouting slogans against target killing of Shia Muslims and failure of govt to arrest the culprits.
Addressing the protesters, Ashraf Zehdi, Allama Mehdi Najafi, Jama Asadi, Qaum Changezai, Sardar Sadat Hazara and Abdul Ali crticised provincial and Federal governments, saying they had miserably failed to stop incidents of sectarian target killing and violence in the province.
‘Members of Shia community hailing from every segment of life have been targeted and killed’, they said, adding, that government had failed to arrest the culprits and bring them to book.
They said hundreds of innocent people have been killed in incidents of targeted killing which indicate the inability of government to control law and order.
‘We want deployment of Army in Quetta city for maintaining law and order’, they demanded, and,added, until and unless their demand is accepted they would not call off their demo.
They alleged that govt was also backing some banned outfits involved in the incidents of sectarian killing and warned if incidents of sectarian violence and target killing were not stopped the situation would be more complicated.
They demanded for immediate end of alleged genocide of people of Hazara community and the authorities concerned must take practical steps in this connection.
They announced that besides Pakistan, Shia community on October 1st would hold demos against target killings in US, Australia and other countries.
Later on, Shia leaders were called to Cantt area where they held meeting with senior Army officials and apprised them of their grievances. After the meeting, Shia leaders told media persons that Army officials had ensured them that they would convey their demands and a reservation to high-ups of the government.
After the assurance of senior Army officials, the protesters called off their sit-in and dispersed peacefully.


Mastung attack: Pilgrims going to Iran must obtain NoC, AG tells judge

By Muhammad Kazim
Published: September 26, 2011

Pakistani Shiite Muslims shout slogans against the killing of community members in Quetta on September 21, 2011. PHOTO: AFP
QUETTA: The division bench of the Balochistan High Court heard the suo motu case of the Matsung incident on Monday.
Chief Justice Qazi Faiz Essa and Justice Mohammad Asim Kakkar were hearing the case of the Mastung attack in which at least 26 people were killed last week.
(Read more: 29 killed in Mastung, Quetta ambushes)
Advocate General of Balochistan, Mr Amanullah Kanrani appeared before the bench and submitted a report on behalf of the Balochistan government.
Kanrani said a high power committee has been constituted under the Home Department, which will investigate the security lapses that resulted in the death of 26 people.
He also added that the number of police and security officials have been increased in the province to improve the security situation.
Kanrani also told the court that no pilgrim can go to Iran without obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NoC) from the Home Department of the province. After being issued an NoC, adequate security arrangement will be made for the pilgrims, he said.
The investigation of this matter has been taken from the levies force and given to the Crime Investigation Department (CID).
The court said the government should take this matter seriously and that an experienced officer should be appointed for the investigation of this case.

The Express Tribune

Comment by Gorgh

It is sadening to hear that AG Balochistan impose an act / demand from people which directly or indirectly mean subjucation of rights of the people guranteed to them by the Constitution of Pakistan; further griefing is that, the demand of such document (NOC) is made before Chief Justice of High Court, who is supposed to be the custodian of the Constitution of Pakistan. One wonder, was the imposition of NOC on people is studied, was its repercussion / future implications analysed/assessed. What course of action will be adopted for people proceeding for performance of Umra & Hajj. Do they also req to obtain NOC for the performance of Umar & Hajj to Saudi Arabia ( Mecca) from Home Dept of Govt of Balochistan besides getting Visa for the purpose.

Luk Pass Mastung Pakistan Firing on a bus killed 26 Peoples Balochistan ...

Kal Tak with Javed Chaudary - 21st September 2011 -1

Mutasareen September 25, 2011 SAMAA TV 2/3

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sardar Sadat Adressing The Nation on PROTEST 25 th September 2011

Meeto Award: First Afghan female mayor awarded for her work

Azra Jafari, the first female mayor in Afghanistan, was awarded the Meeto Memorial Award (MMA) at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) on Thursday for her work.
People from different countries of South Asia attended the award ceremony, which was organised by the MMA trust in collaboration with NGOs Rozan and Sungi. Asma Jahangir, General Secretary Supreme Court Bar Association, and Hameeda Hossain, women rights’ activist from Bangladesh, were also present at the occasion.
Jafari was chosen for the award because of her work and commitment towards social development. In December 2008, after being appointed the major of Nili, she became the first female mayor in Afghanistan.
The first MMA was given in 2009 to Anusheh Anadil, a Bangladeshi singer and peace activist, during an award ceremony in New Delhi. The 2010 MMA award was given to Akeela Naz from Pakistan.
The award was set up in the memory of Meeto (Kamaljit Bhasin-Malik), an Indian scholar and activist.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2011.

Mastung incident: BHC takes suo motu notice of atrocity

By Shahzad Baloch
Published: September 22, 2011

Ethnic Hazara women hold placards during a demonstration in Quetta on September 21 to condemn the attack. PHOTO: REUTERS

Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Thursday took suo motu notice of the Ganjidori incident in which 26 Shia pilgrims were killed in an attack on a passenger bus on September 20. The hearing will begin on September 26.
The chief justice took note of the incident following appeals from civil society members after reports on the incident were published in local and national media. The passengers were forced to disembark the bus and were shot dead in cold blood. The court observed that the incident has spread terror among the people of Balochistan and traumatised a segment of society.
The court has issued notices to the government of Balochistan through secretary home and tribal affairs, and the federal government through the interior secretary, provincial police chief, inspector general Frontier Corps, commissioner Kalat division, deputy commissioner Kalat and director general Levies.
Meanwhile, the Balochistan government has decided to form a wing of the Anti Terrorism Force (ATF) exclusively to provide security cover to the Hazara community in Quetta.
The decision was taken following the targeted killing of 26 pilgrims in Mastung. Anti-Terrorism Force (ATF) personnel and police with anti-terrorism training will be recruited for the wing.
Hazara Town and Marriabad are two Hazara populated townships in the provincial capital where the government has decided to deploy the special force. “It has been observed that the Hazara community is being subjected to targeted killings and bomb blasts, thus the government has decided to provide them adequate security,” said Balochistan Home Secretary Naseebullah Bazai.
“Private transporters who provide transportation to pilgrims from Quetta to Iran had already been directed to get themselves registered with the provincial home department. The law already exists at the federal level by which transporters must first inform the government if they provide transportation to pilgrims.”
Shia Muslims usually travel from Quetta to Iran through private transport companies and mostly without any security cover. “It is unfortunate that the killings have intensified. Therefore, the government is compelled to adopt strict security measures,” Bazai added.
Another decision under consideration was to deploy personnel of Federal Levies along the borders of Afghanistan and Iran. “There are 3,000 personnel of Federal Levies and they will be posted along the borders and highways as we cannot deny the fact that cross border activities have caused much damage to peace in the province,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2011.

LeJ's Support by Punjab Government

Pakistan's real terrorism problem (Foreign Policy)

By Ahsan Butt Friday, September 23, 2011 - 5:12 PM

The brutal, execution-style attack on Shi'a Muslims in the Mastung area of Baluchistan this week was, at once, debilitating, shocking, and instructive.

It was debilitating because it reminded observers and Pakistanis alike that the threat of indiscriminate violence Pakistanis face as a result of domestic militant groups shows no signs of abating.

It was shocking because even by the standards of Pakistani society, where violence is accepted with nonchalance -- or "resilience," depending on your point of view -- the attack represented a new low, mainly because of the method of the killings. As multiple reports have indicated, the militants stopped a bus en route to Iran, forced the pilgrims off, lined them by the side of the road, and shot them. As Dawn noted in its editorial on the killings, the attack showed a "descent into new depths of savagery."

Finally, it was instructive because it shed light on the precise nature of the militant threat the Pakistani state and society face, and the long-term struggle ahead to adequately address the threat.

Since Pakistan's alliance with the United States after 9/11 -- I use the term "alliance" loosely here -- Pakistanis have borne extremely high levels of violence; some 35,000 civilians, police and military officials have perished in the last seven years. Within the country, this has led to a sharp debate about the origins of the violence, and the advisability of the partnership with America.

The dominant narrative within Pakistan is that this war is not "our war"; that Pakistani leaders, both military and civilian, have allied with the United States out of a combination of greed and pusillanimity; that the militant violence directed at the Pakistani state and society would not have occurred had Pakistan not signed on to do America's bidding in its war; and that the solution to the terrorist threat lies in the U.S. exiting the region.

The proposition that the death toll from terrorism would be lower had Pakistan not gotten involved in the U.S. war in Afghanistan is likely accurate. But to take that to mean that Pakistan would have been a peaceful society without U.S. intervention in the region is a step too far.

The gruesome events on Tuesday demonstrate this truth, because groups such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which claimed responsibility for the attack, existed well before 9/11 and will exist well after the U.S. draws down in Afghanistan. Indeed, rather than being strictly being an anti-American group, LeJ's raison d'être is primarily sectarian -- they are an offshoot of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, itself an anti-Shi'a terrorist group. The notion that groups such as LeJ did not threaten Pakistanis until the military and civilian leadership allied with the United States rests on a very narrow understanding of "Pakistani." Shi'a still count as Pakistani, despite the efforts of groups such as SSP and LeJ.

For more than fifteen years, LeJ has carried out attacks against Pakistani religious minorities. In April 2010, the group was responsible for a bombing in Quetta - in a hospital, no less - which killed 11 people. That same month, two LeJ female suicide bombers blew themselves up at a relief camp for internal refugees who were waiting to get registered and receive food, reportedly because Shi'a were receiving food aid. In September 2010, the group was responsible for a suicide bomb and grenade attack in Lahore, targeting a Shi'a procession that killed more than 40 people. This year alone, LeJ has been behind at least four different attacks on Hazara Shi'a in Baluchistan, resulting in dozens of casualties. And this is just a sample of the group's activities in recent times.

LeJ is an extremely daring and dangerous organization. In the late 1990s, then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered a crackdown on it, a move that invited assassination attempts against him. In Pakistan: Eye of the Storm, Owen Bennett-Jones reports a remarkable incident of the group's reach:

The police were told that anyone who managed to arrest or kill Riaz Basra [then head of LeJ] would be given a 5 million-rupee award.

Despite this, the security forces proved incapable of controlling the militants' activities. Riaz Basra showed his contempt for the police's capabilities when he turned up at one of Nawaz Sharif's political surgeries [meetings with party supporters]. Having slipped in with the petitioners who wanted to see the prime minister, Basra positioned himself directly behind Nawaz Sharif and got one of his accomplices to take a picture. Three days later staff at the prime minister's house received a print of the photograph. The faces of Sharif and Basra, within a few feet of each other, had been circled and underneath there was an inscription: ‘It's that easy.'

Those claiming that widespread terrorism in Pakistan is solely a result of U.S. involvement in the region cannot address the existence of groups such as LeJ. Essentially all militant groups operating in Pakistan today, including LeJ, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Jaish-e-Muhammad, existed in some form before the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. That their activities were less widespread before Pakistan backed the United States is neither here nor there, because their very existence on Pakistani soil should be intolerable to Pakistani citizens and the state.

Unfortunately, the aftermath of the Tuesday attack itself sends a signal of the state's woeful capabilities in tackling groups such as LeJ. The organization's leader, Malik Ishaq, was meekly placed under house arrest for ten days due to "security reasons," and authorities followed the next day by placing his key aide Ghulam Rasool Shah under house arrest as well. Malik Ishaq was released from prison earlier this year, despite having 44 court cases against him (he was acquitted in 34, and granted bail in 10). His release was due to a lack of evidence.

Though outsiders may scoff at a publicly recognizable leader of a terrorist group not having sufficient evidence tying him to murder, it is actually quite understandable for those more aware of ground realities in Pakistan. First, witnesses are scared to death -- literally -- of coming forward and testifying. Second, judges themselves are unsafe, and afraid of handing out guilty verdicts in high-profile terrorism cases. Third, police procedures, investigative techniques and equipment are not advanced enough to tie individuals to specific incidents; even if police forces in an area know exactly who is behind a particular incident, proving it in a court of law is not easy, especially since Pakistan's anti-terrorism laws remain flawed. Fourth, there exists a baseline of sympathy for such organizations and their actions even amongst the "educated" legal community, as the reaction to the Salman Taseer assassination so eloquently showed.

All this is to suggest that, unfortunately, the terrorism problem in Pakistan is not going to disappear as U.S. forces leave Afghanistan. To the contrary, it will take dedicated work and long-term reform in the Pakistani legal system, the courts, and the police to rid the country of this scourge.

Most pertinent of all, the Pakistani military must abandon the analytical distinction between "good" and "bad" militant groups, as well as abandoning the hope that "good" militant groups can fulfill regional strategic objectives, such as bringing India to the negotiating table on Kashmir or attaining "strategic depth" in Afghanistan. If nothing else, the last decade should have put paid to that theory of national interest. Notwithstanding the security establishment's desire to play favorites, the array of militant groups in Pakistan have a lot more that unites them than divides them. Indeed, LeJ -- to take one relevant example -- has deep connections with the Pakistani Taliban as well as al-Qaeda, both of whom have used extraordinary levels of violence against Pakistani targets. The idea that the state can take on one set of elements and leave others untouched is, in the medium- and long-term, completely fanciful.

Ahsan Butt is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Chicago and blogs at Five Rupees.


Foreign Policy

Hazara Town roads problems pkg

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sawal Yeh Hai 23rd September 2011-2

Terror bid foiled in Pakistan

Indo-Asian News Service
Islamabad, September 24, 2011

A terror attack was foiled on Saturday in Pakistan's Quetta city when residents nabbed an Afghan militant while he was planting a bomb at a hall, a media report said.

The militant - identified as Abdul Khaliq - was planting the bomb at the Nichari Imambargah, a congregation hall

for Shiite ceremonies, Online news agency reported.

On questioning Khaliq, police arrested 20 more terrorists and seized explosive material and weapons from their possession.

On Sep 20, at least 26 Shia pilgrims were gunned down in Balochistan province after their bus was ambushed by gunmen. Three more Shia Muslims were killed in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, when they were going to a hospital to collect the bodies of those killed in the bus attack.


Hindustan Times

syed nasir ali shah adressing to the protest against target killing in Q...

Hotline (Mastung Killing Part 02) 23 September 2011

Hazara asylum seekers in Curtin

by Refugee Action Coalition Sydney on Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 8:11pm

Today (Thursday 22 Sept) at 3:30 pm we had a small peaceful protest near administration building in our centre for 1 hour. More then 400 people attented this protest. The protest was to let the immigration know of how our family is back home (our last resided place Quetta, Pakistan where most of us were living illegally) and how people feel and how much they worry.

Almost 31 people have been martyred on 20th of this September on a bus which was carring more then 50 passengers. They were stopped by anti-hazara or anti-shia (who are against our ethnicity and religious faith). Only the hazaras were seperated from those passengers and then were shot on the spot to death just because they were Hazara and Shia.

This is what people said in speeches and people were holding banners saying, 'Where is UN? Why UN do not hear our voice? Stop killing of innocent Hazaras? Is being Hazara is a crime? At the end of the protest people went back to their compounds peacefully.

Please feel free to share.

killings in Quetta - Neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan is safe for Hazaras; by Refugee Action Coalition Sydney

on Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 11:56pm


Yesterday (Thursday 21 September), at 3.30pm, more than 400 mostly
Hazara asylum seekers staged a peaceful protest near the
administration building inside Curtin detention centre.
According to a statement released by the Curtin Hazara asylum seekers,
the hour-long demonstration was to let the immigration department know
of the dangerous situation that face their families in Quetta,

Quetta has a large community of Hazaras who have fled persecution in
Afghanistan. But Pakistan is mostly Sunni Muslim and the Hazaras, who
are Shia Muslim, are increasingly the target of fundamentalist
killings in Quetta. Many of the Hazara asylum seekers families have
been left living illegally in Quetta.

“We want immigration department to know how we feel and how much we
worry [about our families’ situation].” the statement said.

The protest was held following news that on 20 September, over 29
Hazaras traveling on a bus near Quetta, were separated from other
passengers and executed. It was the third such attack in a month.

A number of speeches at the Curtin protest told of the persecution of
Hazara and Shia Mislims. The asylum seekers held banners saying,
“Where is UN?”; Why UN do not hear our voice?; Stop killing of
innocent Hazaras?; Is being Hazara is a crime?

At the end of the peaceful protest the asylum seekers returned to
their compounds. But the anxiety remains.

On the same day as the mass killing of Hazaras in Quetta, the
Australian government deported an Hazara man from Villawood detention
centre to Pakistan.

“The man is not a citizen of Pakistan. And the immigration department
ignored the very real dangers that confront the Hazaras in Quetta. The
deported man’s son had been injured in a Taliban attack in May this
year,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action

“The Australian government has directly violated its commitments not
to refoule asylum seekers. We are also calling on the government to
terminate its Memorandum of Agreement with the Afghan government to
return Hazaras to Afghanistan?

“How can the Australian government possibly justify such an agreement,
when the attacks on the Nato base and the killing of Burhanuddin
Rabbani, the head of the Afghan Peace Council show that Kabul itself
is not safe?” asked Rintoul.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

Hotline (Mastung Killing) 22 September 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

خمینی چاہیے

محمد حنیف
بی بی سی اردو ڈاٹ کام، کراچی

’حالات دیکھ کر لگتا ہے کہ یہاں پر مچھر مارنا زیادہ مشکل ہے شیعہ کو مارنا نسبتا آسان‘

مستونگ میں زیارت پر جانے والے اہل تشیع کے جنازوں کو دیکھ کر مجھے وہ نادان پاکستانی یاد آئےجو ہمیشہ یہ کہتے پائے جاتے ہیں کہ اس ملک کو ایرانی انقلاب کی ضرورت ہے۔

ہمارے کئی اداریہ نویس اور دانشور ایران کے صدر احمدی نژاد کو اپنا ہیرو مانتے ہیں۔ دن رات یہ ماتم کرتے ہیں کہ اس مٹی سے کوئی ایسا سادہ دل اور جرآت مند رہنما پیدا کیوں نہیں ہوتا جو امریکہ کو آنکھیں دکھا سکے۔

رکشہ ڈرائیور، بینکار حتّی کہ عبدالستار ایدھی بھی یہ کہتے پائے جاتے ہیں کہ اس ملک کو ایک خمینی کی ضرورت ہے۔

کیا ان محب وطن شہریوں کو احساس ہے کہ اگر اس ملک میں اگر احمدی نژاد یا خمینی پیدا ہو تو اُس کی عمر کتنی طویل ہو گی، اور اُسکے بعد کیا ہو گا؟

غالباً وہی جو مستونگ میں ہونے والی بربریت کے بعد ہوا۔ تاسف، مذمت، سوگ اور پھر خفیہ ہاتھ پر الزام۔

کیا پوری قوم نہیں جانتی کہ ہماری گلیوں مسجدوں اور منبروں سے کافر کافر شیعہ کافر کے جو نعرے گونجتے ہیں اُنہیں فوج، پولیس، اور خفیہ ایجنسیوں نے تو کیا روکنا تھا کبھی کسی محلے دار یا غازی کو بھی یہ توفیق ہوئی ہے کہ مودب ہو کر کہے کہ بھائیوں یہ فیصلہ اللہ پر چھوڑ دو کہ کون کافر ہے اور کون نہیں ۔
ملک کے حالات دیکھ کر لگتا ہے کہ یہاں پر مچھر مارنا زیادہ مشکل ہے شیعہ کو مارنا آسان۔ رحمان ملک یہ کہہ کر اپنی ذِمے داری سناتے ہیں کہ اِن زائرین کو چاہیے تھا پہلے ہمیں بتا تو دیتے کہ جا کہاں رہے تھے۔

ہلاک ہونے والوں کی لاشیں ابھی مردہ خانے بھی نہیں پہنچی تھیں کہ لشکر جھنگوی نے حملے کی ذمہ داری قبول کر لی۔ ٹی وی اینکرز اپنی ازلی معصومیت کے ساتھ رات کو پھر یہ پوچھتے پائے گئے کہ اس کے پیچھے کس کا ہاتھ ہو سکتا ہے؟

چند ماہ پہلے پاکستان میں شیعہ کافر، مُسلح مہم کے سالار ملک اِسحاق جب لاہور کی ایک عدالت سے اپنی معصومیت کا سرٹیفکیٹ لے کر رہا ہوئے تو اُن کا اِستقبال پھولوں کی پتیاں نچھاور کر کے کیا گیا۔

ایک ٹی وی اینکر نے لائیو ٹی وی پر اُن سے پوچھا کہ اب اُن کا لائحہ عمل کیا ہو گا۔ ملک اِسحاق نے اُتنی ہی معصومیت سے فرمایا کہ وہ کریں گے جو پہلے کرتے تھے۔ نہ انٹرویو کرنے والے نہ ٹی وی دیکھنے والوں کو یہ جاننے کے ضرورت تھی کہ اُن کا مشن کیا ہے۔ اُن پر درجنوں شیعہ شہریوں کے قتل کا الزام تھا جن میں سے ایک بھی ثابت نہ ہو سکا۔

پاکستان میں شیعہ کافر، مُسلح مہم کے سالار ملک اِسحاق جب لاہور کی ایک عدالت سے اپنی معصومیت کا سرٹیفکیٹ لے کر رہا ہوئے تو اُن کا اِستقبال پھولوں کی پتیاں نچھاور کر کے کیا گیا۔
لیکن یہ ظاہر ہے کہ ملک اِسحاق کا لشکر جھنگوی سے کوئی تعلق نہیں کیونکہ لشکر جھنگوی پر پابندی ہے (یہ ابھی تک کسی کو معلوم نہیں کہ لشکر پر کیا کرنے کی پابندی ہے ) سپاہ صحابہ پر بھی پابندی ہے جو ایک زمانے میں انجمن سپاہ صحابہ ہوا کرتی تھی ۔ ملک اِسحاق تو اہل سُنت والجماعت کے ادنٰی کارکن ہیں۔

لیکن یہ انجمن ، یہ سپاہ، یہ لشکر، یہ جماعت کیا چاہتے ہیں اس بارے میں ہمیں کوئی اہل کار کوئی اداریہ نویس نہیں بتاتا۔ اور وہ بتائیں بھی کیوں؟ کیا پوری قوم نہیں جانتی کہ ہماری گلیوں مسجدوں اور منبروں سے کافر کافر شیعہ کافر کے جو نعرے گونجتے ہیں اُنہیں فوج، پولیس، اور خفیہ ایجنسیوں نے تو کیا روکنا تھا کبھی کسی محلے دار یا غازی کو بھی یہ توفیق ہوئی ہے کہ مودب ہو کر کہے کہ بھائیو، یہ فیصلہ اللہ پر چھوڑ دو کہ کون کافر ہے اور کون نہیں۔

اور تو اور مولانا فضل الرّحمن بھی سانحہ مستونگ کے بعد یہ کہتے پائے گئے کہ یہ خفیہ اداروں کی سازش ہے، مسلمان کو مسلمان سے لڑانے کی سازش ہے اور مذہبی جماعتیں اس کی ہمیشہ سے مخالف رہی ہیں۔

کیا وہ سپاہ صحابہ اور اُس پر پابندی کے بعد بننے والی تنظیموں کو غیر مذہبی قرار دے رہے ہیں۔ کیا اس مسلح مہم کے سالار حق نواز جھنگوی مولانا فضل الرّحمن کی جماعت کے ہی رہنما نہ تھے ۔کیا جھنگوی صاحب کے فرمودات آج تک جمیعت علمائے اسلام کے تنظیمی پرچوں میں نہیں چھپتے۔

بلکہ نژاد اور خمینی جیسے ناموں کو واصل جہنم کرنے سے پہلے اُن کا شناختی کارڈ بھی چیک کرنے کی زحمت گوارا نہ کرنی پڑتی اور اگر اُس کے قتل کے الزام میں کوئی گرفتار ہوتا تو ثبوت کی عدم دستیابی کی وجہ سے باعزت بری پاتا اور پھولوں کی پتیوں کی بارش میں اس عزم کا اعادہ کرتا کہ جو کیا تھا وہ بار بار کریں گے۔
پنجاب پر تیس سال سے حکومت کرنے والے جھنگ اور وہاں سے پھوٹنے والی اس تشدد کی لہر کا نام لیتے ہوئے ایسے شرماتے ہیں جیسے نوبیاہتا دُلہن اپنے شوہر کا نام لیتے ہوئے شرماتی ہے ۔

تو پاکستان میں احمدی نژاد اور خمینی جیسے نجات دہندہ کے خواب دیکھنے والوں کی خدمت میں مودبانہ عرض ہے کہ اگر اس نام کا کوئی شخص پاکستان میں پیدا ہو جائے تو اُس سے نمٹنے کے لیے کسی انجمن، کسی لشکر، کسی جماعت کا ایک ادنی کارکن ہی کافی ہے۔

بلکہ احمدی نژاد اور خمینی جیسے ناموں کو مٹا کر ’ثوابِ دارین‘ حاصل کرنے سے پہلے اُن کا شناختی کارڈ بھی چیک کرنے کی زحمت گوارا نہ کرنی پڑتی اور اگر اُس کے قتل کے الزام میں کوئی گرفتار ہوتا تو ثبوت کی عدم دستیابی کی وجہ سے باعزت بری پاتا اور پھولوں کی پتیوں کی بارش میں اس عزم کا اعادہ کرتا کہ جو کیا تھا وہ بار بار کریں گے۔



Three killed in Quetta bus attack

By Hafeez Baloch - Sep 23rd, 2011

Quetta: Unknown gunman opened fire on a passenger van, killing at least four people and injuring two other in Quetta, police said on Friday.
According to reports the incident on Sibbi road. Police said the bus was heading toward Mach, Bolan when it came under attack.
Police and rushed to the spot and cordoned off the area. The dead and injured were taken to nearby hospital. Sources said four armed men intercepted a van carrying 15 people on board and disembarked members of Hazara community and opened fire. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.


The News Tribune

Shahid Nama - By Dr Shahid Masood - 20 Sep 2011 - Part - 3/3

Crime Scene September 21, 2011 SAMAA TV 1/2

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pakistan's Sectarian Killers Operate With Impunity; TIME Magazine

By Omar Waraich / Islamabad Friday, Sept. 23, 2011

Residents and relatives gather near the coffins of victims, who were killed in a suspected sectarian attack, before their burial in Quetta on September 21, 2011
Naseer Ahmed / Reuters

It began as an ordinary journey, but ended in a bloody storm of sectarian terror. On Monday, 40 Shi'ite pilgrims from the ethnic Hazara community boarded a bus bound for Iran, planning to pay homage at shrines of their revered saints. Near the town of Mastung, in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province, the bus juddered to a halt when a pick-up truck swerved in front of it, blocking its path. The bus driver later told reporters that a second pick-up has pulled up alongside, and men bearing rocket launchers and automatic rifles had leapt from both vehicles.
As the attackers forced the passengers off the bus, some managed to flee, sparing themselves. The others were lined-up in front of the bus and summarily shot — 26 were killed and six wounded. The gunmen then left the scene, with Pakistani security forces arriving only an hour later, to find relatives wailing over blood-soaked bodies. On Wednesday, the survivors, who had set out to mourn at the shrines of their ancient martyrs, instead lowered new ones into fresh graves. Shi'ites, who comprise over a quarter of Pakistan's population, are deemed "apostates" by many extremist sectarian Sunni groups.

Responsibility for the attack on the long-suffering Hazaras of Baluchistan was claimed by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) — a group also suspected of a devastating attack earlier in the week on the home of senior police officer in Karachi who has a record of taking on the militants. Though little known in the West, LeJ, is a sectarian extremist outfit linked to al-Qaeda and to the Pakistani Taliban, is now widely considered Pakistan's most dangerous terrorist group.
While al-Qaeda has suffered a series of setbacks after CIA drone strikes killed successive leaders based in Pakistan's tribal areas, its local affiliate remains unimpeded. "We haven't seen any change in their capacity," laments Amir Rana, the Director of the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies and an expert on Pakistani militant groups. And few seem willing to change that. The Army is reluctant to confront its bases with force; the police have failed to protect those it threatens; the judiciary is unable to successfully prosecute its leading members; and some politicians have sought to appease it with shady deals.
LeJ began life as a particularly vicious offshoot of the banned anti-Shi'ite Sipah-e-Sahaba organization. The sectarian group, with its cells seeded throughout the country, held both doctrinal and organisational appeal for al-Qaeda, which used LeJ's deep and pervasive network to expand its own presence into Pakistan. While al-Qaeda had operational command, LeJ supplied foot soldiers to carry out attacks. The September 2008 attack that turned the Islamabad Marriott into a smoldering heap was the most dramatic demonstration of their collaboration. It is also believed to have been involved in the March 2009 attack on the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, which spelled the end of international sports events being hosted in Pakistan. Later that year, LeJ members were involved in the dramatic 24-hour siege of the army's headquarters in Rawalpindi. Hoping to end that embarrassing assault, the Army sent the plane of its commander in chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, to collect notorious LeJ leader Malik Ishaq from his prison cell to negotiate with the attackers.

In July, Ishaq was freed from prison, securing bail after the Supreme Court said there was a "lack of evidence" to prosecute him. Many were alarmed that a man who had boasted of killing many Shi'ites, and has a history of inciting others to do the same, could not be successfully prosecuted. According to observers familiar with the case, the witnesses in the case were either eliminated, or were too afraid to appear in court.
"There is no witness protection program in Pakistan," says analyst Ejaz Haider. "These are people who have such a terrifying reach that they have been able to run their terrorist networks from jail," he adds."How will people come to court and testify against them?"
A day before the massacre near Mastung, Chaudhry Aslam Khan was jolted awake in his Karachi home by a 660-pound bomb delivered by a suicide bomber in a car. The blast destroyed nearby buildings and cars, left a 10-foot crater, and killed six policemen, a mother and her son — the deadliest such attack to strike the well-heeled part of Karachi inhabited by its defense elite. And the militants' willingness to strike not just the target, but his family, too, signals a new trend, some fear.

"It's a major shift in their policy," says Azhar Abbas, director of the GeoNews TV news channel. And he has reason to worry. A couple months ago, his name was on a hit list on leaflets dropped by LeJ in Pashtun-dominated areas of Karachi. The pamphlet, Abbas says, had specific instructions: "If you can't reach the target, then get their families." Three other Shi'ite politicians and journalists told TIME their lives had been threatened by LeJ.
For over two years now, Washington has been urging Pakistan to take on militants in North Waziristan, which is home to the Haqqani network (blamed by the U.S. for the recent attack on its embassy in Kabul), al-Qaeda's surviving leadership, the Pakistani Taliban and also, according to a senior military official, the headquarters of LeJ. The Pakistani military's reluctance to enter North Waziristan creates a permissive environment not only for groups that operate against NATO in Afghanistan, but also for those like the LeJ who wreak havoc inside Pakistan.
It's not only the military that appears to be passive in the face of the LeJ. In Punjab, where the group was founded and where leaders like Ishaq continue to openly preach hatred, the provincial government has entered a non-aggression pact with LeJ, says analyst Rana. The Punjab government is alleged to allow LeJ and its parent organization, the Sipah-e-Sahaba to operate with some freedom in return for electoral support. In Karachi and in Baluchistan, where the massacre near Mastung took place, Shi'ites complain that the police are not offering them protection. "It's certainly not a question of capacity," says analyst Rana. "It's a question of will."



Mastung tragedy PML-N, MQM move Parliament

Muhammad Arshad

Islamabad—Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Wednesday, submitted separate adjournment motions in both the Lower and Upper Houses of the Parliament against Tuesday’s tragic incident that claimed lives of 29 people in Mastung (Balochistan).

The Adjournment Motion submitted by PML-N in the National Assembly Secretariat said the incidents like Mastung tragedy were on the rise in Balochistan and appropriate precautionary measures should be taken to avert such incidents in future. The motion condemned the tragedy and urged the state to provide protection to every citizen as it was prime constitutional obligation of the state.

The Motion said that the government failed in fulfilling its basic responsibility, urging the House to halt the routine proceeding of the session for debate on the incident.

Similarly, Col (Retd) Tahir Hussain Mashhadi of MQM also moved an Adjournment Motion in Senate Secretariat on Tuesday’s tragedy.

It is pertinent to note that 29 people were shot dead and six others wounded in two separate incidents in Mastung and Quetta districts on Tuesday. The defunct Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ) claimed responsibility for the carnage. The first incident took place in the Ghuncha Dori area, 40 kilometres from Quetta, when some unidentified-armed men attacked a Taftan-bound passenger coach.

The passenger coach was carrying 45 pilgrims and traders from Quetta to Taftan (Iran), when it was attacked. And on Wednesday funeral prayers of the 22 pilgrims shot dead in Mastung were offered in Hazara Town graveyard and partial strike was being observed in various areas of provincial capital. On the other side more than 200 people have been held in connection with the incident.



Rally raps Mastung mayhem

Published: September 23, 2011
LAHORE - Shia Shehryan-e-Pakistan on Thursday took out a rally outside the Karbla Gamay Shah against the killing of 29 devotees in Mastung, Quetta.
Shia Shehryan-e-Pakistan Convener Allam Sayed Waqarul Husnain led the rally as protesters chanted anti-Balochistan government slogans and demanded Balochistan Chief Minister to resign.
Makhdoom Sayed Naubahaar Shah, Allam Waqar Haider Faizi, Allama Karamat Ali, Dr Sayed Noor Al-Mustafa Qadri, Sayed Ilyas Raza Rizwi, Malik Altaf Hussain, Allam Rajeeullah Khan Allama Kazim Naqwi, and others participated in the rally.
They urged Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take suo moto as more than 5,000 had been killed in Quetta.



BHC takes suo moto notice of Mastung killings

By: Bari Baloch | Published: September 23, 2011
QUETTA - Chief Justice Balochistan High Court Qazi Faiz Esa on Thursday took suo motu notice of the killings of 26 pilgrims in Ghanja Dori in Mastung District and issued notices to Federal and provincial governments.
Chief Justice took notice of the incident following the appeal of people through reports published in local and national media. The bus passengers were shot dead ruthlessly.
BHC observed that the incident has spread wide fear in the general public and traumatised a segment of the society.
Balochistan High Court issued notices to Secretary Interior, Home Secretary, Inspector General Frontier Corps (FC), Inspector General Police, Commissioner Kalat Division, Deputy Commissioner Mastung and Director General Levies. The hearing will begin on Sept 26th.



Human rights commission blames govt inaction for anti-Shia violence


Outraged by the targeted killing of 29 Shia pilgrims in Balochistan on Tuesday, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Wednesday said persistent lack of action against “sectarian militant groups” had emboldened them. They were taken off a bus, lined up and shot down after scrutiny of their identity cards.

The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) has claimed responsibility for the attack first on the pilgrims and then some of the ambulances that were going to their assistance. Given that sectarian violence has been going on for years now — particularly in Balochistan — and LeJ’s own agenda, the HRCP questioned the absence of action against the outfit which is technically banned in the country. “How do they still manage to roam free with their weapons and vehicles?”

Meanwhile, in Quetta, the government came under scathing attack for continued attacks on the community as Shias gathered for a mass funeral of those killed in the targeted killing.

In a statement, the HRCP said it was appalled by the gruesome killing of Shia pilgrims near Mastung and found the utter lack of protection for them outrageous, particularly when pilgrims travelling in the area — en route Iran to visit shrines there — had been attacked previously and were known to be at risk.

Referring to the provincial administration’s contention that the pilgrims had not informed the Home Department about their pilgrimage nor sought security, the HRCP said: “How convenient that instead of finding those who failed to perform their duty, the victims have been blamed. This just adds insult to injury.”

Describing Tuesday’s attack as a failure on many levels that once again exposed the diminishing writ of the state, HRCP asserted that “continued sectarian bloodshed across the country, particularly in Balochistan, is a direct consequence of the authorities’ perpetual failure to take note of sectarian killings in Quetta which have been going on for many years”

Of the view that official condemnations following such attacks are futile in the absence of follow-up action, the HRCP urged the government to move beyond rhetoric and its current casual and reactive approach to law and order challenges and start functioning as a responsible authority.

The Shia community of Quetta — was not even spared on Eid this year with a blast targeting them as they were returning from their prayers on August 31; killing ten people and injuring several others. What makes them all the more vulnerable in Balochistan is that they are predominantly Hazaras who have very distinctive Mongoloid features.



Mastung carnage

Harris Khalique
Friday, September 23, 2011

After the Mastung carnage the other day when people were dismounted from the bus, lined up and shot, followed by attacks on the attendants of the injured and mourners of the deceased in Quetta, I am really worried about the safety and security of Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum and Allama Iqbal’s tomb.

Twenty-nine Shia Muslims belonging to the Hazara community of Balochistan lost their lives. Many are wounded. This was not the first time. Shia Muslims in the length and breadth of Pakistan, from Gilgit to Karachi, are being targeted in general. But those belonging to the Hazara community have taken the brunt in the last few years. They are continuously threatened, attacked and killed.

Some say that the cause of this violence against the Dari-speaking Hazaras is rooted in the conflict between the Taliban and the protégé of the erstwhile northern alliance in today’s Afghanistan. Others blame it on the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran being waged in our country for years unending. Some also say it is the Jundullah, the separatists from Iranian Balochistan who have adopted a certain religious hue. Then the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, ingrained in the interior of Punjab but now spread all over, takes the blame.

Without a doubt no one is spared in the killing fields of Pakistan. Sunni Muslims of different denominations are killed in their mosques, Christian churches and neighbourhoods are torched, Hindus are hounded out of Muslim areas if their children drink water from the same tap, Ahmadis are killed while saying their prayers, Pakhtuns, Baloch, Sindhis, Punjabis, Mohajirs, Seraikis, Hazarawals of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, all fight each other under the banner of different political outfits. School buses are attacked, houses and hotels are blown up, offices are ransacked, markets are bombed.

However, Shias are being identified and killed indiscriminately for many years by no one else but their own countrymen. Be they doctors in Karachi, worshippers in Quetta, processionists in Hangu, passengers in Talagang, bystanders in Gilgit-Baltistan, they are all targeted.

There is a newly found passion among a certain segment of Pakistanis for correcting the path our ancestors treaded and purifying our customs and rituals of any adulteration brought about by the spreading of Islam in the non-Arab world. That path is no other than the Saudi path. But something that always intrigues me is that it took the Arabs 1300 years to raze the graveyard of the family and companions of the Prophet (PBUH) in Medina to cleanse the faith from impurities.

I would just want to come back to where I started. Why is the Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum in danger? Because Mohammed Ali Jinnah was born into a predominantly Ismaili family, got married the Shia Isna Ashri way and offered his prayers with Sunni Muslims. And something that I have shared once before about Shorish Kashmiri asking him if he was a Shia or a Sunni, to which he responded, “Was our Prophet Shia or Sunni?”

Likewise, Iqbal says about himself in his poem Zuhd Aur Rindi (Piety and Profanity), “Suntey hain keh uss mein haiy tashayyo bhi zara sa... Tafzeel-i-Ali hum ney suni uss ki zabani (People say that there is a Shia tinge in his beliefs... He speaks of the primacy of Hazrat Ali). Iqbal’s son Justice (retired) Javed Iqbal quoted his father once, “I belong to the Ahl-i-Sunnat-Wal-Jama’at (Sunni sect) but in my view those who do not love and revere the Ahl-i-Bait (the members of the house of the Prophet) cannot be true Muslims.”

So what do you think readers, are the resting places of the Quaid and Iqbal safe?

The writer is an Islamabad-based poet and author. Email:



How many more massacres?

By Editorial
Published: September 21, 2011

Pakistani Shiite Muslims shout slogans against the killing of community members in Quetta on September 21, 2011. PHOTO: AFP
The massacre on September 20 of a bus full of Hazara Shia near Quetta is another grotesque reminder of the slow, but steady, erosion of the religious state in Pakistan. It is not only the Quetta Shia who are the permanent target of terrorists. The Turi community — formed through historical migration from Afghanistan to Kurram Agency in the Tribal Areas — tells the same tragic story of Pakistan’s abandonment of its afflicted communities. The main road that links the agency’s headquarters Parachinar with Peshawar and the rest of the country has been more or less closed since 2007 because of the Taliban and their allied militants in the area. Unfortunately, the government has not able to keep it open for more than a few days, despite a much-heralded agreement earlier this year between the various tribes of Kurram. As for the September 20 massacre, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, whose leader Malik Ishaq was recently released from a jail in Punjab, claimed the attack, which resulted in the cold-blooded execution-style killing of 29 Shia pilgrims on their way to Iran.
Pakistan is struck with amnesia about the Hazaras every time a massacre takes place. The one on the last Eidul Fitr was forgotten; this one will be forgotten too. In the last three years, 230 of them have lost their lives as citizens of Pakistan. When Pakistan was supporting the Taliban regime in Afghanistan starting 1996, it began offering the sacrifice of its citizens to Mullah Umar and his renegade state as proof of its loyalty. And the killings didn’t begin in the 1990s but much before, around the time of General Zia’s Islamisation when the s0-called jihad against the Soviet Union was in full swing. The state tolerated the killing of the Shia by the Taliban in Mazar-e-Sharif, and did nothing when the Taliban regime that it supported in Kabul went after the Hazara in their heartland of Bamyan. In 2001, following America’s invasion of Afghanistan, al Qaeda fighters escaped to Pakistan and found shelter here, thanks in part to a network of sympathisers. When this happened, many of the homegrown sectarian killers found a readymade host in al Qaeda with its virulently anti-Shia ideology. In 2003, when the Shia were massacred during Ashura in Quetta, the local Shia leaders showed pamphlets issued by all major madrassas of Pakistan which had declared their sect as heretical.
The main sectarian organisation called Sipah Sahaba circumvented the ban placed on it by splitting into several smaller parts, and as it did this, the state did nothing. One splinter was the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the other was the Jaish-e-Muhammad. The first has joined al Qaeda as a member of Brigade 313 where Tehreek-i-Taliban and Jundullah are featured together with members of al Qaeda. The Lashkar and Jaish are both products of south Punjab, based in Bahawalpur and Rahimyar Khan respectively with links to the madrassa network headed by a well-known seminary in Karachi.
Pakistan’s turning away from the international community, as symbolised by its pulling out of the IMF programme and its escalating estrangement from America, could well place it in a completely isolationist corner. In fact, if that were to happen, it will only further encourage the forces of obscurantism and extremism, which have already made their significant presence felt across the length and breadth of Pakistani society. In this context, the assassination in Kabul through suicide bombing of the leader of the Tajik community in that country, Burhanuddin Rabbani, also on September 20, could further push Pakistan into this isolationist corner, not least because the rest of the world assumes, rightly or wrongly, that most Taliban attacks inside Afghanistan originate from Pakistan. Those who think that terrorism started in 2001 because Pakistan joined America’s war on terror, should know that attacks on Shias have been happening since the 1980s and since that period non-state actors have been involved in them, and that most of these have links to the Taliban and al Qaeda of today. The question to ask is: how many more massacres are we going to see of the Shias before we wake up and decide to purge the monster of sectarianism from within us?
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2011.


The Express Tribune

Balochistan killings

IT is not for the first time that Hazara Shia minority is targeted by sectarian outfits in Balochistan.

According to media reports, 29 pilgrims were killed while going to Iran, including three other people who were trying to bring the injured to a hospital.

According to the bus driver, Khushhal Khan, the victims’ identity cards were checked before they were assassinated to ascertain their sectarian background.

Fortunately the bus driver and cleaner were left unharmed.

The assistant commissioner of Mustang has called it a sectarian attack, as the banned outfit Lashkar-i-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for both the attacks.

The Hazaras who migrated from Central Asia over 100 years ago have been an easy target because of their distinct Mongoloid features.

They have been targets of religious violence since the mid-1980s; however, the attacks on them began to intensify after the start of the ‘war on terror’ when the Taliban scattered in Pakistani cities, particularly in the tribal belt and Quetta.

According to media reports, almost 500 Hazaras have been killed since 2000. Unfortunately most of the right-wing politicians who have been very vocal against drone attacks have failed to raise their voice against these brutal attacks.

I want to remind the government of its basic duty of protecting the lives of its citizens.


Shocking news

WHILE the whole country is reeling under the shock of unprecedented rains and floods which have caused untold damage, particularly in Sindh, we get another horrifying news of the massacre of 30 pilgrims in Mastung.

One news said that these poor pilgrims were taken out one by one from the ill-fated bus and shot. How can a human being be so cruel?

I have been wondering why and for what cause such dastardly acts are committed.



The Dawn