Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Mission Hazaras: Target Killing Accomplished

By Mmrityunjay NandaAt some point of time in your life you will realize that you have been emotionally debating around issues being unaware of its deep and diverse roots.When we see an act of brutal discrimination against a poor race, we start feeling squeamish and yell around what we witnessed. But believe me, you can never understand or experience the pain and torture that these Hazara people have been through since the birth of their race.

Hazaras are generally Persian-Speaking people who solely count themselves as Shia Muslim. This race finds its residence mostly in Afghanistan, Iran and Quetta of Pakistan. Quettais the largest city and provincial capital of Baluchistan where Baloch and Pashtun are the two main ethnic groups; the city holds a population of 13 million. Hazaras who live in Quetta are pretty poor in number, about half a millionin number currently and gradually losing their population due to unimpeded slaughtering and sectarian attacks. Because of their mere inhibited strength and lack of resources, these people are getting sandwiched between the Balochi and Pashtuns groups.
In 19th century, when Hazaras were evolving as a civilization, Emir Abdur Rahman Khan came in to power and slaughtered nearly half of them. Furthermore he plotted Sunni Muslims against Shias and the act of brutality is still flashing its red colour in the eyes of every Hazara. Even in 21st Century, the catastrophes have not stopped shadowing these tribes.Though worldwide protests have caught much foreign attention towards systematic discrimination, ethnic cleansing and genocide of Hazara people, but the number of massacres has not diminished yet. Where the racist tyrants keep on targeting them in broad daylight while the government is still dozing, lost in fantasy.You will be shaken when you will come to know that 2410 people have lost their lives only in Baluchistan since 2006. It’s also a matter of great disgrace that one-third of the victims are children.
Sunni extremist militant groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and terrorist groups like Baluchistan Liberation Army are held responsible for the slaughtering. These sectarian killers are targeting Hazaras in shops, market places, hotels, mosques, hospitals, in fact wherever they can get their hands on this marginalised race. If you are a Hazara then you will never know when and where a bullet will hit you and untied your soul from your mortal body. When you close your eyes at dusk, the dawn can only be described as an uncertain future.
A report displays that 85%, i.e. 454 people, have lost their lives in sectarian attacks out of total 534 casualties since September 2011 to 2012. I do fear, life out there has become just like a water bubble for these Shia Muslims.
Reacting to the situation a Pakistani citizen says, ‘‘something very corrupt and evil has seeped into the psyche of the country and appears to be spreading and it looks like no one cares.’’Law and enforcement system of the province -the only hope of these innocent people – refuses to lift a finger against it wherein the police forces are truly falling short before these man slaughters. No one is there even to throw a straw to these drowning tribes of Quetta.
Where it is suggested that Pakistani Military commands are immunizing these terrorist groups, there the involvement of Taliban’s Quetta, an Afghan-Taliban militant organization, can’t be excluded. When the chief minister of Baluchistan Nawab was questioned about the connection, he just replied with a funny statement,‘‘Look, I have heard of Quetta Shrove(soup), not the Quetta Shura’’. Replying to another question he added, ‘‘Why don’t you go and ask people why it is that they cry so?If they are going to cry like this, we will send them a truck load of tissue papers, so that they can wipe their sorry tears.’’
So it is crystal clear that these public servants are openly accepting their strong ignorance towards on-going sectarian attacks.But I really don’t understand the peculiar behaviour of these bureaucrats;is it because of fear, negligence, and incompetence or is it pure politics? Whatever it may be, but there are thousands of innocent lives still hanging in jeopardy and this has to stop.
I have truly no words to describe what Hazaras have been through but no one can deny that this is another heinous example of tactical barbarism in the pursuit of prejudice that the world has ever seen.


Sectarian violence: Hazara community under attack in Quetta

QUETTA: After an interval of a few weeks, sectarian targeted killings resumed in Quetta on Tuesday morning as two brothers belonging to the Hazara community were gunned down outside the regional passport office near Joint Road.
According to a senior police officer, Mohammad Tahir and Mohmmad Qadir had come to the post office to get their passports made and were attacked outside the main gate of the office at 7.15 am.
The assailants were on a motorcycle and fled the scene after opening fire at the two brothers. “Both men died on the spot and another man of the Hazara community received bullet wounds,” police said.
The bodies and injured were taken to Sandeman hospital where stringent security measures were adopted to thwart another attempted attack. The injured, identified as Manzoor Ali, was referred to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) for security reasons, sources in the hospital said. “It was sectarian target shooting,” another senior investigating officer said.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the assault.
It is pertinent to mention here that around 28 people of Hazara community have been killed in the recent spate of target killings this year. Some police officers investigating sectarian killings, such as SSP Crime Investigation Department Shahnawaz Khan and sub-inspector Sayed Jamal Shah were also gunned down in Quetta in the recent past. On the other hand, some religious scholars of Sunni sect were also victims of targeted attacks in the provincial capital and religious parties believe that some elements are trying to instigate sectarian violence in Balochistan.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Potential suicide bomber killed in Quetta

QUETTA: A potential suicide bomber was killed when a detonator he was carrying along with a suicide vest prematurely went off on Kirani Road near Hazara Town, pre-dominantly Shia Muslims’ neighbourhood in Quetta, on Thursday night.
The police officials in plain clothes deputed near Hazara Town tried to stop a suspect and opened fire at him when he tried to run away, Superintendent Police (SP) Brewery Malik Arshid said.
The detonator prematurely went off, killing the man on the spot; however, his suicide vest could not explode, he added. The explosion rocked the area.
Sources said that the alleged suicide bomber wanted to target the people of Hazara community and the police successfully foiled the attempt.
A heavy contingent of police and security forces reached the spot and cordoned off the area.
According to the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS), the bomber was carrying 4-5kg explosive material and ball bearings.
SP Arshid said that the bomber wanted to enter the Hazara town when he was intercepted by the police.
“The attacker seemed to be young with a light beard,” he said.
The body was shifted to Bolan Medical College (BMC) Teaching Hospital for autopsy. The identity of the alleged bomber could not be ascertained as yet.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Two suspects killed, police official injured in exchange of fire

QUETTA: Police gunned down two suspected terrorists during an encounter near Akhtarabad, an area close to Hazara Town in Quetta on Monday. A police official was also injured during the exchange of fire.
Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani announced a reward worth Rs 500,000 for the police party that successfully killed the alleged terrorists and assured their promotion.
According to Deputy Inspector General (DIG-Operations) Qazi Wahid, police signalled a car to stop near Akhtarabad for inspection but the suspects did not stop. When police along with personnel of the Anti Terrorism Force (ATF) chased the car, the suspects opened fire at them injuring one of policeman Riaz. Two ATF personnel were also shot in the chest but they remained unhurt as they were wearing bullet-proof jackets.
“Two terrorists were killed when police fired back. Police also recovered two 9mm pistols, four other pistols, a Russian made hand grenade, seven fake registration number plates and two National Identity Cards,” Wahid told reporters while addressing a press conference at his office.
The bodies were shifted to Bolan Medical Complex for autopsy and later kept in a morgue. The identity of the suspects could not be ascertained as police said investigations are underway.
DIG-Operations further claimed that the suspects were the members of a group of target killers in Quetta. “They wanted to target some people in Quetta but timely action by police foiled their attempt,” he said.
Responding to a query, Wahid said that the ID cards recovered from the suspects appear to be either stolen or fake and were sent to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for verification.
With increasing incidents of sectarian target killing in Quetta, Wahid said strict security measures have been put in place in the provincial capital.
Law enforcement agencies have arrested six target killers in the last few days.

Protest in Sweden, against Hazara Genocide in Quetta

Hazara diaspora held a protest demonstration in Malmo, Sweden against Hazara genocide in Quetta.

Malmo: Hundreds of members of Hazara diaspora and Swedish human rights activists held a protest demonstration in Malmo, Sweden against the massacre of Hazaras in Quetta, Pakistan. They were holding banners and placards with slogans asking Pakistani government to take action against killers in Quetta and provide security to the Hazara community.
Speakers condemned the continued killings of Hazaras, calling it a genocide and demanded the Government of Pakistan to take action against a bunch of sectarian terrorists. They also demanded the international community and human rights organizations to pressurize the Pakistani Government to launch operation against killers of the Hazaras.
Hazara diaspora is organizing protest demonstrations worldwide between April 20-30 in front of Pakistani embassies and human rights organizations to raise voice against the genocide of Hazaras in Quetta Pakistan.

Some protesters staged a drama depicting the role of Pakistani Government, their negligence and inaction against sectarian terrorists and killers of Hazaras.


Three TTP, LJ men held in Quetta

QUETTA: Officials of the Frontier Corps claimed on Sunday to have arrested three suspected terrorists in the Brewery road area.
According to FC sources, a raid was conducted on a small house near the Hazara graveyard which led to the arrest of the three men.
The sources said that two of the detained men belonged to outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan who had come to Quetta from Karachi and the third one belonged to the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi.
The suspects were handed over to authorities concerned for further investigation.
Two tribesmen killed
Two members of the ‘Bugti Amn Force’ were killed when a landmine blew up a vehicle in Loti area on Sunday.
According to sources, Sher Mohammad and Movezi were killed when their pick-up set off the landmine at Zamardan in the Loti gas field.
Another man and his 14-year-old grandson, who were in the vehicle, were injured.
Security personnel took the bodies and the injured to Sui Hospital

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Under Siege of Terror: The Shia Hazara of Pakistan

Sectarian violence promoted by religious extremists  is not new to Pakistan, but the latest series of brutal attacks on the otherwise peaceful Hazara people has reached a breaking point in recent weeks.  Despite the fact thatnearly 30 people have died in the past two weeks,  the Government of  Pakistan seems incapable – if not unwilling – to step in to stop this siege of terror.
The situation in the Balochistan province, located  in south-west Pakistan  has always been complex with a number of different ethnic groups, a seccesionist movement and various Taliban leaders all vying for power. Things have become even worse  in the last few years with escalating tensions between the United States and Pakistan over the NATO supply route leading to even more unrest in Quetta, Balochistan’s capital city and bringing an onslaught of tragedy to the Hazara who live there.
For hundreds of years, the Hazara people of Pakistan had lived in the shadows of the low mountains of Quetta.  Located on the border between Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the city has always been a crossroads of goods and people.  Belonging to the minority Shia sect of Islam and easily distinguishable from the other ethnic groups of the region because of their Central Asian features, the Hazara are an easy target.
In particular, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a sectarian, militant group have been targeting the Hazara minority in Balochistan in a series of brazen attacks.  Last September, religious processions organized by the community were targeted twice. Then came the brutal assault on a bus carrying Shia Hazara pilgrims to Quetta. All the men and boys aboard were taken out of the bus, lined up and shot, as their mothers, wives and sisters watched from inside. The assailants were unafraid, and had insured that the highway was blocked on both ends when they conducted that ambush.  Later that evening, two more Hazara men were killed after being dragged out of their cars at a traffic light in Quetta. The total death toll for the day was over thirty dead and scores more injured.
The killing has continued since and has taken on a frenetic pace this past week. Since March 26, 2012, nearly 30 people have died in targeted attacks on the Hazara Shia. Six were shot dead execution style while drinking tea at one of the many roadside stalls in Quetta. The attack on March 29, again involved a hijacked bus whose Hazara passengers, including a woman, were singled out and then summarily murdered with automatic weapons.
Recent days have  brought even more attacks, with the hapless members of the community taking to the streets of Quetta, before an apathetic provincial administration and the wrath of terrorist groups that can kill with impunity.
According to a report produced by the community, local authorities in Balochistan have taken only superficial measures or none at all to stop the killings or bring their killers to justice. Public religious edicts issued by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi members and labeling the extermination of Hazara as a religious duty continue to be distributed freely in mosques, via handbill and even text message in Quetta.
The volatile mix of apathy and terror is exacerbated by the general unrest and lawlessness in Baluchistan. Unlike other nationalist forces in the province, the Hazara are patriotic Pakistanis unwilling to support any secessionist causes, which makes their situation even more precarious.
In their own words; the Shia Hazara of Quetta are a peace love community under siege from a collusion of forces; the brazen Lashkar-e-Jhangvi whose assailants are killing them at will, an apathetic Balochistan Government that does not see them as worth protecting, and the silence of everyone else who is watching them die.
Lacking political connections, resources and unwilling to take on the same tactics of violence and intimidation used by all those around them; the onlyrecourse that the Hazara of Quetta can hope for is that the world who hears of them, does not think they are too small, too unknown and too helpless to be allowed to exist.

By: Rafia Zakaria

Persecuted Hazaras rally for peace

At least 29 Hazara Shias have been killed and scores wounded in Quetta in the last two weeks, in the recent spate of violence against the minority community. Last week, thousands of people gathered in the capital of the Balochistan province to protest against yet another surge in sectarian violence.

The April 13 protests, organized by the Hazara Democratic Party, were called after four people were killed in two separate attacks on Iqbal Road and Abdul Sattar Road in Quetta on April 12.

Holding placards that read 'Stop Hazara killings', 'Say no to terrorism', 'No to sectarianism', and 'We want peace', crowds of protesters, estimated at about 4,000, marched to the Balochistan governor's house late Friday morning.

"I think the security forces and some ministers are supporting the terrorists who slaughter the Hazaras with impunity," Abdul Khaliq Hazara, chairman of the secular ethnic Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), said during a protest rally.

Ahmed Ali Kohzad, general secretary of the HDP, said his party was calling for targeted action by the Pakistani government against the groups responsible in the killings.

Qadir Nayel, a local writer and activist, said that the people had little faith in the local government of Balochistan province.

"We see security personnel only when we come downtown to protest against the massacre of our brothers," said a protester, Juma Khan.

In a statement following the killings of 13 Hazara aboard a bus in the outskirts of Quetta in fall last year, Amnesty International had said "routine targeted killings against the Hazara and other groups because of their ethnicity, religion or political affiliations raises serious questions about the will or ability of Pakistan security force to protect the people of Balochistan".

"I know I will be killed one day for being a Hazara Shia"

Nayel said that the protests in Quetta, along with similar demonstrations in Islamabad, Multan and Muzaffarabad on Friday will get the attention of international human rights groups.

Sajjad, an activist attending the rally, said he could see television cameras but doubted the report would make it to actual broadcasts on mainstream media. Nayel says people in other parts of Pakistan, such as Karachi, have their own issues to deal with. He described their approach to the matter as "largely hands-off".

Many protesters said the perpetrators of the crimes roamed the streets with little fear. "We are sure that the same assailants who killed two Hazaras on Iqbal Road, killed two more in Liaqat bazaar on their way home".

Asked if he feared an attack on the rally, a protester said: "I am not afraid. I know I will be killed one day for being a Hazara Shia anyway."

"We will never resort to violence," said an energetic young man. "We will keep protesting in a civilized manner, unlike the coward terrorists."

The three-hour-long sit-in outside the Governor's House came to an end after the governor and provincial ministers assured the leaders of the HDP they would take up the issue with the chief minister of the province and make a comprehensive plan to end the attacks on the Hazara in Quetta. The protesters then dispersed peacefully.

The HDP also called a wheel-jam strike on April 15 that was supported by all major political parties. Also on April 15, Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani met with a Hazara delegation led by Sardar Sa'adat Ali and agreed to launch a targeted operation against terrorists groups.

At least 90 suspects have been arrested so far from various localities of Quetta.

The Balochistan government has also vowed to revisit its security plan and decided to install hundreds of CCTV cameras in various localities in Quetta to improve law and order.

By: Dr. Saleem Javed
Dr Saleem Javed is a freelance journalist based in Quetta. He blogs at and tweets at @mSaleemJaved


2 Hazaras killed in Quetta, FC arrests 3 suspects

QUETTA: Targeted killings of Hazara community in the provincial capital continued as two more persons were shot dead on Brewery Road in Quetta on Saturday.
However, Frontier Corps (FC) claimed to have arrested three suspects allegedly involved in the Brewery Road incident and seized arms from their possession.
According to a police officials, two persons were passing on a motorbike on the Brewery road when an unknown person opened fire at them, killing them instantly. They said that the  attackers had managed to escape from the scene after committing the crime.
“A man on foot opened fire at the men on motorbike,” said a local police official Amir Dasti, quoting eyewitness accounts.
He said it was the case of sectarian target killing and investigations were underway.
A heavy contingent of police and security forces reached the spot and shifted the bodies to Bolan Medical Complex where the deceased were identified as Boban Ali and Hussain Ali, inhabitants of Hazara Town.
“The victims were shot in the head and chest,” hospital sources said.
Scores of angry people belonging to Hazara community staged a noisy demonstration on Brewery Road near the hospital. They blocked the road by torching used tires. Protesters raised slogans against the government and law enforcement agencies for their failure to protect the Hazara community from target killers.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson of Frontier Corps (FC) confirmed that the killers of two Hazaras on Brewery Road had been apprehended as FC personnel deputed on the road chased down the criminals who even opened fire at them. “The attackers after targeting two persons of Hazara community tried to escape from the scene. Security forces chased the killers with the help of local people,” he stated in his official press release.
The statement detailed that the FC had first arrested two suspects identified as Guharam Soori Khan and Mian Khan and later booked a third  uspect following disclosure from his colleagues during interrogation.
The arrested suspects were handed over to Brewery police for further interrogation, the FC official said, adding that people present on the spot had also identified the target killers arrested by FC.
Inspector General FC Balochistan Major General Ubaidullah Khan praised the FC and police for acting against the killers on time. “The perpetrators will not escape if local people continue to cooperate with law enforcement agencies,” he said while announcing the arrest of killers.

Hazara Protesters’ letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Hazara Protesters’ letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs
From:…………………(Name)………..a (citizenship/residence/country) Hazara.
To: the respected Minister of Foreign affairs.
Subject: Committing genocide, forced displacement and systematic discriminations against Hazaras in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
I carry the grievances of a people who are being persecuted, massacred and systematically discriminated in Pakistan and Afghanistan even in today’s 21st century when there are a number of institutions and organizations such as the UN, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Court of Justice etc formed to fight against these crimes.
For more than a century our people have been subjected to genocide, forced displacements, slavery and systematic discriminations which are still continuing in the 21st century.
The terrorists groups backed by the intelligence agencies of the countries involved in the region are slaughtering scores of our people in Quetta, Pakistan, while in Afghanistan the systematic discriminations still continue against them and tens of thousands of Hazara men, women and children become the victims of Kochi Pakhtuns each year. The Kochis backed by the Afghan government and Taliban not only massacre them but rob their properties and displace them forcefully.
Respected Minister of Foreign Affairs,
I request you to not to be indifferent towards the systematic crimes against the Hazaras and fulfill your obligations in this regard as a highest responsible authority in the foreign affairs.
I request you to immediately summon the ambassadors of Pakistan and Afghanistan in the Foreign Ministry to inquire them about the systematic crimes committed against Hazaras and ask them to ensure that such crimes won’t repeat in the future.
I request you to take up the issue of systematic crimes against the Hazaras in the responsible national and international forums to create consensus in order to effectively prevent crimes against Hazaras and redress their grievances.
Yours truly,
Name and Signature: