In a period of less than two months, Hazara community was targeted for the second consecutive time causing massacre of over two hundred people altogether. On January 10, 2013, over hundred innocent Hazaras were killed through two bomb blasts and on February 16, 2013, massacre of another over ninety Harazas was caused through another powerful blast of explosive kept in a water tanker. This is besides the routine target killing of this community at the hands of terrorists in last over a decade. It is estimated that total killing of this community over last one decade has exceeded the figure of 1000, all-inclusive; children, women, old and youth.
It is pertinent to mention that over 600,000 people of Hazara community consisting of well-read, economically affluent, dedicated and patriotic Pakistanis. They make up bulk of the business community of Quetta in particular and Balochistan in general. Being an educated community, there is a remarkable number of this community among officer corps of armed forces, doctors, engineers and local administration of the province as well as at the national level. The former Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army, General Musa Khan was from the same community of patriotic Pakistanis.The community has contributed a lot in the dissemination of basic and higher education in the province; irrespective of the ethno-sectarian factor. They indeed are devoted Pakistani and remain steadfast in the most trying times of the history of Pakistan, once there were disturbances in the province. A vast majority of Hazara community today think that, Hazaras are paying the price of this devotion and loyalty with Pakistan. Indeed, Hazaras maintained unwavering support for the Federation of Pakistan, against the sub-national tendencies and anti-Pakistan activities. This is considered another reason for their genocide.
The extremist ideology of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and its leading affiliates like TTP is based on, “terror, intolerance and religious fanaticism.” In contrast, the Hazara community strongly believes on the principles of; human rights, democracy, tolerance, pluralism, inclusiveness, and equal opportunity for all. After two successive events of massacre, the Federal Government has taken some cosmetic measures for the transitory satisfaction of the community. Imposition of Governor Rule to sideline the disgruntled former Chief Minister was one act. Now after second attack, the Provincial Inspector General of Police has also been transferred. Then, reportedly, Punjab Government has also detained the main perpetrator of banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Malik Mohammad Ishaq. Besides, there have been some arrests and even killings of few terrorists of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi elements in Quetta.
Whereas, Hazaras buried their loved ones after days of protests in extreme weather conditions, these cosmetic and fleeting measures taken by the Government are nothing more than a sand dune or a haystack. The terrorists would find new ways and means to unleash terror as and when they desire. Could Governor Rule save Hazaras from another massacre that a new IGP, a bureaucrat under Governor or CM would do? Nonetheless, there is a requirement of a change in the mindset and adaptation of an apolitical approach.
The real demand is to find the actual culprit(s), who sponsor this terrorist outfit and encourage such terrorist acts for their political gains. As evidenced by media, many scholars and even Federal Interior Minister, the activities of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi are closely linked with a key political figure in Punjab. With this news being, talk of the town, should there still be logics for not taking actions against such people. Does the Constitution of Pakistan provide any immunity for such people too?
The insecure Hazara community has also demanded the Government for the provision of Army protection, which mean they trust this national and unbiased institution. The Government may have its own reasons to deny them, whereas Army command was all set to secure the lives of Hazaras. In response to some media misreporting, the ISPR has rejected any linkage with any religious or banned outfits. It is therefore, responsibility of political leadership to bring to the justice, those responsible for Hazara massacre and causing a divide among the Muslims of Pakistan for their petty political gains or else aiming to fulfill any peripheral agenda. After having a clear indication of the factors behind the massacres of Hazara, should the Govt still play politics with the grieved and impoverished people, just for political gains? In academia, we are taught that, democracy is the form of government; of the people, for the people and by people. In Pakistan, we have a democracy, but is it really “for the people?”
By Dr Raja Muhammad Khan
The writer is Islamabad-based IR analyst.
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