Apr 04, 2018

Balochistan: Hazara Protest in Quetta Following Targeted Killings and Persecution

Starting on Sunday, 1 April 2018, hundreds of Hazaras, a Shia ethnic minority in Pakistan, gathered to join a sit-in protest against the persecution they face. The protests take place in Balochistan’s capital, Quetta. On Sunday, a Hazara man was shot dead and another injured in Quetta. These kinds of targeted killings of Hazaras have been occurring for many years. Last month’s report by the Pakistan National Commission for Human Rights indicated that 509 Hazara individuals have been killed in Quetta over the last 5 years. The movement gained support on social media such as Twitter and noticeably also from Shireen Mazari, a Pakistani politician and chief whip for Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party who condemned the targeted killings of members of the community.

This article has been published by ANI

Hundreds of Hazaras in the Balochistan capital recently gathered together to protest against the targeted killings and the constant persecution of the community.

The agitation entered its second day on Monday [2 April 2018].

Many Twitterers shared pictures of the sit-in protest that was held to condemn the killings of the Shia Hazara community as well as criticise the Pakistan government of not taking any action to ensure the safety and security of the community.

A Twitter user shared a snap from the demonstration at Quetta's Alamdar Road, writing, "The sit-in on Alamdar Road, Quetta enters its day two while provincial and federal governments have not taken any measures to provide security to #Hazaras. #GenocideOfHazaras @ImranKhanPTI @antonioguterres @hrw @amnesty @UN_HRC."

A Pakistani activist named Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi took to his Twitter page and posted an image of yesterday's sit-in protest.

"Hazara community starts a sit-in to protest today's brutal killings. Over 1500 Hazara Shias have been target killed in last few years. Several sit-ins, protests and promises later- we stand here again. Does anyone listen in this country?" he tweeted.

Shireen Mazari, a Pakistani politician, who serves as a chief whip for Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, also condemned the incidents of targetted killings of the Hazara community.

She wrote, "Condemnable targeting of Hazaras again by terrorists in Quetta. Where is the security for the Hazara community that is a constant target of sectarian terrorism?"

On Sunday, a man from the Hazara community was shot dead by unidentified miscreants in Quetta's Qandhari Bazar, while a second person suffered bullet wounds, in what was seen as a suspected targeted killing incident against the community.

As per The Dawn, police sources said that the two men were riding a vehicle when the incident occurred.

The deceased was identified as Nazar Hussain. The injured person was rushed to the Civil Hospital Quetta.

An investigation for the same is underway as to what caused the attack. As of now, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

A police officer was quoted as saying that the incident appeared to be an act of "targeted killing".

The Hazara community is targeted by miscreants because of their distinctive physical appearance and has been severely affected by sectarian terrorism in Balochistan in the last few years.

Last month, a report released by the Pakistan National Commission for Human Rights showed that 509 people from the Shia Hazara community were killed, while 627 of them were wounded in different incidents of terrorism for the last five years in the Balochistan capital.

The Hazaras are an ethnic group native to the Hazarajat region in central Afghanistan, speaking the Hazaragi variant of Dari, which is an eastern variety of Persian language. It is also one of the two official languages of Afghanistan after Pashto.

They are Shia Muslims and make up the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan. The Hazaras also make up a significant minority group in Pakistan, largely living in Quetta. (ANI)

Photo courtesy of Beluchistan in Flickr