Shia Hazaras commemorate victims of terrorist attacks in Pakistan: report
Hazaras around the world, including the United States, annually commemorate the victims of two terrorist attacks in Pakistan, a Canadian-based think tank has said. January is an unlucky month for the Hazaras of Pakistan as the first terrorist attack took place in January 2013, when 130 people were killed in bomb attacks in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan. The second terrorist attack took place last year where eleven minors were shot dead, according to the International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS).
Pakistan’s Hazaras are a Shia minority that radical Sunnis consider un-Islamic and have persecuted for decades. This is why Hazaras in Pakistan and around the world in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia annually commemorate the victims of the attacks. However, the past alone is not driving the community’s activities and they recently took the opportunity to call on the Pakistani government to protect them from slander, discrimination, beatings and killings, reported the IFFRAS.
Earlier, on January 14 this year, a protest was organized by several minority communities outside the Punjab Assembly in Lahore demanding a fair and democratic electoral process to fill the seats reserved for minorities in Parliament and the National Assembly. Protesters claimed that the current system allowed political parties to select hand-picked people to represent minorities without their consent, which was undemocratic.
According to a Canadian-based think tank, the Hazara (both in Afghanistan and Pakistan) today face enormous difficulties in exercising their basic human rights, namely the right to life, freedom of movement, the right to higher education, etc. They also have limited social opportunities due to fear of violence. A Hazara student told the Pakistan National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) that “a Hazara cannot visit the whole city of Quetta without putting his life in danger”. That says a lot about the level of violence they experience! Hazaras are also afraid to go to malls and make a living in Quetta as their movement is restricted to a few safe areas in Quetta, IFFRAS reported.
He further reported that the living conditions of Hazaras in modern Pakistan were described by NCHR in a 2018 report. He states that the greatest burden of sectarianism is borne by the Shia Hazara community in Balochistan. The total Hazara population is estimated to be around 0.4 to 0.5 million people. The report notes that the Hazaras have been consistently targeted by terrorists and religious fanatics since 1999, through suicide bombings and targeted assassinations, with more than 2,000 people believed to have been killed in the past 14 years. The current situation of the Hazara community is precarious. The Hazaras are a community at risk; remember that they are only one of many ethnic minorities in Pakistan, reported IFFRAS. (ANI)
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