Another sectarian attack

Published: April 10, 2012

ShiA Muslim men place a coffin of a victim into an ambulance after his funeral ceremony in Quetta on April 10, 2012. PHOTO: AFP

There is no greater indicator of the strength of a state than the way it treats its minorities. A country that can successfully integrate religious and ethnic minorities is always prosperous and peaceful. By that metric, Pakistan is a failed state. On the night of April 9, six members of the Hazara Shia community were gunned down in Quetta city. Their unforgivable crime was simply having the audacity to stand outside a shop. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, but the most likely culprits would be the virulently sectarian Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). The SSP is technically a banned group but judging from its murderous deeds it seems to operate with impunity. That this is the second such attack in two weeks, with the last being a drive-by shooting in Quetta that killed four Hazara men, shows just how vulnerable the community is and just how little will exists to protect its right to life and liberty.

This latest in the series of attacks against the Hazara community should serve as a reminder, not only of the war being carried out against them, but also the precarious state of all minorities in the country. Forgotten till a large attack forces our attention, the Ahmadi community continues to be discriminated against, both by a government that refuses to grant them their rights, and a society that treats them like lesser beings, who are liable to be killed for just about any trumped-up reason. Instead of pursuing the terrorist groups and individuals responsible for these wanton acts of violence, the state just turns a blind eye towards them. As unacceptable as this violence against minority communities is, what makes it even worse is that it empowers the hate-filled groups that are the perpetrators of such atrocities. Throughout the 1990s they were allowed to grow in strength and daring as they targeted Shia professionals. Now, they have turned their guns on a state that coddled them for over a decade. Such is the harvest you reap when cowardice trumps justice.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2012.

Reader Comments (3)

  • harish
    Apr 11, 2012 - 2:55AM

    the only thing im concerned about is, how to trust the safety of pak’s nuclear weapons? if they dont have those nukes the world have no problem at all with pakistan.

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  • huzaifa
    Apr 12, 2012 - 9:37AM

    I still remeber the famous qoutation by Martin niemoller a christian pastor:-
    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me”
    .
    I think when minorities were being subected to the killing and harassment in Pakistan no body spoke for them and now it is by turn, let’s see who is next ?

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  • Dr Urfan
    Apr 14, 2012 - 1:53PM

    I don’t understand the fact that we are still divided on ethnic lines, calling one another minorities. And we are very quick in coming to conclusions, without even investigating properly. Why don’t we forget there is conclusive proofs of foreign hands in Baluchistan issue, but alas, we are quick to point fingers on ourselves.
    The need of hour is to be united, we should and be Muslims first and one should be considered minorities.

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