Speakers at a seminar on Saturday termed that the target killings of Hazara community in Quetta a systematic way of genocide. They said the violence in Quetta has nothing to do with sectarian violence in Giligit-Baltistan and Kuram Agency. They implored all of Balochistan’s nationalities — Baloch, Pashtun, Hazara and others — to come together and prevent the province from being plunged into a mini-civil war.
Jointly organised by the National Students Federation (NSF) and Hazara Students Federation (HSF) at the National Press Club, the seminar was attended by students and progressive political activists from across the twin cities, along with Balochi students and workers in Islamabad.
Sajjad Changezi of the HSF said that the media and state authorities continue to depict the situation in Balochistan as a case of the “foreign hand”, falsely portraying the Hazara community as a proxy for the Iranian Shia regime. He said that it is misleading to depict Hazaras only as Shias without recognising that they consider themselves a separate race with distinct language, culture, and other characteristics that go beyond their religious identity.
Renowned security analyst Dr Ayesha Siddiqa said, “The situation in Balochistan reflects the establishment’s unwillingness to allow a substantive political process to take root which empowers all of Balochistan’s ethnic communities.” She said that over the years, the volume of funds provided for strengthening religious seminaries in Balochistan is higher than the education budget of the provinces. “The province is infested with intelligence operatives from all of the country’s agencies,” she said.
Later, the participants also record a brief protest outside of the press club, holding banners and placards condemned the killing of the Hazara community.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2012.