QUETTA: Syed Ali Mujtaba was killed on his way to donate blood and Aqeel Raza met the same fate while travelling to his university. Their only fault was that they belonged to the Shia Hazara community. As heart-rending as this state of affairs is for the community in Quetta, the criminal silence that has accompanied it is equally agonising. Perhaps, Shia Hazaras are lesser human beings because I really cannot figure out why we are being offloaded from buses and killed in cold blood, with not even women and children being spared. Yet, the media and the people of Pakistan seem to have more important issues to address, including the numerous ‘gates’ that are constantly hogging the limelight.
On June 18, a bus carrying Shia Hazaras was hit by a suicide blast, which killed five students and critically wounded many others. Not a single person involved in this or other attacks has been caught and punished and even if they are caught, they miraculously ‘escape’. Businessmen have abandoned their businesses, students cannot go to universities, colleges and schools, people cannot travel and are trapped in their homes. They have become despondent and are forced to leave the place they love most. Hundreds have drowned while on their way to Australia. They prefer death by drowning than to live every day in constant fear.
I am sure my dear, departed friend, Syed Ali Mujtaba, is in a better place now as he does not have to experience the pain caused by the death of friends and family members anymore. The city he loved has changed a lot. The mountains are not as friendly as they used to be and the valley has become bleak. Blood flows through the streets and the air is filled with sobs and screams. Roaming the city with him on a scooter and the trips to Askari Park and Hana Urak are just memories now. People don’t go on picnics anymore and spend their time remembering their loved ones. Everybody is waiting … waiting for their turn.
Saqlain Ali Changezi
Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2012.
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