HRW urges govt to protect Shias

Published: December 4, 2011
Hazara Shias protest target killings in Balichistan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Hazara Shias protest target killings in Balichistan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

NEW YORK: The international organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report on Saturday in which it urged the Pakistani government to protect Shia Muslims during the holy month of Muharram.

The report outlines concerns for possible attacks on Shia processions during the 9th and 10th of Muharram, and mentions the deadly attack on a Shia procession in Karachi in December 2009 that left 30 dead.

“Shia (community) in Pakistan should be able to participate in Ashura processions without fear of attack,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Pakistani authorities need to address the severe danger faced by the Shia population with all necessary security measures. They can start by arresting extremist group members responsible for past attacks.”

The organisation has recorded at least 18 sectarian attacks on the community in 2011. According to the report, at least 275 Shias, mostly of Hazara ethnicity, have been killed in sectarian attacks in the southwestern province of Balochistan alone since 2008.

“The ongoing targeted killings of Shia send a chilling message to all Pakistanis that their government won’t necessarily act to protect them,” Adams said. “The government’s failure to break up the extremist groups that carry out these attacks calls into question its commitment to protect all of its citizens.”

The report states that the organization has approached the Pakistani government to take action for sectarian violence.

“Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders should recognize that their tolerance for extremist groups is killing their own citizens,” Adams said. ”They need to stop appeasing extremists and start holding them accountable.”

The government has increased security all over Pakistan for Ashura processions in the coming week.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Dec 4, 2011 - 3:57PM

    Vienna,December 4,2011

    Ashura Mazda,that reminds me of 1970 when in Teheran an Afghani
    Hazara it is better to die like “A MAN” rather than dieing on roads
    like stray dogs.Moharram death besides leads to martyrdom,
    shahadaat.Human Rights Watch should know Pakistan Security
    Forces are only facilitating the shahadaat of the beleiving minorities!
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media monitoring TTTMM India
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna


  • AnisAqeel
    Dec 4, 2011 - 7:34PM

    It is the utmost duty of the state to protect its citizens from any bigot and bias crime and these crimes cannot occur so frequently without the sponsorship of any powerful organization and there is no one powerful in any country than the establishments or organized crime mafia that may be run on the encouragement and partnerships to achieve certain goals. Why this type of bigotry bias and killing does not happen so very often in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Turkey, Iran and some other Islamic countries that has a large Muslim population and why any Muslims whether Shia, Sunni, Ismaili or Ahmadi live fearlessly and in peace in Europe and Americas? Pakistani Government should do better than what they are doing with these minorities.


  • Raj
    Dec 4, 2011 - 7:40PM

    Its rather surprising that such a hot topic about inequality within Pakistan and yet lack of comments here!!!!!
    Come on ET !! This is too obvious !!! There are plenty of people who would have wanted their two pence worth on this topic, so what up????


  • Cautious
    Dec 4, 2011 - 9:19PM

    If you ever become dependent on Iran’s gas your going to have cold winters unless you stop abusing Shia.


  • Ali Mardan
    Dec 4, 2011 - 9:25PM

    Instead of condemning these atrocities, some members of civil society suggesting not to take out Muharram-ul-Haram procession due to current law and order scenario. Elements behind these terrorist acts have also the same agenda to halt Muharram processions. Shia community commemorates martyrdom of Imam Hussain (a.s) since hundreds of years all around the world. Last year the largest gathering of people were recorded in Karbala (Iraq) on the eve of Ashora & Chehlum.


  • Aadersh
    Dec 4, 2011 - 9:44PM

    Well HRW…. we all can c Pakistani Govt. is doing whatever they could…Roads have been blocked by containers in all the major cities from where the Shia procession are supposed to pass…Life has been crippled almost to ensure their security…As far as the attacks are concerned even the Sunni Masjids were target by terrorists so it is the problem of whole Pakistan & we are united against this evil…


  • MA Shah
    Dec 4, 2011 - 10:07PM

    From last few decades our establishment failed in its primary objective ie to protect Pakistanis from internal enemies. Everyone knows Pakistani Shia are able to defend themselves if push comes to shove, it is important to note that Shia is a sizeable community in Pakistan and enjoy brotherly relations with all section of our society. As well as the question of providing protection during Ashura marches is concerned, it is better establishment use young Shias as Razakar or police volunteers , i know in rural parts of my district where police hands security to local Shia youth, who do the job brilliantly.


  • R.A
    Dec 4, 2011 - 11:09PM

    @ Anis Aqeel
    The simple answer is
    Pakistanis think theirs is the only
    true Islam and thus Pakistan is only
    true Muslim state in the world and
    Allah has given them the right to
    impose it the way they like

  • AnisAqeel
    Dec 5, 2011 - 4:34AM

    You are absolutely right that all the sects think they are right and there is no problem in it, the problem arises when they impose their beliefs by hook or by the crook.


  • Dec 6, 2011 - 10:58AM



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