Another sectarian massacre

Published: June 29, 2012
A paramilitary soldier stands guard near a damaged bus destroyed in a bomb attack in the outskirts of Quetta  June 28, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS

A paramilitary soldier stands guard near a damaged bus destroyed in a bomb attack in the outskirts of Quetta June 28, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, whose multiple-homicide leader was released this year from a prison in Lahore has killed another 14 Hazara Shia citizens in a bus carrying 50 passengers on its way from Taftan, a border town between Iran and Pakistan. This is the third time since last year that pilgrims to Iran have been killed, to say nothing of the random extermination of the community that began in the 1990s, when the Hazaras of Quetta started being targeted by terrorists affiliated with the al Qaeda. This has gone on in parallel with attacks on the Shia community in the Kurram Agency, Gilgit-Baltistan and some cities of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa bordering Fata.

Adding to the shame for Pakistan, a large number of Pakistanis have added themselves to the ‘boat people’ of Southeast Asia, trying to enter Australia illegally. A boat capsize has taken the lives of scores of them, all hailing from the areas that have been subjected to sectarian strife where Shias have been targeted. A bulk of them belonged to Kurram Agency because Pakistani routes were closed to them and they couldn’t go home from Peshawar if they wanted to. The scourge of al Qaeda and its henchmen, funded by private citizens from Arab states, has decided to put to an end to a community that the state of Pakistan cannot protect.

Hazara websites tell the gory tale and appeal to the state to protect the community. Every month, a shocking 60 Hazaras are killed in Quetta, which has the dubious reputation of being home to the infamous Quetta Shura of Mullah Omar. Quetta has a sizeable population of widows and orphans telling the sorry tale of Islamabad’s distraction with enemies it can’t defeat, its military commentators and retired diplomats daily telling the nation how to stand up to the anti-Pakistan triad of America, India and Israel. Over the last half-decade, 50,000 Hazaras have left Balochistan for other countries, some of them dying on the way.

The Baloch in Balochistan are up in arms in revenge for their ‘disappeared’ relatives and are taking it out on innocent non-Baloch inhabitants through their rebel groups, blowing up pipelines and killing people inside Quetta to remind Islamabad that it is off-target when it says India is doing it; and the army is wrongly focused when it goes after terrorists calling them Indian and American agents. The al Qaeda enjoys the direct allegiance of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, Jandullah and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Indirectly, it enjoys a meeting of the minds with the organisations busy agitating against America in the shape of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council. The nation does not know what is going on because of the ‘linguistic divide’ in the media: the Urdu media has still to recognise basic facts and will not name terrorist organisations, while TV anchors shrink from the truth for fear of being killed.

All these killers will be needed soon in Afghanistan when the next war for  ‘strategic depth’ is fought. Because they are the jihadis that will fight for Pakistan, they are allowed the franchise in Pakistan of exterminating their ideological enemies. The Pakistani state doesn’t seem care if Christians are targeted through the blasphemy law and if the Ahmadi community is persecuted against. It is still somewhat upset over what is happening to the Shia community. But the grooves of habit formed by the impunity of persecution of the other minority communities are fast paving the way for the next bloodletting.

The Pakistani state faces defeat if it fights the next war in Afghanistan through its non-state actors. It is a grave blunder to let these non-state actors go about their killing ways as a kind of dishonourable price for defeating another superpower in Afghanistan. This time, these non-state actors are going to face another kind of Afghanistan, better equipped to fight our marauders. Pakistan should brace itself for the flood of Pakhtun-Afghan refugees after 2014, and should remember that every time we try to win victories in Afghanistan, half the Pakhtun nation of that country arrives in Pakistan as refugees. The war to fight is the war inside Pakistan — with the help of the outside world we are being taught to hate.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Mirza
    Jun 29, 2012 - 10:53PM

    These Jihadists would continue with the killings of smaller sects of Islam and non Muslims. This is their ideological jihad and they are not going to stop at anything less than complete control over the state and religion and combine the two. Unfortunately the PCO SC judges have not seen a single terrorist they did not like or released from jail. We must control them before they eliminate us all.


  • DB
    Jun 29, 2012 - 11:36PM

    The editorial, as is usual of liberal thinking, misses the mark by a mile. All of what is related here is not the root cause of the ongoing violence but a symptom of a larger problem where the Pakistani state, led by its hapless liberal elites, has failed in providing even the most basic services to its citizens.

    Why is everyone shocked that the tribals have gravitated towards taliban style of justice after living under the draconian FCR and the corrupt maliks for 65 years? Why the shock that the maliks were killed off in the uprising?

    When a common man is lower than a third rate citizen and can never expect any justice from the system and gravitates towards taliban style justice, the problem is not with the taliban, the problem is within our liberal secular elites, who refuse to look at themselves with any critical eye, but judge others less fortunate all day long on social media sites.

    Each drone attack or army operation brings us closer to failure, not the Hollywood scripted victory that the liberals are mindlessly promoting.Recommend

  • ZA
    Jun 29, 2012 - 11:59PM

    Its funny how these people are never brought to court. How the lives of those being murdered in Parachinar and Quetta regularly are worth so less whilst every murder of a political person in Karachi leads to a huge shutter down hartal.


  • Ejaaz
    Jun 30, 2012 - 12:07AM

    @DB: “Why the shock that the maliks were killed off in the uprising? “

    What uprising? The killing of the Balochis has been going on for multiple decades. Balochistan never acceded to Pakistani, but that never stopped Ayub, ZAB, or those that followed in killing the Balochis. Killing of the Maliks in KP by our guests from Chechneya, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China, and the arab world who all came to start the final jihad from Khorosan was never an uprising, but merely demolishing of Pakistan’s famed sovereignty.

    Pakistan has never been led by any liberal elite. Was Ayub a liberal elite? Was the feudal ZAB a liberal? Was Zia a liberal? Was Mushi a liberal? The poor liberals could not even keep any semblance of a little culture alive in Pakistan. Music .. long gone. Movies .. long dead. Literature .. what’s that? What liberal elite ruled pakistan? The privileged class of Pakistan educated in english medium schools is not liberal but more PBCD’s (pakistani born confused desis).


  • Mirza
    Jun 30, 2012 - 12:53AM

    I agree with you 100%. There are unknown ordinary people killed in cold blood by jihadists every other day. We ignore it all as if nothing happened. However, our hearts ache for the life of Afia in a US jail. A rightwing extremist life is more valuable than an ordinary person especially if he/she belongs to minority sect or non Muslim.


  • Raj - USA
    Jun 30, 2012 - 1:54AM

    The major debate and confusion in Pakistan even today, is the purpose for which Pakistan was created. Today, Pakistan is neither Islamic nor is a country for Muslims. It is not Islamic because of the way minorities are treated and were systematically eliminated or converted by inducement, coercion or force including rape and cover-up marriages. It is also not a Muslim country because there are no Muslims in Pakistan. They are Sunnis, Shias, Hazaras, Mohajirs, Baluch, Pathans, Pashtuns ……. a never ending list. Some description, which is most important and determining, always precedes “Muslim” and no one can be just a Muslim. Everyone takes up the cause of Muslims in India when Muslims have lived peacefully amongst themselves in India and never has there been a sectarian clash amongst the Muslims in India. Even Imran Khan has jumped into this bandwagon. However, it is strange to see that he could not find a Pakistani Muslim woman as his life partner and it has always been a non-muslim, white woman, be it Jemima.Recommend

  • A real Bloch
    Jun 30, 2012 - 2:26AM

    Dont over rate and make false reports regarding the situation. Yes!!! It is highly unfortunate that people belonging to certain sect are killed but they arent alone Dont they? Countless Sunnis are killed as well!!! We lost nearly 8000 young army men along side with 40,000 civilians. ET you dont comment about the root cause dont you? The presence of foreign troops and secret agencies in Afghanistan.


  • Jun 30, 2012 - 2:59AM

    Not shocked when far right wing conservatives deflect responsibility, excuse, defend and sympathize with bigoted extremist criminals. Wronged citizens in other countries don’t resort to inhuman evil anti-minority cleansing ideology in absence of good governance, and their fellow educated citizens would condemn them instead of condoning.

    Yes, corrupt ‘liberal’ elites failed building systems and institutions, but corruption spans across all classes, political leanings, including religious, conservative, rich and middle classes. Compounded by sects, ethnicities, abuses, especially by the majority, who have failed miserably by adopting hypocritical corrupt, bigoted and vicious mindset and policies.

    The religious conservative elite in the 80’s unleashed the militancy and sectarianism (which insincerely is downplayed as ‘tribal’) of Wahhabi/Salafi/Deoband/Sunni extremist terrorism. Was that the quick dispension of justice you had in mind? Even without education, Jahiliya and barbaric zulm among the tribals (L-e-J is non-tribal by the way) does not give them racist justification of massacring ethnic and sectarian minorities like the Hazaras. What injustice are they avenging with such stupid brutality against bus riding community innocents? This is shocking for any moderate Muslim.


  • Critics
    Jun 30, 2012 - 4:26AM

    @A real Bloch:
    Now you become real Baloch and tommorrow will be a real Pakistani if the Pashtuns of Afg and Pak tried to work together for larger parts of lands! Yes, it is time to be worried. Especially those who engineered this tactic of killing and puting people of Quetta and Afg against each other. Alas!


  • Pashtun voice
    Jun 30, 2012 - 6:09AM

    @DB —- what tribal uprising are you talking about? the malik’s were brutally killed by the TTP specifically to take over the tribal areas and they have. Even the PAK Army needs the permission of the TTP to move around FATA. Furthermore, blaming the liberal elites for all this mess is mind boggling. Is it the fault of the liberal elites that the courts are not working or it is the fault of the CJ who is fixated on Mr. Zardaro as the root of all evil. Is the fault of the liberal elites that madrassas in south Punjab are teaching kids to hate and kill the shia, ahmadis, christians etc? Was Gen Zia ul Haq part of the liberal elite? Was it the liberal elite that killed ZAB and his daughter?


  • Major Aamir Abdullah
    Jun 30, 2012 - 6:39AM

    Accusations hv been levelled in this article without any cogent proof. It is a known fact that RAW & CIA are active in Baluchistan area and I agree that our people are being used for these subversive activities. In this current law and order situation especially in Baluchistan Shias must take additional security measures at their own without depending upon this senseless govt.Elders of Shia faith must ask and hold accountable authorities about this persecution.


  • sid Taji
    Jun 30, 2012 - 8:08AM

    For God sake stop blaming RAW and CIA of these on-going sectarian massacre of shias in Pakistan. Shias are not safe any where in Pakistan. Shia doctors, lawyers, engineers and prominent business men have been targeted all over Pakistan. What kind of Islamic Republic it has become? The shia doctors have bore the brunt of this well planned scheme to deprive the community of the most prized minds and pillars or their communities. The Lashker E Jhangvi and the likes of it are being funded by the rich sheikdoms of the Middle East, who enjoy lavish play boy lifestyles, and are funding to poison the well.


  • observer
    Jun 30, 2012 - 9:15AM

    @Major Aamir Abdullah

    It is a known fact that RAW & CIA are active in Baluchistan area and I agree that our people are being used for these subversive activities.

    If that is true, then it follows that,“The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, whose multiple-homicide leader was released this year from a prison in Lahore”, must be a RAW/CIA stooge.

    And in that event,

    A. Why was he not prosecuted effectively by the ‘agencies’ which are so good at prosecuting CIA agents like Dr Afridi?


    B. What is this man doing in Difa-e-Pakistan Council?


  • vivek
    Jun 30, 2012 - 10:02AM

    A very sad incident.However I am surprised by the number of comments here.Perhaps Pakistanis are busy in commenting for Surjeet Singh case which happened 30 years ago.Surjeet came for spying in 1981 is more important to them then this tragic incident wich occurs on daily basis.


  • ch
    Jun 30, 2012 - 12:22PM

    stereotyped article, i think editorial of a newspaper should be neutral but this is biased and editor even don’t know how to handle the article. read the same article at dawn.


  • ch
    Jun 30, 2012 - 12:53PM

    please yar


  • awk
    Jun 30, 2012 - 2:41PM

    Why you all SO CALLED FREE Media & Liberal Minds are SILENT on killings of our Muslim brothers and sisters by BUDDHIST in Burma…?


  • Jun 30, 2012 - 9:39PM

    dear AWK as u said “”Why you all SO CALLED FREE Media & Liberal Minds are SILENT on killings of our Muslim brothers and sisters by BUDDHIST in Burma…?”” so let me ask u y da peopl of pak ,,media ,, n so called chief justice ix silent in killing of thousand of haxara peopl n dn killing of peopl in gilgit baltistan in karachi???? ist luk at ur own home dn cry fr othrx….i hav realised one thng we pakistanix r biased nation…..


  • major-ji
    Jun 30, 2012 - 10:41PM

    @Major Aamir Abdullah:
    Please stop such accusations to outsiders. Enemy is with in us. Why you want to close your eyes. Every where this is happening. Has so for any one indulged in terroist or extremist activities punished? None. So who is to be blamed. Chief executive of country gets disqualification on a fast track of hearing. No such quick hearing for those involved in mascre of minorities. Such attitude is leading the nation to doom day.


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