Human Rights Watch pushes Pakistan to 'urgently' protect Shias

Published: September 6, 2012
At least 320 Shias have been killed in targeted attacks this year across Pakistan. PHOTO: INP/FILE

At least 320 Shias have been killed in targeted attacks this year across Pakistan. PHOTO: INP/FILE

QUETTA: Pakistan should “urgently act” to protect Shia Muslims from rising sectarian attacks that have killed hundreds this year, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

At least 320 Shias have been killed in targeted attacks this year across Pakistan, including more than 100 in Balochistan, the majority from the Hazara community, the US-based group it said in a statement.

“Deadly attacks on Shia communities across Pakistan are escalating,” Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in the same statement.

“The government’s persistent failure to apprehend attackers or prosecute the extremist groups organising the attacks suggests that it is indifferent to this carnage,” Adams said.

The rights watchdog said militant groups such as the “ostensibly banned” Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) had operated with “widespread impunity” across Pakistan while law enforcement officials looked the other way.

Adams said the arrest last month of of LeJ leader Malik Ishaq, who has been accused of killing some 70 people, was “an important test for Pakistan’s criminal justice system”.

Some extremist groups are known to be “allies” of the Pakistani military, its intelligence agencies, and affiliated paramilitaries, such as the Frontier Corps, HRW said.

On September 1, four gunmen riding two motorbikes intercepted a bus near the Hazarganji area of Quetta, pulled five Shia vegetable sellers off the vehicle and shot them dead.

On August 30, unidentified gunmen shot dead Shia judge Zulfiqar Naqvi along with his driver and police bodyguard.

Sectarian conflict has left thousands of people dead since the late 1980s.

In one of the bloodiest recent attacks, on August 16 gunmen dragged 20 Shia travelers off a bus and killed them at point blank range in northern Pakistan.

“Pakistan’s government cannot play the role of unconcerned bystander as the Shia across Pakistan are slaughtered,” Adams said.

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Reader Comments (33)

  • azfar
    Sep 6, 2012 - 1:53PM

    What about the drone killings in Pakistan ?
    Doesn’t Human Right Watch see that?


  • kamal
    Sep 6, 2012 - 1:53PM

    At last…. Too late, still better thn never.


  • Nadir
    Sep 6, 2012 - 2:11PM

    proved- HRW is controlled by USA and antipakistanis to defame us


  • Abdullah
    Sep 6, 2012 - 2:40PM

    And what about human rights watch in Syria ?


  • Enlightened
    Sep 6, 2012 - 2:48PM

    What a shame that an international body has to appeal to Pakistan, an Islamic Republic to protect its Muslim community.


  • ahmer
    Sep 6, 2012 - 2:50PM

    over 300 shias killed, about 1000 killed in karachi in political violence, christian girl of a young age victimized by blasphemy law, 12 soldiers beheaded…what should we do….I know lets protest against Burma…..

    Sep 6, 2012 - 2:53PM

    We need to control the situation otherwise it goes worst. Shia Sunni Conflict is not good for muslims and Pakistan

    @ Human Right Watch: Please open your eyes on drone attacks as well otherwise stay away!


  • Nand
    Sep 6, 2012 - 2:58PM

    We are not interested in genocide being carried out within Pakistan. We are only worried for Kashmir and Burma.


  • C. Nandkishore
    Sep 6, 2012 - 3:10PM

    What can the Pakistan government do?


  • Tahir
    Sep 6, 2012 - 3:16PM

    This is indeed a good “push”. Lets hope it gets implemented practically.
    And what about pushing Pakistan to urgently protect other innocents and minority sects as well?


  • ali
    Sep 6, 2012 - 3:35PM

    U mean Shias were not killed……….or killed by US……The same HRW critised India on Kashmir and US its prison laws………

    Don’t blame everything on others……….


  • zeeshan sheikh
    Sep 6, 2012 - 4:05PM

    what about killing in Karachi and drone strike terrorism by USA


  • Sep 6, 2012 - 4:42PM

    @ahmer: Good point


  • Sep 6, 2012 - 4:46PM

    what about drone killings,karachi killings,and Sunni Pathans killing in Gilgit-Baltistan.

    On karakoram highway near nager almost 8 incidents took place within 03 months of short time.
    killing of Innocent sunnis in streets of Giglit city.
    These are CIA’s tactics in sunni majority countries it covertly backs shias and in shia majority countries CIA backs Sunni minorities.
    The major agenda is that ,how CIA could destablize muslim countries.

    CIA helps syrian sunnis and at the same time it helped Iraqi shias too.

    this is what CIA whats us to fight by ourselves.


  • Afzal
    Sep 6, 2012 - 4:46PM

    Dear All, It is 21st Century and the era of reason and rational therefore, Kindly lets appreciate effect of HRW on this subject. Ref @ to Muslim State: As a Muslim we should not forget that our history is full of bloodshed – This is what we are good at! Killing people in the name of Religion, which is strongly prohibited in Islam. Please differentiate Islam and its followers particularly the Saudi brand of Islam, which has created all problem internationally, regionally and locally! Please stop violence in the name of religion, otherwise, this Country is going for a Civil War between Sunni Shia Alliance against Wahabbi Saudi/Deaobanis – It is beginning of the end unless we act sensibly and refrain from killing Muslim and Non-Muslim (Human Beings) In name of religion, sect, and ethnicity! Wake up and raise your voice against every injustice!


  • Kashi
    Sep 6, 2012 - 4:57PM

    Welcome Human Rights for your comments, Every Pakistani should be welcome this cause our Govt. is fail to do anything about it. infect Govt. ministers and judges are involved to free terrorists from jails…


  • jibran
    Sep 6, 2012 - 5:12PM

    HRW is more concerned about pakistanis than the holy judges, the moral brigade of media, and the ghairat brigade combined. The latter have more interest in guarding the rights of terrorists, and the business ventures of the judges.


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Sep 6, 2012 - 5:12PM

    Killings of Shias and Ahmedis are not tolerable. Recommend

  • Syed
    Sep 6, 2012 - 5:16PM

    320 shias being killed and you have to bring drone and karachi killings into this topic. Thank you Brad Adam for speaking your mind. You are more concerned about the shia killings than our so called muslims brothers of Pakistan. these so called brothers try to dilute such a grave situation by bringing in other issues. 320 is a frekin big number ok and its just not acceptable. Recommend

  • Dr.A.KTewari
    Sep 6, 2012 - 5:17PM

    Only a secular Pakistan can servive . It would be also good for secular India to deal with the problem of sporadic communal violence in different states . Pakistan has to forget Kashmir for the sake her estability otherwise it will perish . Pakistani Islam being nurished and propagated by mullas is the root cause of bloodshed in the region . Now Drones have identified it and treating accordingly . It will take 10 more years to deal with the problem .


  • Imran
    Sep 6, 2012 - 6:05PM

    you sound like a mouth piece of LeJ. This hatred of Shias and bigotry will take you nowhere. There is no place for wahabi extremism in the modern world. And please don’t drag US in everything.Recommend

  • Iftikhar Khan
    Sep 6, 2012 - 6:16PM

    To those who are mentioning drone attacks, yes it is condemnable and should be stopped and justice be provided by Pakistan to all of these terrorists who are now unfortunately beyond repair. It is our failure to act for our own good that has brought these drone attack on ourselves. And if we don’t stop the shia targeting and punish the killers quickly, then pretty soon none of us will be safe as these barbarians will not stop at shias… already they have started targeting anyone who is even remotely different from them. It is a matter of all of us survival.


  • SM
    Sep 6, 2012 - 7:10PM

    Religion is a personal matter. Its teachings should be used to follow its ethical values. It should be used to make us better human beings and responsible citizens. As far as politics is concerned, religion should not have any role in it. The unfortunate part is that we do not get inspiration from our religion to reform our personalities but we use its name for political gains and achieving our nefarious designs. We must not follow the mullahs. Otherwise, we are doomed. Allama Iqbal aptly said : DIN-I-MULLAH FASAAD FI SABILILLAH.


  • Sep 6, 2012 - 7:32PM

    True. in fact no shia is being persecuted in pakistan. all those news and videos about the shia and ahmedi killings are fake and doctored.


  • Voice of Reason
    Sep 6, 2012 - 7:47PM

    Those who are comparing drone attack with shia genocide, are you out of your mind. The drones are targeting terrorists…yes terrorist. If wahhabis happen to be terrorists and cowards as they are hiding among women and children, its their faults. They are targeting shia just for being shia. Drones are targeting terrorists that are creating havoc everywhere including Pakistan. There is huge difference.


  • SM
    Sep 6, 2012 - 7:50PM

    Zardari himself is Shia – why isnt he speaking up?


  • Farooq
    Sep 6, 2012 - 7:59PM

    Why every thing has to be linked with drones attack because person A is killed in Drone Attack hence person B’s killing is justified .


  • Wajid
    Sep 6, 2012 - 9:49PM

    There is nothing in Islam about killing of an innocent human being, sunni, shia or even non believers. Yes shia muslims have been killed in many incidents through out Pakistan but is it by any score greater than other sects being murdered? can’t the HRW speak for all the intolerance and bloodshed in the country? why specify it to only shia’s???Recommend

  • Sep 6, 2012 - 9:52PM

    HRW has talked about drones, Syria, Karachi and every other human rights abuse there is. Kindly go to the articles where they are already posted or their own website instead of imparting ignorance and falsehood.

    Its clear how active the prejudice and bigotry is by some of those (can see the few comments by those who usually support violent L-e-J and Malik Ishaq around here) who deny, deflect and derail from discussing the crisis of anti-Shia sectarian cleansing and terrorism, a few with full conspiratorial flare.


  • Iftikhar Khan
    Sep 6, 2012 - 10:32PM

    Selection critieria for Shia killing is strictly Shia, i.e., they filter out shias from the people and shot them dead or they attack shia places to cause shia casualties. Wherea the other terrorism acts (bombing in markets) etc the purpose is to kill randomly and cause terror. People who got killed in them are also innocent but they could be anyone and just happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. By probability most of those would be from majority sect. Situation is much more serious and grave when your only crime is in which family you were born….it is not necessarily for shia sympathy but for our own sake as first we will be answerable and second it will be our turn if we don’t stop it now. You are right on one count that the killers who are killing shias are the same as the one who are doing other terrorism making it all the more important to address it.


  • Naseer
    Sep 7, 2012 - 2:30AM

    Anybody comparing Shia killings with drones, NWFP, Karachi or any other event is just trying to ignore the issue. Shias are killed left and right with the blessings of our law enforcement agencies and some political parties.


  • HUM
    Sep 7, 2012 - 8:38AM

    Right. Since an outside power is killing terrorists and in the process some civilians die too, we will continue to launch targeted attacks on one of our own Muslim communities and try to tie them together in public. Dude an outsider is saying get your house in order as it is way too out of order and this is your response.
    No wonder we are in such a fix.


  • IceSoul
    Sep 7, 2012 - 7:27PM

    The problem when dealing with Pakistanis is that you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.


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