Pakistan one of most dangerous countries for minorities: Report

Published: June 12, 2014
Says targeted killings of Shia community resulted in 700 murders in 2013. PHOTO: FILE

Says targeted killings of Shia community resulted in 700 murders in 2013. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The same day Pakistan’s busiest Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, was attacked by militants, a brutal suicide bombing took the lives of 24 Shia pilgrims in a hotel in Taftan, near the Iranian border.

Attacks against Pakistan’s Shia community have been on the rise since the 1980s, but targeted killings reached unprecedented levels in 2013, with some 700 Shias murdered.

According to a new report by Minority Rights Group International (MRG), the spike in attacks against its Shia and Hazara communities make Pakistan one of the world’s most dangerous countries for religious minorities.

Based on interviews with minority rights activists, MRG’s nine-page briefing paper details the disturbing level and nature of violence against the Shia and Hazara community and criticises the “woefully inadequate” response from the Pakistani government.

The report pointed out that hate speech against minority groups circulates freely.

“The government must send a clear message that these kind of attacks are unacceptable and will not go unpunished,” said Carl Soderbergh, MRG’s Director of Policy and Communications. “By turning a blind eye to atrocities, the government has legitimised a culture of impunity among militant groups while minority communities live in daily fear. If perpetrators are not swiftly brought to justice, we are likely to see further violence on a mass scale.”

The report says most attacks have been carried out by three militant groups –- Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SPP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TPP). Meanwhile, Jaishul Islam has claimed responsibility for the Taftan bombing.

The report also notes a worrying increase in attacks on Shi’a professionals and officials, with doctors, lawyers, politicians, businesspeople and human rights campaigners representing popular targets for threats and harassment. Activists interviewed by MRG believe these attacks are intended to demoralise them and undercut their professional success.

“[I think that] I am on a hit list,” one Shia activist is quoted in the report as saying. “Often I get mysterious calls asking me, ‘Why are you writing about these issues, correct yourself or a bullet will find you’.”

The community has been subjected to various forms of abuse, including vitriolic hate speech campaigns in mosques, schools, public spaces and increasingly on social media.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Lord
    Jun 12, 2014 - 9:14AM

    Purification process a project 1.5 Billion given as a ‘GIFT’ by brotherly nation.


  • Shafaq
    Jun 12, 2014 - 9:19AM

    Here, now majorities are also under threat. No one is safe.


  • rizz
    Jun 12, 2014 - 9:54AM

    Dont you guys think even once that such article, read globally, spoil the image of our beloved country? are these attacks not enough in spoiling the image now that you guys have started this non-sense.


  • Rajesh
    Jun 12, 2014 - 10:07AM

    The biggest joke is that the pakistani trolls are more concerned about India’s minorities.


  • Jun 12, 2014 - 11:05AM

    @riz Here lies the problem. Read your last line quoting this tragic loss of lives over the years as non-sense!
    Ask anyone who have lost their loved ones in these sectarian clashes and they will tell you how much non-sense your mind is filled with !


  • John
    Jun 12, 2014 - 11:21AM

    Please read this news and then let it sink in..Let’s look around ourselves and question ourselves what have we become?
    Even the majority is not safe amongst us so what to talk of the minority. Are there still people who would still be more concerned about Indian Muslims , Palestinians and Burma when more than 65,000 of our own citizens have died?
    Have a heart fellas,lets concentrate on us and no anyone else !


  • raw is war
    Jun 12, 2014 - 11:34AM

    absolutely agree. They want to diver attention from their own country at any cost. Even lies will do.Recommend

  • AK47
    Jun 12, 2014 - 12:14PM

    Not just minorities it is dangerous for everyone except terrorists.


  • Uza Syed
    Jun 12, 2014 - 1:05PM

    Come on be fair, it’s dangerous for any decent human being——-Not just for the minorities!


  • Patriot.N
    Jun 12, 2014 - 1:41PM

    @Rajesh: India suffered 212 bomb blasts in 2013 — more than double of what Afghanistan (with 108 blasts) suffered. Facing internal strife, Bangladesh with 75 blasts and Syria with 36 blasts have done better.


  • Citizen26
    Jun 12, 2014 - 2:12PM

    Who cares about image these days? We need good and a prosperous economy and higher standard of living and no lunatics like crazy TTP folks.


  • jake
    Jun 12, 2014 - 4:19PM

    MQM is the only party that emenates from Jinnah’s legacy the only party that protects the rights of every citizen as witness from their recent call for eliminating the word MINORITY from the Pakistan’s constitution.


  • MA
    Jun 12, 2014 - 4:22PM

    After the cruel murder of a volunteer doctor in this so called Islamic country, what more could one say, except Allah hi hafiz hai is mulaq ka.


  • Gurion
    Jun 12, 2014 - 6:11PM


    @Rajesh: India suffered 212 bomb
    blasts in 2013

    And the relevance to the topic under discussion being?


  • Strategic Asset
    Jun 12, 2014 - 6:23PM

    @Patriot.N: Interesting to see that you read “The Times of India” which I gave up on a long time ago.

    The reason I gave up on ToI was due to articles like the one you mention which is a prime example of ToI’s brand of sensationalist yellow journalism. In that “news”, the author has taken statistics from India’s own National Bomb Data Center and juxtaposed it with widely known statistics on bomb blasts in Afghanistan to justify the title of his article.

    The fact that many of the so-called bombs are duds can be gauged from the fact that for certain years each bomb resulted in killing less than half a person. In 2012, 241 bomb blasts resulted in 113 deaths. Obviously this points out to the fact that these are low-intensity bomb blasts and nothing of the intensity of Afghanistan or Syria.


  • Naseer
    Jun 12, 2014 - 6:33PM

    @rizz: guys have started this non-sense.

    Alas, I am too far from you!


  • fappy
    Jun 12, 2014 - 6:49PM

    It’s even dangerous for majority. Run for your life.


  • Dhanish
    Jun 12, 2014 - 10:14PM

    @ patriot. N most of those blast happen in forest area where Maoist don’t want their resources exploited by politicians.their ideology.. resources belongs solely to them not corrupt politicians or bureaucrats. That is why they attack. Those 212 low intensity blasts resulted in 113 deaths in india you are comparing that to your statistics of 60,000? Or thousands death targeting one sect in a year alone? Nobody faulting you, but why point fingers at other country when you fare worst within your own country? Instead improving your own, you find them trolling/ridiculing neighbour country news articles.


  • izhar
    Jun 12, 2014 - 10:18PM

    same concerns are found are in india also having more interests in affairs of Pak rather than knowing and having concern about domestic violence atrocities like rapes, murders, pressing minorities (muslims, sikhs and christians) @Rajesh:


  • sachakaka
    Jun 13, 2014 - 1:22AM

    Shia’s are not minority. We all are muslims and do represent majority..!!


  • ali
    Jul 11, 2014 - 11:57AM

    The fact that you are more concerned about the “image” of our country than in making it a safe place for all of our citizens is part of the problem. Hatred and prejudice is crippling the country and ignorance is allowing it.


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