The prominent online-newspaper from Balochistan, the Baloch Hal, has an editorial on the Hazara Town attacks and target killing of Hazaras. Emphasizing on the secular traditions of Balochistan in past, Baloch Hal says the Government has to “hunt down” rogue elements inside the security establishment who are supporting sectarian militant outfits. Baloch Hal thinks the attacks on Hazaras are of sectarian nature, and “cannot be termed ethnically motivated”. It also demands Baloch nationalist parties to be more outspoken in raising voice against the target killing of Hazaras.
Here we are presenting the whole text of Baloch Hal Editorial.
Historically, Balochistan has remained a secular and tolerant society. It has remained home to Muslims belonging to all sects of Islam, Hindus and other religious minorities. It was the only province of the country which was not abandoned by the Hindu minorities at the time of Partition in 1947. For the people of Balochistan, a person’s affiliation toward another sect has always been a personal or at least a communal matter. It was only two decades back when Sunni kids used to attend Shia religious processions in different parts of Quetta. This clearly demonstrated a deliberate ignorance of the members of our society toward the scourge of sectarianism.
Sectarian harmony has always been the hallmark of the society in Balochistan. This tradition must be upheld at all costs.
Increasing sectarianism in Balochistan is not solely the result of social unrest but is a clear exhibition of bad governance. The provincial government’s inability to dismantle gropes that are targeting the members of the Hazara tribe and Shia community is highly regrettable. This issue has to be fixed only by hunting down the rogue elements within the security establishment.
Balochistan Police have enormously suffered in its operations against sectarian groups in a plenty of attacks. A lot of policemen have been killed in such assaults which the perpetrators claimed were either in response to the arrest of their supporters or as a warning to the government to stay away from the Sunni-Shia battle. Yet, the police department has not fully owned the challenge of fighting this ugly battle.
The fresh killing of six innocent civilians in an incident of rocket firing in Quetta is disturbing. It just came as a reminder that the threat of sectarianism was not over and the Hazara tribe living in Balochistan continued to remain vulnerable. It is important to understand that the bulk of Shias living in Balochistan belong to Hazara tribe. While almost every Hazara is a Shia, all Shias, on the other hand, are not Hazaras. Thus, these attacks cannot be termed as ethnically motivated. They have religious ambitions. Attacks on Shias in Balochistan mostly take place in Quetta because most of them live in the provincial capital. However, as some Shias have started to live in areas like Mastung and Bolan, the constituency of violence directed toward members of the Shia community has also gradually expanded.
It is encouraging to see that the nationalist political parties and trade unions have joined hands to condemn the killing of the members of the Hazara tribe by observing a complete shutter down strike in Quetta, Balochistan’s capital, and elsewhere in the province. There is a greater need for all the political and social stakeholders to cooperate with each other to retain the secular and tolerant qualities of this society.
Since former military dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq inducted his suspicious policies of Islamization, Shias of Balochistan, like their compatriots elsewhere in the country, have enormously suffered because of his insane wave of violence. Thousands of innocent people have been butchered by underground Sunni militant groups. Over the years, no federal or provincial government prioritized the issue of uprooting sectarian violence in the country. While it is almost impossible to exterminate sectarianism itself, combating sectarian violence is still possible if the government makes it a top priority.
Baloch political parties must play a more proactive role in condemning such violent incidents inside the province and offer all possible cooperation to the members of the Shia and Hazara communities. The Hazara Democratic Party, for instance, has always backed the Baloch demands and strongly condemned the oppression and operations against the Baloch. At this critical juncture, they must be offered unqualified assurance and support from every responsible citizen of the province.
The government of Balochistan should also work on areas requiring improvement in the domain of law and order. It is pathetic that no First Investigation Report (FIR) of the shootings had been registered until the writing of this editorial. Quetta Police have claimed to have randomly detained at least ten suspects which is unlikely to genuinely address the matter itself. The provincial administration should do whatever it takes to defeat sectarianism.