LAHORE: Progressive people of Punjab and Hazara passed a joint resolution demanding the government carry out a ‘targeted operation’ like Karachi against the religious extremists involved in killing of Hazara Shiites in Balochistan, which is the only way to resolve this problem in the province.
Punjab Lok Sangat (PLS) in cooperation with Awami Party Pakistan and Institute for Peace & Secular Studies organized a seminar against the brutal killing and massacres of Hazara Shiites living in Balochistan since hundreds of years here at Lahore Press Club on Thursday. Senior journalist (Daily Times’ Editor) Rashed Rahman presided over the seminar while a representative of the Hazara community from Balochistan Muhammmad Ahmad Kohzar and PLS patron Amjad Saleem Minhas were the chief guests. Activists and workers of different non-governmental organizations, political parties including Communist Mazdoor Kisan Party, Awami Jamhoori Forum, Labour Party Pakistan, Anjuman-e-Taraqi Pasand Musanafeen and others also participated in the seminar in a large number.
The participants passed a resolution demanding the government to establish its writ in the province and carry out a targeted operation against religious extremists to stop the brutal killing of Hazara Shiites in Balochistan where more than 0.6 million citizens belonging to the Hazara community were facing a horrible situation since 2001 and hundreds of their members had been killed and burned.
The resolution further demanded the government end the insecurity among the Hazaras by taking action against the religious extremists in Balochistan and that the Pakistani establishment should stop its backing to these extremists (sectarian), who are totally anti-society and humanity, for using them for their own purposes of continuing the power-game in the country in general and in Balochistan specifically.
Earlier, addressing the gathering in his key speech, Rashed Rahman said that the Hazara community in Balochistan was one of the most peaceful and hardworking and was being targeted for the only purpose of strengthening Mullahism there. He said that the Hazara people were living in Balochistan since hundreds of years so they should be treated on equal basis as they were also the sons of the same soil like the Baloch and the Pashtuns.
Talking about the Afghan war and the Balochistan issue, Rashed Rahman said that politicians like Imran Khan who were saying that the war against terror was an American-imposed war were wrong as Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the first person who directed General Naseerullah Babar at that time to prepare the Mujahiddin against Afghan President Sardar Muhammad Daoud Khan in 1973 because he (Bhutto) had a fear of his (Daoud) support to insurgents in Balochistan resisting the military operation. Later, some of these Pakistani-promoted Afghan leaders like Rabbani, Mujaddadi, Hekmatyar played prominent roles in the Afghan wars, he added.
Rashed Rehman further said that Tehreek-e-Taliban in Pakistan was the result of the Pakistani military’s policy of exporting jihad to Afghanistan. He clarified that ‘good’ Taliban and ‘bad’ Taliban were meaningless terms as all Taliban factions had a nexus and were linked to al Qaeda. He said that Punjab was a power centre of the establishment, representing 62 percent of the population of the country but unfortunately they were unaware about the affairs of Balochistan so there was a need to educate them on the issues, which was the only way to bring change in policies, politics or in the social order.
Hazara representative Muhammad Ahmad Kohzar while addressing the gathering clarified that the Hazara community of Balochistan had no link with the Hazara region (Abbottabad area). They (the Hazara people) are Turk-Mongol and were living in Balochistan since the age of Chengiz Khan, a Mongol Emperor, and most of them are religiously Shia Muslims, he confirmed. He also informed that more than 0.6 million Hazara people were living in Quetta city alone, while a good number of his community was in Afghanistan and Iran.
Kohzar told the audience that the Hazara people were being victimized in Balochistan since 2001 but they were peaceful people so would not want any clash with anyone or bloodshed on the streets of Quetta. He said that the Pakistani establishment was involved in the sectarian war in Balochistan and using extremists against the peaceful people of the area. He confirmed that the Baloch or Pashtuns of Balochistan had no problem with the Hazara people. He alleged that Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a sectarian extremist organization backed by the establishment was directly involved in the killings of Hazara people and due to such victimisation, thousands of his people (Hazara) had left the country.
He emphasized that the government should establish its writ in Balochistan starting a ‘targeted operation’ against the sectarian culprits in Quetta, Mastung, Kharotabad and other districts. He further urged the government to change its foreign policy, avoiding considering Afghanistan as its province and should maintain good relations with Afghanistan and other neighbouring countries.
Amjad Saleem of PLS said that religious victimisation was increasing in Balochistan because of the neglect of the government and extremists had become more powerful against the state there. He assured the Hazara people that all progressive elements in Punjab and other parts of the country were fully in support so they should not consider themselves as alone. Syeda Deep, Shazia Khan, Irfan Comrade, Yousuf Punjabi, Zahid Hassan, Tahir Malik, Rafi Jamal were also present in the seminar while Khalid Mehmood of Awami Jamhoori Forum hosted the seminar.