Posted by: Editor | March 30, 2012

Altaf Hussain Condemns Hazara Killings

HDP held a protest rally in front of Balochistan Assembly.

Quetta: Hazara Democratic Party held a protest rally in front Balochistan Assembly against the killing of 8 Hazara in Quetta. The protesters were holding banners with slogans against the failure of Provincial Govt. They demanded the provincial government to resign. They condemned the failure of security forces and called all political parties of Balochistan to raise voice against terrorism and sectarian violence.

A complete shutter-down strike was observed in Quetta city against Thursday’s killing of 8 Hazaras by unknown gunmen on Spini Road.  The strike was called by the Hazara Democratic Party and backed by Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Jamhoori Wattan Party and other nationalist parties condemning the incident.

Addressing the protesters in front of Balochistan Assembly, General Secretary of HDP Ahmad Kohzad said that the Government must take stern action against those behind the killing of Hazaras. He said the Provincial Government has totally failed to maintain an orderly situation in Quetta. He added that sectarian outfits have been given free hands and perpetrators of Hazara target killing have not been arrested.

Posted by: Editor | March 30, 2012

Martyrs Laid to Rest, Protest at Hazara Graveyard

"Stop Hazara, Baloch Genocide"

Quetta: The 8 Hazara martyrs of Spini Road attack were laid to rest at Hazara Graveyard, Hazara Town, Quetta.  Thousands of teared eyes attended the funeral procession. Hundreds of youth blocked the Quetta-Bypass Road near the graveyard, holding placards with slogans against the failure of security forces and Government.

Earlier in the morning, hundreds blocked the Bypass Road demanding release of protesters arrested by Police yesterday. 34 of the arrested were released late last night, while three were held at Berwery Police Station. A delegation of Hazara elders were negotiating with high officials on the issue. A policeman was killed in violent protests after yesterday’s killings. The three arrested youth are charged in policeman’s death. Two Hazaras protesters were also killed by Police firing.

Hazara Democratic Party held a protest demonstration on Manan Chowk against the killing of Hazaras.

Quetta: Hazara Democratic Party held a protest demonstration on Manan Chowk after another terrorist attack on Hazaras killing 8 on Thursday.

Protesters were holding placards and banners with slogans against the Provincial Government’s security failure. HDP also called a shutter-down strike in Quetta on Friday. Major political parties of Balochistan announced support for the strike-call.

Security forces tried to stop another protest demonstration on Brewery Road. The protesters had blocked the main road. Police and FC opened firing in the air to disperse protesters, who started throwing stones. Two young Hazara protesters were killed by firing of the security forces.

HDP leader Abdul Khaliq Hazara called the protesters to remain peaceful.

Press Conference by Sardar Sadat, Hazara Jirga and Shia Conference

Meanwhile, Sardar Sadat Hazara, tribal elder, Qayum Changezi, President Hazara Jirga, Juma Asadi, religious scholar and Ashraf Zaidi President Balochistan Shia Conference strongly condemned the killings and firing by security forces in a joint press conference. They said Hazaras are being killed in Quetta under a planned massacre and the Government has given free hand to sectarian terrorists.

Posted by: Editor | March 29, 2012

10 Hazaras Killed in Quetta

6 Hazaras were killed in an attack on a van on Spini Road. (Express Tribune Photo)

Quetta: Six Hazaras, including a woman, were killed and six others injured in an attack on a van at Spini Road, Quetta on Thursday. The van was carrying passengers from Hazara Town to Marriabad, when attacked by gunmen on Spini Road, 30 yards away from a Police check post. In a similar attack at the same spot last year in July, 11 Hazara were killed.

Injured were shifted to Bolan Medical Complex and Civil Hospital, where an emergency was declared. Protests sparked across the city. There was a clash between Police and Frontier Corps and protesters on Berwery Road. Two young Hazara were killed and 3 injured by Police shelling on protesters in Faisal Town who were chanting against the Balochistan Provincial Government.

Following are names of those killed identified so far:

Killed:

  1. Bakht Jamal (woman)
  2. Alam Khan
  3. Zafar
  4. Ghulam Sakhi
  5. Hafizullah
  6. Nazir Hussain
  7. Mubarak Shah

Injured:

  1. Altaf Hussain
  2. Syed Ashiq
  3. Zakir Hussain
  4. Khadim Hussain
  5. Raziq Hussain

 Two Killed on Monday

Two Hazaras were killed on Monday on Kirani Road, when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a workers in a wielding shop. Those killed were: Ejaz Hussain and Ali Asghar.

On March 1 2012 Labour MP for West Hull and Hessle Alan Johnson led an adjournment debate on the treatment of the Hazara people in Quetta, Pakistan.

Source: BBC

Adjournment , posted with vodpod

Full Text of the Debate: 

Debate on 1 Mar 2012 6:00 pm

6:01 pm

Alan Johnson (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, Labour)

This debate is about the persecution of the Hazara community in Quetta city in the Pakistan province of Balochistan and its aim is to draw attention to their plight. The ultimate objective is to put pressure on the Pakistan authorities to do more to capture those who are responsible.

I sought this debate with my hon. Friend Dr Whitehead, who cannot be here this evening because of an engagement in his constituency, and Iain Stewart who, with your permission, Mr Deputy Speaker, will make a contribution. I know that others who have members of the Hazara community in their constituencies wish to intervene and with your permission, Mr Deputy Speaker, I am perfectly happy for that to happen.

Like many other right hon. and hon. Members, we have constituents who are part of the Hazara community in the UK. The constituent who drew this matter to my attention, Muhammad Younas, is a typical Hazara: passionate about education, law-abiding and committed to public service. He works for a social enterprise, teaching and assisting those who need his help and making an important contribution to community relations in Hull.

We are extremely grateful to the Minister for agreeing to meet us last December to discuss the issue and for being here for the debate today. As we discussed it, there was consensus that it needed to be aired on the Floor of the House of Commons, which is why I am so pleased that the debate was granted today.

There are about 600,000 Hazaras living in Quetta city and many fled there from Afghanistan, where they were a specific target for the Taliban. Hazaras in Quetta are being killed practically on a daily basis and it has been estimated that about 600 have been killed so far, yet not a single perpetrator has been captured and brought to justice.

Mark Lancaster (Milton Keynes North, Conservative)

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way and I congratulate him on securing the debate. His point is so powerful that it deserves underlining. Does he share my concern that while that statistic of more than 600 deaths and not a single conviction remains, it is very hard to take seriously the Pakistan Government’s claim that they are tackling this matter?

Alan Johnson (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, Labour)

The hon. Gentleman is right. I have huge respect for the country—I went to Pakistan when I was a Minister—and for the high commissioner, but I believe that that is the key point about the Hazara community: there is no sign of any of the perpetrators being brought to justice, and it is not simply the case that they are being held but the prosecuting authorities are not being successful. That is one of the major issues in this debate and the hon. Gentleman is right to draw attention to it.

The response of the authorities in Balochistan has been to restrict the movement of the Hazaras themselves—to forbid them entering certain districts and to apply travel restrictions—and to treat the murders with a mixture of complacency and complicity. Last September/October almost 50 Hazaras were taken from buses and wagons in separate incidents, lined up and killed. The Chief Minister of Balochistan responded with levity, saying in a television interview that he would send a truckload of tissue paper to the bereaved families. That is the kind of atmosphere in which the Hazaras are living. The authorities know that the Hazaras are a target for terrorist groups and that an al-Qaeda affiliate is seeking to make Pakistan, in their words, Hazaras’ graveyard. They state that their mission is to eliminate “this impure sect” and people

“from every city, every village…and corner of Pakistan.”

Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham, Conservative)

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. By way of declaration, Mr Deputy Speaker, I worked with Benazir Bhutto from 1999 to 2007. On the point about the Hazara community being affected, does the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is not the only community being affected? The Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities are also suffering as a result of Pakistan’s having been a front-line state in the war against Russia and then in the war against al-Qaeda after 9/11. As a result, radicalisation and sectarian violence have spread from Afghanistan to Pakistan, leading to the murders of Benazir Bhutto and Shahbaz Bhatti, the Christian Minister. Of course I understand the right hon. Gentleman’s concern, but everyone has suffered as a result of the sectarian ethnic violence spreading from Afghanistan to Pakistan, not just the Hazara people.

Alan Johnson (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, Labour)

I do accept that point; indeed, the high commissioner for Pakistan made the same point when he contacted me today about this debate. I shall say some things later about the difficulties that Pakistan is facing, but that must not detract from the fact that these killings are taking place on a daily basis. The authorities seem remarkably complacent about it and not a single perpetrator has been brought to justice.

While the movement of Hazaras is restricted, their pursuers walk freely in the city despite the heavy presence of the police, the army and the frontier corps who all have checkpoints in and around Quetta. The reason for that persecution is not just the Hazaras’ religion—they are predominantly Shi’a Muslims—but their genetic link to the Mongol people, which allows them to be recognised by their physical appearance. Hazaras are also persecuted because have pursued higher education, enrolled in the army and occupied senior positions in government, the civil service and civic society more generally. They are the kind of law-abiding citizen who would play an important role in a free, democratic Afghanistan and a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan. Thus, they are the enemies of a whole range of terrorist groups.

The persecution—some would say genocide—carried out against the Hazaras has been well documented by the United Nations, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and organisations such as the New York-based monitoring body Human Rights Watch. However, there

is insufficient awareness nationally and internationally about what the Hazaras are going through, despite the best efforts of the Hazara community and organisations such as the Hazara Organisation for Progress and Equality, or HOPE, which seeks to raise these issues in Parliaments around the world.

The attacks are intensifying. Hazaras are murdered when they stay in Quetta and killed when they try to leave. Fifty five young Hazaras were drowned in the waters of Indonesia on 20 December when trying to escape their perilous existence. The Hazaras believe that the religious militant groups carrying out these killings are state sponsored, and there is evidence for that assertion. The Asian Human Rights Commission reported on 6 January that the Pakistan army had created a militant organisation to kill intellectuals, activists and Hazaras in Balochistan. I have seen a copy of an official letter from the Government of Balochistan informing the military authorities and the police in Quetta about the presence of a man called Sabir Mehsood, whose stated aim was to murder Hazaras, but no action was taken to apprehend him. Thus, more than 80 Hazaras were killed in Quetta by this man and his fellow operatives last year.

The international community cannot allow this persecution to continue. There are significant Hazara populations in countries around the world, particularly in Australia, and these countries should co-ordinate and intensify their efforts. I know that the Minister is fully engaged in trying to pressurise the Pakistani authorities to protect the Hazara community in Quetta, and I know that the Foreign Secretary is equally committed.

Pakistan is an old, valued and trusted ally of the United Kingdom and is seeking to renew its democratic credentials after years of military rule. It is a country beset by problems, and its citizens have suffered at the hands of terrorists more than any other country in the world, as Rehman Chishti pointed out. However, the Pakistani Government must do more to root out state-supported terrorism wherever it exists. It undoubtedly exists in Quetta city, and the Hazaras are its principal victims. It is a good place to begin this process.

Iain Stewart (Milton Keynes South, Conservative)

I am grateful for the opportunity to make a short contribution to the debate. I congratulate Alan Johnson on securing it. I am happy to endorse all his points, which, in the interests of brevity, I will not repeat.

My interest in this issue, and that of my hon. Friend Mark Lancaster, stems from our having a large Hazara population in Milton Keynes. The headquarters of the Hazara Community of Great Britain charity are located in Bletchley in my constituency. It is a close-knit, progressive community, and it certainly makes a valuable contribution to the local community and wider civic life of Milton Keynes.

Stella Creasy (Walthamstow, Labour)

I congratulate my right hon. Friend Alan Johnson on securing this debate. Like others, I have a Hazara community in myconstituency in north-east London. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that we can play an important role in supporting the Hazara community in Britain to come forward and raise concerns, and in engaging with the Foreign Office in making progress in Pakistan on some of these issues?

Iain Stewart (Milton Keynes South, Conservative)

I am happy to endorse that point. My hon. Friend the Member for Milton Keynes North has already met a delegation from the community and the Minister. They are deeply concerned, as the hon. Lady implied, about the plight of their relatives and the broader community in Pakistan, amid what are daily reports of killings and persecution.

As the right hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle said, there are concerns that these attacks are not being dealt with appropriately by the authorities in Pakistan. I join him in imploring the Minister to do all he can to influence the situation. Just a few weeks ago, we all commemorated world holocaust memorial day. The campaign this year was, “Speak up, Speak out”, and was aimed at challenging persecution and hatred wherever it existed in the world. This we must do for the Hazara people. I look forward to hearing what steps the Government are taking to address the situation.

Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham, Conservative)

Will my hon. Friend give way?

Iain Stewart (Milton Keynes South, Conservative)

I was about to finish, but I will certainly give way.

Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham, Conservative)

Linked to the Hazara community, the other community that has suffered a lot as a result of radicalisation is the Christian community in Pakistan. We must do everything that we can to ensure that it gets its full right as well. Will he join me in paying tribute to Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, who is from Pakistan and has done a lot on community cohesion and dialogue between all faiths?

Iain Stewart (Milton Keynes South, Conservative)

I am happy to do that. I was at the end of my comments, so on that note, I shall conclude.

Alistair Burt (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Afghanistan/South Asia, counter terrorism/proliferation, North America, Middle East and North Africa), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; North East Bedfordshire, Conservative)

I thank Alan Johnson for securing this debate and for his usual courtesy in forwarding to me a copy of his remarks earlier this afternoon. I also thank other colleagues who have taken part and expressed their concerns—Stella Creasy and my hon. Friends the Members for Milton Keynes North (Mark Lancaster), for Milton Keynes South (Iain Stewart) and for Gillingham and Rainham (Rehman Chishti). We all share a passion for Pakistan and supporting human rights across a difficult and complex region. I have met and corresponded with several colleagues in the House on a number of human rights issues in Pakistan and welcome the opportunity to discuss them in a public forum.

Last December I spoke with the right hon. Gentleman and his Hazara constituent and was told about the day-to-day living conditions of the Hazara community in Quetta. I had previously met the constituents of my hon. Friend the Member for Milton Keynes North, who raised similar concerns. I expressed my serious concerns about the discrimination of minorities in Pakistan and joined the right hon. Gentleman in condemning September’s appalling attacks in Balochistan, which left so many innocent people dead.

Before talking about the Hazara community in more detail, I will take the opportunity to set some of the issues in context, as my hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham and Rainham suggested. Sadly, sectarian violence is not isolated to Balochistan. Tragically, across the country the Pakistani people have suffered from the scourge of sectarian violence. Sunni and Shi’a alike have endured terrible violence, as have other minority communities. I join the Pakistani Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, in condemning this week’s disgraceful attacks in Kohistan, which killed at least 18 Shi’a Muslims. It is vital that the perpetrators of all sectarian violence, including this week’s vicious attack, are brought to justice.

The United Kingdom and Pakistan have a long history and a strong relationship founded on mutual respect, mutual trust, and mutual benefit. Our respect for Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is absolute, so we must be clear that the security of Balochistan, as with all provinces of Pakistan, is a matter for the people and Government of Pakistan. The improvement to regional security to which the international community is committed requires all countries to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their neighbours.

Although sectarian violence across Pakistan is a growing concern, it is important to note the progress being made in a range of human rights areas, including removing reservations to human rights treaties. It is vital that Pakistan now works to ensure that it effectively implements the international human rights treaties to which it is a signatory. None of the communities of which we have spoken in the debate will truly be secure unless these advances are made.

At the dawn of Pakistan’s independence, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in his presidential address to the first Constituent Assembly, outlined his belief that in Pakistan there should be “no discrimination between one caste or creed and another”, for Pakistan is founded with the “fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state”.

I have met many Pakistanis who are working tirelessly to realise that vision today, and none was more courageous than Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, whose work towards peaceful, moderate change was met with such brutal violence. Since his assassination I have twice met his brother, Dr Paul Bhatti, and underlined the UK Government’s support for human rights in Pakistan.

Human rights are intertwined with a wide range of issues, including education, stability and development. The UK’s engagement with Pakistan is therefore broad and strategic, covering education, economic stability, security, and cultural co-operation. The Pakistani Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, had a successful visit to the UK last week, during which I discussed security and economic development with her and raised my concerns over the rights of religious minorities, including the Hazara community.

We work with international partners and the Pakistani Government to tackle the shared challenge of extremism and to increase Pakistan’s stability and prosperity. It is worth reminding all Members that Pakistan is on the front line of terrorism and makes bigger sacrifices in fighting it than any other country. In the 10 years since 9/11, more than 30,000 Pakistanis have been killed. The people of Pakistan will always have our sympathy, understanding and robust support in addressing terror.

The Pakistani Foreign Minister’s visit to the UK reflects the depth of our partnership and friendship. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary held wide-ranging discussions with her, within the framework of our enhanced strategic dialogue, which strengthens practical co-operation between our two countries. They discussed the progress being made to create between the UK and Pakistan a deeper and broader dialogue, including on human rights, which will strengthen our friendship and promote mutual prosperity and security.

The many links between the UK and Pakistan mean that we can engage honestly and directly with each other on many subjects: counter-terrorism, security policy, immigration, trade, development, education and the rule of law. The theme that underlines all that, and the focus of our attention this evening, is human rights.

As the constitution of Pakistan lays down, all Pakistani citizens should be able to live their lives without fear of discrimination or persecution, regardless of their religious beliefs or their ethnic group. I assure the right hon. Gentleman that we regularly reinforce to our colleagues in the Government of Pakistan at all levels the importance of upholding those fundamental rights, and our strategic dialogue enables Ministers such as myself and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary to do so on behalf of all minority communities in Pakistan.

The Government of Pakistan have taken positive action: they have reserved quotas in the public sector and in Parliament for minorities; they have set up complaints procedures for those encountering discrimination; and they have removed reservations to international human rights treaties. We will continue to support those who wish to see reform in Pakistan, and to raise human rights with the Pakistani Government. As I said, I raised my concerns about human rights with Foreign Minister Khar last week.

In 2011 I twice held constructive discussions with the Pakistani Prime Minister’s adviser on inter-faith harmony and minority affairs, Dr Paul Bhatti. Tomorrow, as some will know, marks the first anniversary of his brother’s assassination, serving as a poignant reminder not only of the need to tackle terrorism in order to support Pakistani progress on human rights, but of the losses that they have suffered. There is a process in place to ensure that inter-faith committees meet in the various provinces. I have seen it in action, and we are keen to continue to support it.

The plight of the Hazara community is connected to the wider regional dynamic. Hazara people fleeing repression in 19th century Afghanistan formed the beginnings of Pakistan’s Hazara. More refugees from Afghanistan followed throughout the 20th century, and Quetta’s population is now estimated to be made up of one third Hazara, with 600,000 in total in Pakistan.

The presence of the Afghan Taliban in Quetta has amplified the repression of Pakistani Shi’a, including Hazara, in the region. We welcome the progress made by the Hazaras of Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. It has seen high-profile Hazaras occupy key positions in the Afghan Government. In Kabul, UK officials engage with a range of Hazara interlocutors and continue to promote an inclusive political process. The Hazara community in Iran has also complained of mistreatment, and we will continue to appeal to Iran, including through the United Nations and the European Union, to respect human rights. Those details give Members a sense of how the Hazara community is treated throughout the whole region.

The specific issues of Hazara rights and of sectarian violence in Balochistan were raised with the Balochi authorities and with parliamentarians by British officials in October. Local discussion of those issues has continued since, with our officials engaging with, among others, Balochi members of the National Assembly.

The plight of Pakistan’s Hazara community, highlighted in this evening’s debate, will be recognised in the 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office human rights report, which is due to be published this month. Media reports claim that almost 700 Hazaras have been killed in Pakistan since 2004. In 2011, the Hazara in Balochistan suffered a number of major attacks, including on 19 September when gunmen killed 26 Hazara pilgrims returning from Iran. Lashkar-e Jhangvi claimed responsibility for that attack and has waged a sustained campaign of violence against the community. On 4 October attackers killed 13 passengers, mostly Hazara, travelling on a bus in Quetta. A major attack during the Shi’a processions marking Ashura was anticipated but did not occur.

Nawab Aslam Raisani, Chief Minister of Balochistan, formulated a committee on September 22 to probe the killing of 29 pilgrims in Mastung. I remain concerned about the low-key response of Pakistan’s authorities to September and October’s violent attacks. It is vital that those responsible are brought to justice. In the long term we should like to see improvements in Pakistani citizens’ access to justice throughout the country. The House may be assured that we will continue to press on these issues, in relation to that community and to others.

Enhancing the rule of law in Pakistan is vital to improving the plight of the Hazara community. A range of Government work is developing that is helping to improve the rule of law in Pakistan. For instance, we are developing a programme with Pakistan to enhance its ability to prosecute violent extremists, including working to enhance investigations, prosecutions, detentions, and legislation. The Department for International Development’s transformational work to address poverty and education will help to enhance Pakistan’s commitment to the rule of law. The UK is working with our European Union partners and the Government of Pakistan to look at ways of supporting reform and capacity building of Pakistan’s rule of law.

My hon. Friend Rehman Chishti raised, in particular, the Christian community. That gives me the opportunity to say how we try to deal with human rights more generally across the region. Our experience is that picking out one community rather than another is not always the most helpful way to address the issue. Because human rights is an important issue right across the board, we find that many minorities are subject to these problems. Ensuring that the rule of law runs across all communities and that Governments are devoted to improving access to the rule of law and the rights of minorities across the board means that no minority can be picked out against another and that where there are those who would like to claim that favourable treatment is offered by those outside, that is not the case.

All are made more secure by attention to the rule of law, and all are weakened, including any minority community, by a Government’s failure to address the rule of law and human rights. That is why our policy is so determinedly aimed at the rights of communities across the board, whether it be those under pressure in Pakistan, Christian communities across the middle east, or individual communities such as the Hazara in Balochistan.

Alan Johnson (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, Labour)

I am pleased that the plight of the Hazara will—for the first time, I believe—be covered in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office human rights document. I understand what the Minister is saying about the persecution of other religions. However, does he agree, that if no one raises the persecution of a specific group, we will never discuss any terrorist targets? Does he agree that it is very difficult to find another religion or ethnic group in Pakistan that has quite the same level of apparent compliance in these murders, with absolutely none of the perpetrators brought to justice? If there are other groups—although this is not a contest to see who has been treated worst—I would be very surprised. There is a specific issue about the Hazara that needs to be addressed.

Alistair Burt (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Afghanistan/South Asia, counter terrorism/proliferation, North America, Middle East and North Africa), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; North East Bedfordshire, Conservative)

I acknowledge the right hon. Gentleman’s second point. He has referred to terrifying statistics about the absence of justice. As I said, we remain very concerned about the response of the Pakistani authorities to those statistics, and we will apply pressure in relation to them.

In response to his first point: absolutely. Hon. Members are bound to raise the issues of individual communities. The point of our approach is to set those cases in context so that we are not pitting one community against another by indicating that one is treated worse than another, and recognising that the absence of the rule of law and human rights can affect so many people. I think that we are all doing this in exactly the right way. The right hon. Gentleman and other hon. Members are absolutely right to raise certain different communities, as they have today. We are right in putting that into context and demanding justice for all, because unless there is justice for all, justice is denied for those who are outside that embrace.

The United Kingdom will continue to work with the leaders of Pakistan and its people—people who deserve to experience a stable and prosperous future, to enjoy vibrant democratic debate without fear of intimidation, and to live in a country where freedom of religion is not undermined by sectarian violence. We have a distinctive role to play in supporting that sort of Pakistan. I am grateful for the work of many Members of the House as we continue to work with Pakistan towards that vision.

Question put and agreed to.

House adjourned.

Source: TheyWorkForYou.com


Posted by: Editor | March 3, 2012

Suhaila-An Inspiration for all Girls

Posted by: Editor | January 27, 2012

Hazara Democratic Party Stages Protest

From Express Tribune

Quetta: Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) on Thursday staged a noisy protest demonstration outside the Balochistan Assembly building, against the targeted killing of three people belonging to their community in Quetta.

Inspector of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Vilayat Hussain, TV actor Abid Nazish and Mohammad Anwar were shot dead by unknown assailants on Wednesday night in Quetta, in what appeared to be an incident of sectarian killing. However, no outfit had claimed responsibility for the killings.

Protestors marched through various roads and held a demonstration on Zarghoon Road outside the Balochistan Assembly building. They were carrying placards and banners with messages against target killing.

They raised slogans against the government and the chief minister for their failure to overcome the growing incidents of target killing and kidnapping for ransom in Quetta.

Vice President of HDP Mirza Hussain said Hazara community was being subjected to target killing for the past several years and the government had failed to launch a crackdown against the criminals. “Government should answer who are the target killers? And how they carry out deadly attacks with complete impunity,” he added.

Kidnappings on Quetta-Chaman Highway

Protestors said four people belonging to Hazara community were kidnapped a few days ago from Quetta-Chaman highway and were still missing. “The kidnappers approached the families and asked for a huge amount as ransom for the release of these four people,” one of the protestors said.

HDP warned that they will hold protest demonstrations across the world where Hazara community is residing, to lodge their protest against the organised target killings if government and law enforcing agencies failed to protect the innocent lives.

“We are Pakistanis and do not want to give a bad name to our country by holding protest in other countries. But now we are being pushed against the wall and left with no option,” Hussain said, adding that Hazara community is demanding an end to the target killing and kidnappings.

Meanwhile, Provincial Ministers Ayinullah Shams of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Sultan Tareen of Awami National Party (ANP) addressed the protestors and assured them that government will soon hold a meeting to review the law and order situation.

Posted by: Editor | January 25, 2012

3 Hazaras Shot Dead

Famous Hazara actor and PTV artist Abid Ali Nazish.

Quetta Jan 25: Three Hazara were murdered on McCongy Road Quetta on Wednesday. The victims include famous Hazara actor and artist Abid Ali Nazish, Federal Investigation Agency Inspector Wulayat and a poet Muhammad Anwar. They were traveling in a car, when unknown armed men on a motorcycle opened fire and escaped the scene.

They died on the spot, being shot on head. Their bodies were immediately shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta, and later taken to Alamdar Road. It is the first incident of targeted-killing against Hazaras in Quetta in 2012. According to a report by Human Rights Watch around 275 Hazaras have been killed in Balochistan since 2008.

Posted by: Editor | December 4, 2011

275, mostly Hazara, killed in Balochistan since 2008: HRW

Quetta: Human Rights Watch has called the Pakistani Government to hold accountable extremist groups for killing. In statement, HRW said:

Human Rights Watch research indicates that at least 275 Shias, mostly of Hazara ethnicity, have been killed in sectarian attacks in the southwestern province of Balochistan alone since 2008.

The report mentions two worst attacks on Hazaras in 2011.

On October 4, gunmen on motorbikes stopped a bus carrying mostly Hazara Shia who were headed to work at a vegetable market on the outskirts of Quetta. The attackers forced the passengers off the bus, made them stand in a row, and then opened fire, killing 13 and wounding 6 others.

 

On September 19, near the town of Mastung in Balochistan, gunmen forced about 40 Hazara who had been traveling to Iran to visit Shia holy sites to disembark from their bus. They shot 26 dead and wounded 6. Although some of the Hazara escaped, gunmen killed another three as they tried to bring the wounded to a hospital in Quetta. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni militant group, claimed responsibility for this attack.

Human Rights Watch said no one has been charged in these attacks. It said, “While authorities claim to have arrested dozens of suspects, no one has been charged in these attacks.”

HRW also said the militant extremist groups have links to Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment.

Some Sunni extremist groups are known to have links to the Pakistani military and its intelligence agencies. Groups such as the banned Lashkar-e Jhangvi operate with impunity even in areas where state authority is well established, such as Punjab province and the port city of Karachi. In Balochistan, where local militants challenge government authority, and elsewhere across Pakistan, law enforcement officials have failed to intervene or prevent attacks on Shia and other vulnerable groups.

HRW also called tThe Pakistani government to urgently act to protect Shia Muslims in Pakistan from sectarian attack during the Muslim holy month of Moharram. Hazaras have come terrorist suicide bombings during Muharram. In March 2004, when a suicide bomber attacked a Muharram procession, 42 Hazaras were killed.

Read HRW statement on their website.

Posted by: Editor | November 24, 2011

Hazara MNA Ends Boycott on Prime Minister’s Assurance

Hazara member of National Assembly from Quetta Nasir Shah ended boycott of the NA session after the Prime Minister’s assurance to meet his demands. Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani went to Nasir Shah who was camping outside the National Assembly building. The Prime Minister requested Nasir Shah to end the boycott and join the NA proceedings.

Nasir Ali Shah was on a sit-in strike in front of the National Assembly for more than a month protesting against the targeted-killing of the Hazaras in Quetta. He had boycotted the NA sessions on the issue and demanded his ruling party PPP to impose Governor’s Rule in Balochistan, where the corrupt Provincial Government under Chief Minister Raisani has turned a blind eye towards the massacre of Hazaras.

Nasir Shah thanked the Prime Minister and went to the National Assembly with him saying he would continue to raise his voice for the people of his province.

Hazara community finds safe haven in Peshawar – Asia – Al Jazeera English.

The ethnic group Hazara make up about 18 per cent of Afghanistan’s population, but many have been forced to flee persecution and war in their country.

More than half a million Hazaras now live in Pakistan, but there too they have been targeted by religious extremists for their Shia Muslim beliefs.

In Balochistan, where most of Hazaras reside, the group Lashkar-e-Jangvi has declared an open war against them. At least 90 Hazaras have been killed since July 30.

But the historic city of Peshawar in the northwest has welcomed them with open arms, and trade seems to be thriving for many members of the small community.

Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder reports.

Posted by: Editor | November 13, 2011

Conference in London on Genocide of Hazaras

Posted by: Editor | November 7, 2011

Seminar in Lahore Against Killing of Hazaras

By Hussain Kashif, Daily Times

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.

Posted by: Editor | November 6, 2011

Suicide Attack in Hazara Town

Quetta: A suicide bomber died when his explosives blew while he was trying to enter the crowded Hazara Town on Saturday. Reports confirm that two other bombers fled the area without executing their terror plot in Hazara Town.

Police Superintendent Malik Arshad said “the man wanted to place the explosives somewhere in Hazara Town, however, it detonated near the drain line, killing the man instantly.”

According to Express Tribune, “the explosion left a three-foot-deep ditch, and limbs and pieces of human flesh could be found 35 to 40 yards from the crime scene. The victim’s legs and arms were separated from the body, while his head and abdomen remained intact.”

The police recovered a wallet from the crime scene and found a copy of the victim’s identity card which states his name as Pervez Elahi, a resident of Dera Allahyar.

 

Posted by: Editor | October 20, 2011

Killings of Hazaras: makings of genocide?

By Mohammad Taqi, published on Daily Times, Oct 20

“War doesn’t negate decency. It demands it, even more than in times of peace” — The Kite Runner.

Anyone who has read Khaled Hosseini’s novel, The Kite Runner, or watched its heart-rending film adaptation need not be reminded that the above quote was an Afghan man’s response to a Russian soldier on the verge of a war crime claiming, “This is war. There is no shame in war.” The man’s son tried to stop him from standing up to the Russian. The Kite Runner remains a poignant parable of what has gone wrong with Afghanistan and Pakistan. That war has ravaged both countries is obvious but the hit that common decency has taken goes almost unnoticed.

Hosseini’s character Amir and his decision, first to not do anything when his friend and half-brother Hassan is subjected to an atrocity and then to keep his father from intervening to stop violence, is a stark reminder that the perpetrators’ strength is compounded by the inaction of the bystanders. In the allegorical work, the epithets and slurs thrown at Hassan — the jovial, loyal and young representation of decency and more importantly Afghanistan itself — are the abyss staring us in the eye.

Unfortunately, the disaster and slurs are not limited to fiction any longer. After the recent massacre of the Shiite Hazaras near Mastung, the parliamentarian from the area — Ayatullah Durrani — suggested on a television show that the victim community benefits by getting Australian asylum. Aslam Raisani, the chief minister of Balochistan, where more than 500 Hazaras — over 90 in the past four months — have been killed, offered to send a truckload of tissue papers to the bereaving families. Many seasoned human rights campaigners have either remained mum or have issued subdued statements literally sanitising the premeditated mass murder underway in and around Quetta. Terms like ‘sectarian killings’, with connotations of a tit-for-tat warfare between equal groups for similar motives, have been deployed.

Mass murders do not happen in a vacuum or out of the blue. There are always indicators of the disasters in the making, which are ignored by the bystanders, euphemised by the enablers and denied by the perpetrators. Prevention of such catastrophes has been a subject of serious scholarship and among the warning signs the most important one is a history of similar atrocities. Professor Barbara Harff had aptly noted: “Perpetrators of genocide are often repeat offenders, because elites and security forces may become habituated to mass killing as a strategic response to challenges to state security.”

The Hazaras first came to the Quetta cantonment in the then British Balochistan from central Afghanistan after the Afghan ruler, Abdur Rahman Khan, prompted by clergymen from Kandahar, issued a decree in 1892 declaring the Hazaras infidels. He ordered them to convert to the Sunni faith and when they refused he followed up on his pledge to exterminate them. A similar edict was issued by the Taliban regime of Mullah Omar in 1998 followed by extermination campaigns such as Mazar-i-Sharif (1998), Robatak Pass (2000) and Yakaolang (2001). The Hazaras have lived in peace and relative prosperity in Quetta and have been considered model citizens of Pakistan. But that was until another series of edicts was unleashed against them by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) — the Pakistani affiliate of the al Qaeda-Taliban combine.

It is in this very specific context that recognising the vulnerability of the Pakistani Hazaras takes on an urgency that no human and civil rights activist can ignore. Over 600,000 members of an easy-to-profile community, largely residing in the Marriabad area near Alamdar Road and the Hazara Town off the old Brewery Road in Quetta have become sitting ducks given the callous government attitude and a determined and well-armed perpetrator. The responsibility of bearing witness, raising concern and proactive advocacy rests now with the media and human rights activists.

Within the human rights community there is reluctance to use the term genocide and a departure from the confines of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, which provides a legal definition of the crime, is considered almost a judicial heresy. In a situation where the legal framework has not kept pace with time and the intervention and prevention of a disaster cannot wait, a working definition provided by John Thomson and Gail Quets may provide a useful start. They had stated: “Genocide is the extent of destruction of a social collectivity by whatever agents, with whatever intentions, by purposive actions which fall outside the recognised conventions of legitimate warfare.”

Even within the confines of the UN definition — based on the efforts of Raphael Lemkin — the atrocities do not have to be state-sanctioned, happen only in war or in peace, or a certain number of the target population have to die before the invocation of the term could be considered. Extermination of the last member of a community does not have to happen — in fact not one person has to be killed — for the crime to become genocide. Any ‘stable and permanent group’ (which can be national, ethnic, racial or religious) is considered a protected group. The responsibility for protection, of course, rests squarely with the state. In its 2007 judgement in the Bosnia vs Serbia case, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the first time defined the scope of the state responsibility under the UN convention. The ICJ has set strenuous evidence standards for a state to be held responsible for direct commission of genocide. But it also imposed an equally strict onus upon the states to rein in the non-state perpetrators to prevent genocide.

Nadezhda Mandelstam, a survivor of the Stalinist gulags herself, writes in Hope against Hope, “The relentless keepers of the truth are the genocide’s most powerful opponents…those who fail to witness honestly — who turn away, distort, and deny — are reliable allies of the génocidaires.” Interestingly, Nadezhda means hope in Russian. One remains hopeful that the international and Pakistani human rights organisations and activists would help bear witness, chronicle and report what appear to be the makings of genocide. The Pakistani state, on its part, must remember that failure to avert an imminent catastrophe would land it in very dubious company.

The writer can be reached at mazdaki@me.com. He tweets at http://twitter.com/mazdaki

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