Islamabad: Elected representatives and political leaders of Pakistan can only provide a permanent solution to end targeted discrimination and elimination of minority Hazara community, a Lahore-based journalist has said.
In a blog post published in the Express Tribune, Imad Zafar, while criticizing the consistent and constant persecution of Shia Hazaras says, “The new social contract is the need of the hour. The COAS and the Supreme Court can provide temporary relief to the problem, but it is the elected representatives and political leaders of Pakistan are the only persons who can provide a permanent solution.”
He further states, “Unfortunately, due to the fear of losing their vote bank, all the major parties and political leaders refrain from bringing structural changes and discouraging the violence in the name of sect and religion. They need to come forward and start condemning the inhuman act of killing and marginalising minorities like the Hazaras. It is the duty of the elected government and representatives to form a policy that can help in changing this extremist mindset.”
Zafar bases his conclusions on the basis of a report released in March 2018 by the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), in which it has been clearly stated that around 509 AND 627 Hazaras have been killed and injured respectively in Quetta during the last five years.
In his blog, he traces this Shia-Sunni sectarian rift in Pakistan to the time when dictator General Zia-ul-Haq was in power between 1977 and 1988.
Zafar writes, “Pakistan has since been facing ethnic and sect-based wars between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Members of the Hazara community are easily recognisable due to their distinct features that separate them from other communities. The banned Sunni outfits, mostly backed by the Taliban and al Qaeda, take advantage of this fact and target them. Due to this threat, they are forced to live in colonies with high concrete walls and a security gate with multiple check posts. They are advised by law enforcement agencies not to roam freely in the city of Quetta and should stay home after 8 p.m., as it is not safe for them to leave their residential areas after dark.”
He makes a mention of the hunger strike of civil rights activist Advocate Jalila Haider and others over what they term is the genocide of Hazaras.
He questions the fact that the civilian administration and the military brass appear to be going soft at extremists from the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) which freely roams Quetta despite claiming responsibility for killing members of the Hazara community.
“It seems that while the state is busy in suppressing the insurgency and unrest in Balochistan, the protection of the Hazara community does not top the priority list, or perhaps the community is considered collateral damage in the war against the actors in Balochistan,” he says.
The apex judiciary is also lampooned for taking so long to notice of the target killings of Hazaras.
“Now, when the case is finally in the Supreme Court, one does hope that not only will the court deliver speedy justice, but it will also end Hazara’s economic marginalisation by directing the provincial government to provide equal economic opportunities for the community,” he said.
“Unless this current narrative of hatred towards others based on their belief and faith is not changed entirely, the Hazara community and other minorities will continue to die through the hands of fanatics,” he concludes. (ANI)