BY ABDUL RAHIM CHNAGEZI
The existence of Hazara nation in this part of region including Quetta is from 15th and 16th centuries, when they use to travel frequently in various parts of subcontinent through Pak-Afghan border. They permanently started inhabiting various areas of Pakistan during the 19th century, When the mass killing of Hazara’s started in Afghanistan during the reign of Amir Abdur Rehman the ruler of that time where 70% fertile and precious land of Hazara’s were occupied and 62% population of Hazara’s were killed in brutal way which compelled Hazara’s to migrate in Pakistan, Iran and different other countries of the region.
With the passage of time the population of Hazaras in Quetta and other parts of country increased and now it is estimated more than 600,000 human souls. Being one of local inhabitants they proved to be peaceful citizens, dedicated to socio economic development of city and province side by side with their neighboring communities such as Baloch, Pashtoon and settlers.
Hazaras relatively have physical and mental tendency towards education, consequently they are civilized Well-mannered and conscious to the basic principles of equity and equality among the inhabitants of provincial capital. Majority of our educated have been involved in government jobs and small businesses in and around Quetta.
This small community has great privileges and contribution in serving the country such as commander in chief of Pakistan Army who served the country from 1958 to 1968, Air marshal of Pakistan Air force and so many other national hero’s in different fields of life were from Hazara community.
Undoubtedly, even before partition of subcontinent, history and evidences show that Hazaras Had played significant role and contribution in all sphere of life, Whether it is pavement of roads, constructions of physical infrastructures, competitive events of sports, combating against the enemies, restoration and rehabilitation of affected masses of natural and huge calamities such as earthquake and floods or representation of province both within and outside country.
For instance, constructions of roads and tunnels to link Afghanistan to India through the Bolan pass near Quetta and lying down of railway track from Sibi to Chaman district is one of everlasting laborious work that Hazaras had been part of it. The ups and downs of political environment and ever changes of government could not succeed to hamper dedication of Hazaras towards contributing into socio economic development of the province.
Millions of remittances (as foreign exchange reserves) that come from Hazaras living overseas have been invested in this province which resulted in improving the living standards and means of livelihoods of the general masses. This unique and exemplary trend is appreciated by many non-Hazaras of local communities, which played a key role to further strengthen brotherhood among Hazara and other communities. This feature of co-existence of masses characterized Quetta city as one of the most peaceful city of this country despite its diverse ethnic population.
Due to current reign of terror and security unrest in Pakistan especially in Quetta, Balochistan the peaceful co-existence feature of Quetta got deteriorated because of unwanted interference into neighboring countries affairs, defective foreign policies, Talibanization, pre-mature indulgence into war against terror combined with governments inefficiency and ineffective law enforcement agencies.
The most expressing surprise is that in presence of law enforcement agencies and several other agencies the widespread and deliberate extermination of Hazaras are continued. The situation has already reached to a point that social harmony among communities and peaceful co-existence is seriously endangered.
Many prominent Hazara businessmen, political leaders, social activists, teachers, students and general masses including women and children got killed in target shooting. The lasting and irreparable mourn for Hazara’s of Quetta was the assassination of their peaceful, liberal, democratic and secular Chairman of Hazara Democratic Party Mr. Hussain Ali Yousufi who was shot dead on 26th January 2009 in the main trade area of Quetta city.
The ultimate result of current situation is that businesses and properties that worth millions of rupees were either put into fire and closed due to never ending of insecurity.
Hazara community is now seemed to be besieged as thousands of Hazara students cannot go to schools, colleges and universities due to security reasons, many teachers, lecturers and professors of different schools, colleges and universities either left or gone on without pay leave to rescue their lives. Majority of Hazara population inhabit in the East and West of Quetta District.
It has become now very challenging for Hazaras to move around especially while travelling between Alamdar Road and Hazara Town, where they predominately live. Since the year 1999 over 1500 people belonging to Hazara community in Quetta have been killed in target shooting and more than 4000 people badly injured or psychologically ill due to never ending harsh and heinous waves of terrorism. The most astonishing and surprising is that not a single person has been convicted for carrying out these killing so far.
It is a matter of stigma for the government that after every incident of target killings and suicidal attacks, the militant religious terrorist organization calls electronic and print media offices for claiming the responsibilities of the incident and threatens Hazaras, law enforcement agencies and media for further attack. Video tapes that show cruel acts of killing and planning are uploaded in to social networks such as face book and YouTube to terrorize Hazaras.