By Ali Bator
Only about 600,000 Hazaras live in Quetta Pakistan. They constitute only 0.33% of the Pakistan’s 182 million populations. According to the Hazara Democratic Party, just in the last 15 years about 1500 Hazara men, women and children have lost their lives, and close to 4500 have been injured, in 134 separate target killings and bomb blasts. These carnages have also resulted into mass-migration. According to Aljazeera, more than 50,000 Hazaras have been forced to leave Quetta Pakistan in search of a safer place to live. All these savagery and aggression have been against the only 600,000 Hazaras who are undoubtedly the most peaceful and civil citizens of Pakistan.
The organization behind most of these systematic massacres is the Lashkar e Jhnagvi (LeJ) the extremist Suni militant group, who have openly claimed responsibility for the attacks and bomb blasts against the Hazaras. It’s commonly believed that LeJ is partly controlled by the Pakistan’s notorious Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and based on the leaked videos and other documents LeJ leaders and foot soldiers are trained and safeguarded by the ISI. Extremist Suni militant groups are considered to be the ISI’s strategic assets. Pakistan’s ISI is so powerful and professional that in 2015 it’s ranked as world’s number 1 spy agency by the American Crime News. It has so much influence on Pakistani politics that it is called a state within the state of Pakistan. No government institution can make any major decision without the knowledge and approval of the ISI. These facts are mentioned to clarify those extremist organizations such as LeJ who enjoy the support of the ISI will not slow down their attacks on the Hazaras unless ordered directly by the ISI.
The Hazaras of Pakistan are the survivors of massacres of Abdurrahman khan, the infamous king of Afghanistan who began his reign in 1880. A few months after taking charge of Kabul he began a ferocious campaign ethnic cleansing against the Hazaras in central Afghanistan. The main aims of this campaign were to further his authority over the Hazara populated areas and to subjugate them. According to most historians close to 65% of the Hazaras of Afghanistan were killed during his reign. Those who survived these massacres were either forced to migrate from their lands or sold as slaves in Kabul, Qandahar and British India. No historian of the contemporary history of Afghanistan doubts on the extent of cruelty and injustice of Abdurrahman Khan towards the Hazaras. After fleeing from Afghanistan, the group of the Hazaras who ended up living in Quetta Pakistan have enjoyed a much better living conditions for a few decades.
These better living conditions allowed the Hazaras of Pakistan to prosper in every path of life. Such was the prosperity that, the once the most impoverished group of immigrants became known as the most educated ethnic group in Pakistan. Amazingly the Hazaras of Pakistan, despite the very small number, have had very influential personalities in Pakistani Army, politics and sports. General Mohammad Mussa Khan who served as the fourth Chief-of-Amry Staff in Pakistan, Sharbat Ali Changazy of Pakistan Air Force and Qayom Changazy captain of Pakistan Football team are just a few to name. The Hazaras of Pakistan enjoyed a fair access to education, job, sports, and social services in Quetta for many years. This fairness resulted in Quetta being the second home of many Afghan Hazaras refugees during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and domestic wars or 1990s.
But things have changed drastically for the Hazaras of Pakistan in last 15 years. As mentioned the numbers of Hazaras affected by the target killings and bomb blasts are so vast that it can no longer be ignored. The Hazaras in Quetta are literally imprisoned in 2 separate localities in the east and west of the Quetta city. All of the Hazara business and commercial activities have been fully affected by the current situation. The Hazara young girls and boys are no longer able to pursue higher education as they are continually targeted. The lives of the Hazaras of Pakistan are basically on a complete standstill. No men, women and children are safe to move around. A target killer, a suicide-bomber or bomb blast could end a Hazara’s life at any given moment. Neither the Police nor the Frontier Corps (FC) has the ability or the will to safeguard the Hazaras in Quetta Pakistan. Whatever reasons the ISI has for supporting and allowing LeJ and other extremist organization to persecute and torment the Hazaras of Pakistan with impunity, we may never know.
But in early 2013 the Hazaras all over the world organized protests against the barbaric killings and brutalities against the Hazaras of Pakistan. Almost in all the major cities around the world the Hazaras gathered and raised their voices. That surely made a huge difference. For a few months the situation in Quetta was calm. The Hazaras could live a normal life again. They could walk the streets without fear of being gunned down. I think the time has come to protest again, but in much bigger numbers in every city or town that the Hazaras are living. The genocide has not been ended.
Protesting against these atrocities is the most civil and civilized way of fighting these culprits. We are and we have always been against violence and we must not resort to violence to achieve our means. We need to show the world that we are different from those killers. We need to show the world that like the billions of people around the world, we value human lives. We need to prove to the world that we are civilized people and we believe in human rights, equality, and every other civil values and norms that are held as a moral high grounds in the civilized world. We need the show the world that we are decent, moderate and peace-loving human beings and we deserve to be helped and protected. We need to bring the international community to our side so that they pressurize the government of Pakistan to stop this madness and protect its most vulnerable citizens. This seems to be the only viable option that the Hazaras have in front of them. As Gandhi says, “an eye for an eye will only make the world blind.”