BY SYED KASWAR GARDEZI
Every morning, the Hazara community wakes up to a fear of the unknown. A fear that has crippled the community to the verge of giving up. Giving up on their right to live peacefully. A common man, belonging to the ill-fated community, is always keeping an eye out for a bullet. The bullet, cautiously, prepared to instill fear in the hearts of the Hazaras. Their crime; belonging to a minority sect.
For many decades Pakistan has been host to sectarian violence which has taken far too many lives. Particularly, however, the Hazara community remains at the front of the receiving end. Not too long ago, dozens of Hazaras were mercilessly massacred in the streets of Quetta, with no sense of security prevalent whatsoever. Yet, the state remains indifferent towards providing a lasting solution to the problem. I wouldn’t be wrong in stating that the Hazaras are the target of a continued ethnic cleansing with nobody present to help them.
Due to the surge in the ethnic cleansing against them, a lot many of the Hazaras have also been forced to abandon their homes and migrate abroad; Australia for the most part. But the not so affording class remains guard less in the heart of Quetta, ready for a fresh attack every single day. Somebody rightly pointed out that the Hazaras have turned out to be our very own Rohingyas and the sad part is no effective voice is raised for their protection.
Due to the surge in the ethnic cleansing against them, a lot many of the Hazaras have also been forced to abandon their homes and migrate abroad; Australia for the most part
Even judicial activism hasn’t come to their aid the way it should have. The state in all its form and presence has miserably failed to protect the lives of the cursed community and with the exception of a protest here and there, no constructive effort has been made to safeguard their lives and property.
The failure on part of the state is so deep-rooted that even the protesting Hazaras themselves found solace in the arms of the army chief and nobody else. The last tenure also witnessed the prime minister, of the time, visiting the Hazaras and assuring them of every possible effort for their security and yet men of the community continues to fall almost every other day. The question is, who is to blame?
The state? For sure.
Provincial government? Without a doubt.
The security agencies of the country have time and again pointed out the threats to the community. The onus to act upon the conveyed threats rests on the shoulders of the government. The very same government quite busy promoting Nawaz Sharif’s version of events. There hasn’t been a single instance where a member of parliament has raised the issue of the Hazara community in the prestigious halls of the lower house. No talk of a special bill for the protection of the same has ever been heard.
As long as the violence is away from Punjab, the rulers seem to be satisfied. After all, it is only what happens in Punjab which is of significance.
The cries of the wailing mothers of the Hazara community and the echoing woes of the community in general do not fall upon the ears of the leaders of today. They do not seem to see the tears trickling down the face of a child who has lost all male members of his house to the persistent violence.
The families of the group of teenagers, blasted apart in a snooker club bomb, seek justice till date. We do group up for the dozen people murdered in Model Town, Lahore. However, we remain pre-occupied to cry out loud for the ‘dozens’ of Hazaras obliterated in the streets of Quetta.
Are they not citizens of Pakistan? More so, are they not humans? Failing to raise a voice against the genocide of the Hazaras brings us directly in line with the people of Kufa. The people who sided with the oppressor and laughed at the oppressed, branding them as traitors. You may forgive yourself, but history will not. We will be branded as the kufis of today, who stood by, silently, and witnessed aggression against an innocent and peaceful community.
Meanwhile the Hazara community continues to languish in a constant state of dismay. In their hearts they cry out for the one who sacrificed everything for the sake of justice and more importantly for the sake of Islam. Despite being subjected to exponential levels of violence themselves, the Hazaras remain firm in their beliefs, and with one eye cry out for their loved ones but cry harder for the martyrs of Karbala.
They find solace in the fact that if no one else, then history might do justice to them. The generations to come will know that in spite of a tirade of brutality against them, they didn’t back track on their firm beliefs. Yazid tha, Hussain (AS) hai, remains their slogan.
We the people might, on the other hand, have to account for the state of silence we remain in. In certain interpretations, silence even amounts to consent. Failing to act against oppression makes us a part of the oppressors. Ignoring a ruthless form of genocide is the greatest crime that we all are guilty of abetting.
The smiles have been wiped off, permanently, from the faces of the Hazaras and yet we remain part of a society that is both indifferent and ignorant. Chaudhary Nisar jumping ship excites us more. Statements passed by politicians, observations made by the judiciary and tweets updated by the establishment are more momentous for us as opposed to the spilt blood of the Hazara community. Blood spilling for a cause which we fail to comprehend.
The more ironic part is that at best we can update a status condemning the attack and move on with our lives.
Moments like these compel me to conclude;
“Kya Ghum Manaien Hum Karbala Ka Aey Kaswar,
Aj Bhee Zamane Mein Bahut Kufi Baaki Hein”