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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Plight of the Hazara community in Balochistan

Nizam Hassan discusses the difficulties faced by the Hazara community in Balochistan. According to him, as long as religious minorities face harsh violence, prosperity and progress in Pakistan are akin to daydreaming.

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Pakistan is an abode to various faiths and ethnic groups. Therefore, mutual understanding, respect, and harmony among these faiths are necessary to keep the social equilibrium balanced. Nevertheless, faith-based discrimination, prejudice, and hatred between religious sects pose a cataclysmic prospect for the stability of Pakistan.

Unfortunately, with each passing day, the barricade between them is getting thicker and wider. Among the most depressed and religiously prejudiced communities in Pakistan, the Hazara community- who belong to the Shia sect- bluntly faces the wrath of sectarian extremists.

Read more: Plight of Hazaras and Shia killings – Saad Rasool

A huge diaspora of approximately 650,000 is living in the country. Balochistan holds the majority of Hazaras. Needless to say that they contribute enormously in the social, economic, and political spheres.

Furthermore, the Hazara community is considered among the most advanced communities not only in Balochistan but also in the country. But, the ingrained hatred against them deprives them of demonstrating their skills and expertise towards the well-being of Pakistan.

Read more: Who is behind the target killing of Shia Hazara community?

Sad reality of the Hazara community in Balochistan 

They have been killed, tortured, and prejudiced at worst. For past decades, they have lived a miserable and palpable life, particularly in Quetta, where they lost a huge number of people in mass-scale bomb blasts and target killings. “Nearly two thousand people from the Hazara community have lost their lives from 2002 to 2017,” quotes Wikipedia.

However, the figures for subsequent years are an exception. At the beginning of 2021, eleven Hazara coal miners were butchered and executed in the Mach coalfield when they were sleeping in their tents.

Read more: Pakistan coal miners scared to work after Hazara killings

Despite the spill of periodic, albeit harsh acts of barbarity against the Hazara community in Balochistan, still, the vacuum is getting tougher and tougher, thus further creating a suffocating and unbearable atmosphere for them to breathe in.

Even though the gravity of disharmony and hatred is augmenting now, one can easily witness deep-rooted hatred against them in the marketplaces, on the roads, and even in the universities of Quetta.

Read more: Hazara protest continues: Govt. assures implementation of NAP & enhanced security

An oft-occurring incident

Most recently, a situation of a similar kind erupted in front of my eyes where a van driver from the oppressed community was humiliated and banged with malicious language, even though it was clearly not his fault.

Interestingly, the man who disgraced him had a beard, and the name of the second great caliph of Islam, Umar bin Khatta, was written on the back glass of his car with bold and beautiful calligraphy. Since I was in my car next to them when he used slang words against the vain driver.

Read more: “Acceptance and Tolerance”: What Afghan Hazaras want from the peace process 

Witnessing his harsh language, a disgusting feeling shivered down my spine and made me guilty in front of the vain driver, too. In fact, now they are prone to such incidents frequently at least in Quetta city.

The constitution ensures equality for all

Though the rights of minorities are aptly defined in the sacred document of Pakistan, the constitution, they are effective on the papers. Article 25(1) of the constitution reads: All citizens are equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of the law.

Furthermore, article 33 clearly says that it is the state’s responsibility to discourage parochial, racial, tribal, and sectarian prejudice against the citizens. Interestingly though, none of the aforementioned articles is implemented to curb religious prejudice against the Hazara community. Indeed, they are equal citizens of this country, therefore they should be given equal status and respect.

Read more: How Pakistan’s human rights campaign is flawed beyond deceit

Prime Minister, Imran Khan, and his party members have long been promising a welfare state. In fact, it is the right time for Khan and his party to give their ‘notion’ of the welfare state a practical color by ensuring the safety, security, and protection of Shia Hazaras in the country. As long as religious minorities face harsh and perpetrated violence, prosperity and progress are akin to daydreaming.

The writer is a freelancer based in Quetta, Balochistan. He can be reached at: nizambaloch149@gmai.com.The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.