Hazara community, belonging to Shia sect of Islam, are a persian-speaking ethnic group of people having roots in Afghanistan’s mountainous regions. They have a total of around 8 million population; four millions reside in Afghanistan, some 9,00,000 are living in Pakistan, with 40,000 Afghan citizens of Hazara descent, approximately 5,00,000 Hazara live in Iran and rest in other parts of the world [figures may be more or less].

Since 1980’s, their counterparts in Pakistan have been targeting the community under religious extremism. Basically, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has been attacking the community in Pakistan under the supervision of Al Qaeda’s Sunni Muslims, leaving the innocent Hazara mourning for the only reason to belonging to Shia sect_ or maybe to relating to Hazara community.

The recent brutal slain of eleven coal mine workers of Hazara community in Mach [a town in district Bolan of Balochistan] has yet again raised serious questions on state’s internal security. The workers were abducted and brutally slain with their hands tied on January 3. The dead bodies were brought to Quetta where the grieved families kept them on the roads, asking the premier of the state to visit and see how cruelly they were massacred.

Unfortunately, Prime Minister, Imran Khan, refused to visit Quetta unless the dead bodies were buried and termed the grieved families “blackmailers”.

“You cannot blackmail the premier of a country,” quoted Mr. Prime Minister in a conference in Islamabad on Friday [January 8], while sixth day of protest of the grieved families with their dead bodies was on the go.

Public could not get over Mr. Premier’s statement and criticised Imran Khan for being very egoistic and apathetic towards a marginalized minority. Hashtags went on trending, tweets were overloading on Prime Minister’s irresponsible reaction.

Later on that day, government of Balochistan sent another team to the grieved families under the leadership of Chief Minister of Balochistan, Mr. Jam Kamal Khan, trying to convince the families to bury the dead bodies, because Mr. Premier was only going to visit when his condition was fulfilled; “I will come in Quetta only when the dead bodies are buried,” says the Premier.

Whether or not force was implemented, the families agreed to bury their dead bodies on January 8 [night] after “successful” negotiations with the provincial government. However, Mr. Imran Khan reached in Quetta on January 9, and put forward his words in front of the grieved community.

“India has been involved in killing Shia and Sunni scholars to divide the Pakistanis,” says Imran Khan to the families of deceased Hazara. “I was in constant touch with ISI and federal ministers and following everything since the incident took place.”

“I, along with my government and entire Pakistan, stand with you in this critical time,” he goes on. “but because I am the Prime Minister of the entire country, I have a lot of other activities to do. If I would have come on your condition to Quetta, it would be a precedent for the coming prime ministers, which is unacceptable.”

While putting all the blames on India, he clarified his term of calling “blackmailers” was not for the families mourning, but opposition who were trying to pull his leg. But, his earlier statement “if I had come on your condition to Quetta, it would be a precedent for the coming prime ministers” clearly shows Mr. Prime Minister was directly hitting the grieved families with his unsympathetic term; that really is so apathetic of the Premier.

Now that the federal and provincial governments ensure to stand by the community, bring the culprits to the courts and help them financially, will they really stand on their words? Because such promises were previously made too, when the community suffered from deadly losses in several attacks on their mosques, religious practices, markets etc. Will the chain of killing the innocent Hazara continue alike?

Secondly, our policy makers should think of creating policies on bringing an end to the worries of the community. The militant groups, targeting the innocent Hazara, should be traced by the law enforcement agencies, in either way, so that the fundamental rights of the given community are protected along with the other citizens. All eyes are set on the current governments_ both coming in power for the first time. This would be a massive success for both the governments.

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Ali Jan Maqsood
The writer is a student of Law at University Law College Quetta and serves as sub-editor with The Baloch News. Formerly, he remained a teacher at DELTA in Turbat. He can be be reached at alijanmaqsood17@gmail.com and tweets at @Alijanmaqsood12