12 January 2013

Who is killing the Hazaras in Balochistan Province?

As an ethnic group, the approximately 500,000 Hazaras in Balochistan Province, apart from being Shia, are also extremely patriotic Pakistanis. In the last five years, approximately 1,100 Hazaras have lost their lives to terrorism in Balochistan. Are they being targetted because they're Shia or because they're pro-Pakistan? Are they being punished for their faith or for their loyalty to the Pakistani State? Or both? While Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is the usual suspect, the Balochistan Liberation Army and other separatist terrorist groups (as well as their foreign sponsors) should not be ruled out.

Irrespective of the motive of those who are doing the killing, it is the duty of the Pakistani State to protect the Hazaras and bring the perpetrators of these crimes to swift and exemplary justice.

The inept, corrupt and bloated current civilian government in Balochistan (51 members out of the 64-member Balochistan Provincial Assembly are either government ministers or advisors) has failed miserably to protect the lives and properties of Balochistan's residents, including the Hazaras. The only solution is Governor's Rule and a province-wide military operation against all terrorist organizations, including Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Balochistan Liberation Army.

Pakistan's most prominent Hazara, General Muhammad Musa, Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army (1 April 1957 - 17 September 1966); Governor of West Pakistan (18 September 1966 – 20 March 1969); and Governor of Balochistan (17 December 1985 - 12 March 1991)

The photograph below, taken on 13 January 2013, shows Hazaras on a peaceful vigil in the freezing cold of Quetta, with the coffin of their dead draped in the Pakistani flag. Even in the depths of despair, this is a poignant patriotic moment, evidencing an act of supreme faith in Pakistan.

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