The Hazaras are being systematically killed because they are anti-Taliban
“At least 60 people belonging to Hazara community living in Quetta have been killed in targeted attacks, including suicide, remote-controlled and timer device bombings and firing,” says a report published in this newspaper, following a brutal attack on Shia pilgrims belonging to the Hazara community.
Thursday’s bomb attack in the Hazarganji area on the outskirts of the provincial capital of Balochistan was not the first such attack of the year. Not even the first of the month. The Hazara community has been targeted, with great impunity, by outlawed militant organisations on at least six occasions in the current year. While all attacks have claimed precious lives, one of worst attacks against the community came last September, when a bus carrying Hazara passengers was stopped by assailants heavily armed with rocket launchers and Kalashnikovs. They identified Hazara men, took them off the bus and slaughtered them one by one within half a kilometre from a security check post. A similar incident was repeated a few days later in Akhtarabad area of Quetta. Some unconfirmed reports say “over 800 Hazaras have been killed in 24 incidents of mass-murder and 131 targeted ambushes since 2001.”
Responsibility for most of these attacks has been claimed by outlawed group Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, who have gone as far in their hate preach as declaring the community “wajib-ul-qatl” or deserving of death in their edicts handed out in the Balochistan province. Moreover, the community has been warned that its settlements in Hazara Town and on Alamdar Road will be transformed into graveyards as the war against them continues, according to a column published in this newspaper.
The killings have received mixed reactions and analyses from government officials, politicians and Hazara community leaders. Some blame security forces and intelligence agencies for the killings. Others point the fingers at the sectarian fanatics, Taliban and land mafia while some people even suggest a complex amalgam of all the aforementioned factors.
Role of security forces
While there is little doubt that all the attacks have been unprovoked and unidirectional without any apprehensions for many years, for Hazaras, the failure of security forces to protect their community remains an unanswered question.