Tag Archives: Hazara

The Taliban’s New, More Terrifying Cousin

How a virulent Pakistani terrorist group is trying to annihilate an ethnic rival–and why we should be worried

Abdul Amir (as we’ll call him), a chemistry teacher in Quetta, Pakistan, was taking an afternoon nap on Feb. 16 when his house began to shake and the earth let out an almighty roar. His mother and sisters started screaming and ran out of the house, but by the time they gathered in the street, the noise had already stopped. He climbed to the roof to get a better view of what happened and saw a thick cloud of bright white smoke, a mile south, suspended above the market place where his students would be buying snacks after their weekend English classes. He rushed back down to the ground, started his motorcycle and took off toward ground zero, knowing all the while that this was foolish – during a bombing five weeks before, the people who came to help were killed by a second explosion.

Still he raced through the streets, swerving around people running away from the bomb, finally arriving at a scene even worse even than he’d feared. The blast had been so powerful that the market hadn’t been destroyed so much as it had been deleted, as had the people shopping there and those in buildings nearby. Everything within 100 meters was simply flattened, and all that remained were the metal skeletons of a few flaming vehicles and the chemical smell of synthetic materials burning. Abdul would find more than fifty of his students were injured. One of his favorite students would die from her wounds six days later.

Continue reading The Taliban’s New, More Terrifying Cousin

We are at war

By: Asad Munir

Until the late 1970s Shias and Sunnis lived in complete harmony in this country. There were sporadic, minor incidents of Shia-Sunni violence but generally there was no hostility between the two sects. Muharram was sacred for Sunnis as well. Many attended Shia majalis, and on the tenth of Muharram cooked special foods, participated in Shia processions and revered the Zuljinah.

These good times were changed by three major events that took place in the late 1970s: Zia’s martial law, Khomeini’s revolution and the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets. Pakistan was no more the same moderate and tolerant country. Zia, after hanging an elected prime minister, wanted to use religion as a tool to prolong his rule. He tried to introduce Islamic laws as per the concept of the Islamic state envisioned by Maulana Maudoodi.

Continue reading We are at war

When a state is dysfunctional

By: Abbas Nasir

WHO knows what a failed state is? Such definitions are for the academics and experts. But what one can easily ascertain is a state that is dysfunctional.

For what would you call a state that has neither the power to generate resources and tax those who need to be taxed, nor the system or even the need to ensure that it accounts for what it spends? It can keep piling up a huge deficit without question and have nothing to show for it.

What would you call a state that cannot deliver the very least: the safety of life and limb to its citizens? Where if you particularly happened to be in the smaller provinces the only thing you could get by on is your faith. Yes, God remains the only recourse.

Continue reading When a state is dysfunctional

Insight: Spiral of Karachi killings widens Pakistan’s sectarian divide

By Matthew Green, KARACHI

(Reuters) – When Aurangzeb Farooqi survived an attempt on his life that left six of his bodyguards dead and a six-inch bullet wound in his thigh, the Pakistani cleric lost little time in turning the narrow escape to his advantage.

Recovering in hospital after the ambush on his convoy in Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial capital, the radical Sunni Muslim ideologue was composed enough to exhort his followers to close ranks against the city’s Shi’ites.

“Enemies should listen to this: my task now is Sunni awakening,” Farooqi said in remarks captured on video shortly after a dozen gunmen opened fire on his double-cabin pick-up truck on December 25.

“I will make Sunnis so powerful against Shi’ites that no Sunni will even want to shake hands with a Shi’ite,” he said, propped up in bed on emergency-room pillows. “They will die their own deaths, we won’t have to kill them.”

Such is the kind of speech that chills members of Pakistan’s Shi’ite minority, braced for a new chapter of persecution following a series of bombings that have killed almost 200 people in the city of Quetta since the beginning of the year.

Continue reading Insight: Spiral of Karachi killings widens Pakistan’s sectarian divide

Sindh, Balochistan mourn over Quetta killing

QUETTA: The governments of Sindh and Balochistan are observing a day of mourning over the killing of 80 people in Quetta on Saturday. The national flag will remain half-mast in both provinces.

Meanwhile, Hazara Democratic Party has appealed for shutter down strike in Quetta against the blast. Political and religious parties have supported it.

Karachi Goods Transporters Association and Oil Tankers Association have also announced to halt supply of goods across the country.

President Asif Ali Zardari telephoned Governor Balochistan Zulfiqar Magsi and directed him to monitor relief operation himself besides providing security to the Hazara community.

Courtesy: The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-88407-Sindh,-Balochistan-mourn-over-Quetta-killing

Why I’m not celebrating US exit – by Pervez Hoodbhoy

Today there is only the cruel choice between continued American presence and Taliban rule

After a trillion dollars and 2000 dead Americans, there is precious little to show as the U.S. heads towards its 2014 exit. America’s primary goal had been to create a stable, non-hostile Afghan government and army which could stop extremist groups from once again using Afghan territory as a base. But Hamid Karzai is already on the way out, rapid desertions could collapse the Afghan National Army, and only die-hards like Marine Gen. John Allen say that the U.S. can win. The Taliban are smelling victory.

America’s failure drives many bearded folks – and Imran Khan’s thoughtless supporters – into fits of ecstasy. It also delights some Pakistani leftists at home and abroad; imperialism has been humbled. Some comrades imagine that a mythicalAfghan “working class” – whatever that might mean – will pop up from nowhere and somehow stop the Taliban from moving in as fast as the Americans move out. Do they also hope for snowflakes in summer?

Continue reading Why I’m not celebrating US exit – by Pervez Hoodbhoy

Nothing to see here…

By: Omar

This link will take you to a post in “Longwarjournal“, which may be described as a neocon site, though their own description of their mission is, as expected, more flattering.  Without shooting the messenger, try to watch some of the videos linked therein. We will continue with comments after you have done so.

OK.

Now, in the proper “high art” tradition (Luis Bunuel did it and every highly educated person is supposed to love him) I will show you one of the videos, after earlier implying that I was not going to expose you directly to this macabre theater.

Actually, its not graphic till you get to minute 3. I suggest stopping short of minute three if the sight of soldiers heads displayed on a white sheet is more offensive to you than the people who did it.

Next, to analysis. Why has this caused remarkably little fuss in Pakistan (where Imran Khan is having middle-class heart attacks at the very thought of Raja Rental as his prime minister)?  And why am i posting “death porn” on a family website?

A. Little Fuss. People (not just liberals, even conservatives are bitten by this bug) are looking for deep explanations. Deep explanations are redundant when shallow ones explain the observed phenomenon with sufficient reliability and validity. Here are the shallow reasons (I can think of more, but I really have to run):

1. Outrage about enemies of the state (in any country) can be built up form existing material by the national security establishment. Our national security establishment is in the middle of a very delicate negotiation with NATO. Blanket outrage over this would provide assistance to NATO in their negotiating position. So, while its sad and terrible, it does have to be ignored in the higher national interest. Some outrage CAN be directed against NATO and Afghanistan, but even that has to be calibrated, these things can get out of hand. (and GHQ knows a thing or two about things getting out of hand).

2. The dead are humble soldiers. Even officers up to brigadier rank are a dime a dozen. A general has to be robust. (in military academies and staff colleges, they teach you that a good general is “robust”. He doesnt lose his focus just because a few thousand of his own people are dead. Napoleon was extremely robust. So was Mao).

3, The dead may also be mostly Pashtoons from the poorer section of society. While these are the most outstanding of men; honest, hard-working, honorable, self-confident… not calculating and grasping “Indus man and Ganges man” type poor folk, who bow before superiors and kick inferiors for sport (in this sentence, I am dead serious…i grew up knowing some) they are not family.

Its a fact of life. Just like the NLI soldiers in Kargil (Baltistanis) or Hazaras in Quetta (not only are they Shia, they even look different…while that is not as clear a difference as the color-coding that set “us and them” apart in the America of yore (among other places), it does make it easier to identify those who are us and those who are not).

4. The taliban cut off heads and display them on sheets!

Continue reading Nothing to see here…

Pakistan is in denial over spreading sectarian violence

After decades of turning a blind eye, the government seems helpless in the face of attacks on Shias and other minorities

By: Mustafa Qadri

While banned political groups preach hatred towards religious minorities in Pakistan’s major cities, a conflict along sectarian lines is spreading across the country, even to areas not previously associated with violence. Having spent decades turning a blind eye to the calculated violence of groups with a clear agenda based on hatred and intolerance, Pakistan’s government appears helpless in the face of continuous attacks on Shia Muslims and other minorities.

Sectarian attacks are not new in Pakistan, but there has been an upsurge, especially in Balochistan since at least 2010, in the Khurram and Orakzai tribal agencies bordering Afghanistan, the port city of Karachi and across the Punjab. Now the frosty, picturesque mountain ranges of Gilgit-Baltistan, on the northern border with China, are seeing an increasingly violent sectarian conflict pitting Muslim Sunnis against Shias.

Continue reading Pakistan is in denial over spreading sectarian violence

STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST PAKISTAN’S RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES

We urge you to intervene and stop the killing of Pakistan’s religious communities, including Sunni (Barelvi), Shia (including Hazara) and Ahmedi communities that are facing a virtual genocide simply for following their religious beliefs and practices.

You are no doubt familiar with Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s speech to the Constituent Assembly on Aug 11, 1947, in which he said: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed –that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

The recent attacks on the 12 Rabiul Awal processions in various cities around Pakistan (including Gujranwala, Mansehra, Gojar Khan, Mirpur, Khairpur, Mustang and Karachi) are evidence of the menace of bigotry and intolerance. The government must act with all of its might to put a stop to this. It needs to be done NOW.

The evil lurks in the belly of the so-called Diffa-e-Pakistan Council, a coalition comprising several ‘religious parties’ including some banned organsiations whose views dont resonate with the majority but are able to use their armed status and street power to attack others with impunity. The activities of this coalition need to be curtailed before it becomes the Destroy Pakistan Council. ….

Read more » CHANGE

Afghanistan: Pakistani Extremist Group In Focus After Unprecedented Attack On Afghan Shi’a

By Abubakar Siddique

As Afghanistan recovers from a deadly and unprecedented attack on a Shi’ite shrine in Kabul, the finger of blame is pointing directly at a Sunni extremist group with a long history of carrying out such attacks in neighboring Pakistan.

At least 55 people were killed and more than 160 wounded in the December 6 suicide attack, which occurred as Shi’ite worshippers were assembled outside the shrine to commemorate Ashura, a Shi’ite religious holiday. A separate attack near an Ashura procession in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif killed at least four people.

Shortly after the midday attack in Kabul, a man claiming to be a spokesman for Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami contacted RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal to claim responsibility on behalf of the Pakistan-based militant group.

It was impossible to independently verify the claim made by the man, who identified himself as Qari Abubakar Mansoor.

The man first contacted a Radio Mashaal correspondent in Pakistan who covers the western Kurram tribal district, where the group is believed to be headquartered. A man going by the name of Qari Abubakar had previously contacted Radio Mashaal to provide information regarding the Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami. Following RFE/RL’s report tying the group to the attack in Afghanistan, various media reported receiving similar claims from the same spokesman.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who cut short a European trip and returned to the Afghan capital to deal with the crisis, appeared to accept that the attack was carried out by Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami. While visiting survivors of the attack in the hospital, he was quoted as telling reporters that “we are investigating this issue and we are going to talk to the Pakistani government about it.”

Ties To Al-Qaeda, Taliban

Farzana Sheikh, a Pakistan specialist at the Chatham House think tank in London, says the group evolved from the Anjuman-e Sipahe Shaba Pakistan, an extremist political party intent on transforming Pakistan into a Sunni state. One of its splinter groups, Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) was considered the most deadly sectarian militia in the South Asian state in the 1990s.

Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami is now considered a splinter group of the LeJ, which was banned in Pakistan in 2002 because of its role in the killing of thousands of Shi’a.

“Its roots really lie in southern Punjab [Province], in the district of Jhang, from where they have clearly spread to other parts of Pakistan,” Sheikh says, “but particularly the [southwestern province of] Balochistan, where they have been responsible, and indeed claimed responsibility, for a series of murderous attacks against Shi’a Hazaras.”

Sheikh says that the group once enjoyed close links to Pakistani intelligence agencies. This, she notes, enabled LeJ to maintain bases in Taliban-controlled Afghan regions because of Islamabad’s relationship with the Taliban regime. However, the LeJ’s Shi’a-killing campaign made it a prime security threat for Pakistan, according to observers.

Read more » Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (rferl)

http://www.rferl.org/content/pakistani_extremist_group_in_focus_after_afghan_sectarian_attack/24415027.html

Countering Extremism in Pakistan

Countering Extremism in Pakistan: Need of Political Approach

By Jamil Junejo

ESCALATING sectarian and religious violence has made a disquieting situation for religious minorities in particular and other vulnerable sections of society in general in the country. In just less than a year, a number of such cases from murders of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti and mishandling of a 10-year-old Christian girl for her alleged misspelling of a word, the Sept 19 massacre of 26 Hazara Shia in Mastung to expulsion of Ahmedi students from a university in Punjab and scores of other such incidents have put the social, religious and sectarian harmony at peril.

Continue reading Countering Extremism in Pakistan

Even the MONGOLIANS are taking notice of the Quetta killings of Shia Hazara

Mongolians hold a press conference to highlight the issue of genocide of Hazaras

…. the Republic of Mongolia held a press conference to highlight the issue of Genocide of Hazaras in Pakistan. Apparently, a separate discussion was also staged with Mongolian Youths to brief them about the predicaments of Hazaras of Pakistan which is faced in the form of targeted killings, mass killings and ethnic persecution. ….

Read more » http://www.wahdatnews.com/?p=1309

AFGHANISTAN: TEN YEARS OF AIMLESS WAR

by Eric S. Margolis

NEW YORK – October 08, 2011 – Operation Enduring Freedom – the dreadfully misnamed ten-year US occupation of Afghanistan – has turned into Operation Enduring Misery.

The renowned military strategist, Maj. Gen. J.F.C Fuller, defined war’s true objective as achieving desired political results, not killing enemies.

But this is just what the US has been doing in Afghanistan. After ten years of war costing at least $450 billion, 1,600 dead and 15,000 seriously wounded soldiers, the US has achieved none of its strategic or political goals.

Each US soldier in Afghanistan costs $1 million per annum. CIA employs 80,000 mercenaries there, cost unknown. The US spends a staggering $20.2 billion alone annually air conditioning troop quarters in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The most damning assessment comes from the US-installed Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai: America’s war has been “ineffective, apart from causing civilian casualties.”

Washington’s goal was a favorable political settlement producing a pacified Afghan state run by a regime totally responsive to US political, economic and strategic interests; a native sepoy army led by white officers; and US bases that threaten Iran, watch China, and control the energy-rich Caspian Basin.

All the claims made about fighting “terrorism and al-Qaida,” liberating Afghan women and bringing democracy are pro-war window dressing. CIA chief Leon Panetta admitted there were no more than 25-50 al-Qaida members in Afghanistan. Why are there 150,000 US and NATO troops there?

Washington’s real objective was clearly defined in 2007 by US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher: to “stabilize Afghanistan so it can become a conduit and hub between South and Central Asia – so energy can flow south.”

The Turkmenistan-Afghan-Pakistan TAPI gas pipeline that the US has sought since 1998 is finally nearing completion. But whether it can operate in the face of sabotage remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Washington has been unable to create a stable government in Kabul. The primary reason: ethnic politics. Over half the population is Pashtun (or Pathan), from whose ranks come Taliban. Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara minorities fiercely oppose the Pashtun. All three collaborated with the Soviet occupation from 1979-1989; today they collaborate with the US and NATO occupation.

Most of the Afghan army and police, on which the US spends $6 billion annually, are Tajiks and Uzbek, many members of the old Afghan Communist Party. To Pashtun, they are bitter enemies. In Afghanistan, the US has built its political house on ethnic quicksands.

Worse, US-run Afghanistan now produces 93% of the world’s most dangerous narcotic, heroin. Under Taliban, drug production virtually ended, according to the UN. Today, the Afghan drug business is booming. The US tries to blame Taliban; but the real culprits are high government officials in Kabul and US-backed warlords.

A senior UN drug official recently asserted that Afghan heroin killed 10,000 people in NATO countries last year. And this does not include Russia, a primary destination for Afghan heroin.

So the United States is now the proud owner of the world’s leading narco-state and deeply involved with the Afghan Tajik drug mafia.

The US is bleeding billions in Afghanistan. Forty-four cents of every dollar spent by Washington is borrowed from China and Japan. While the US has wasted $1.283 trillion on the so-called “war on terror,” China has been busy buying up resources and making new friends and markets. The ghost of Osama bin Laden must be smiling.

The US can’t afford this endless war against the fierce Pashtun people, renowned for making Afghanistan “the Graveyard of Empires.” But the imperial establishment in Washington wants to hold on to strategic Afghanistan, particularly the ex-Soviet air bases at Bagram and Kandahar. The US is building its biggest embassy in the world in Kabul, an $800 million fortress with 1,000 personnel, protected by a small army of mercenary gunmen. So much for withdrawal plans. …

Read more » ericmargolis.com

Terror Networks Relocate to Pakistan

Tenth Anniversary of US Invasion of Afghanistan

Terror Networks Relocate to Pakistan

by Nafisa Hoodbhoy

As the US marks the tenth anniversary of its invasion of Afghanistan, pro Taliban terror networks – driven out of Kabul in October 2001 – have reinvented themselves inside Pakistan.

They are enabled by an inept foreign policy and absence of governance that allows the most brutal ideologues to consolidate themselves within failing states. ….

Read more » Aboard The Democracy Train