Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, June 24th, 2018

“Silence on a Crime is a Crime in Itself”

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“Silence on a Crime is  a Crime in Itself”

The Quetta city of Pakistan has turned into a river of blood as the genocide of a particular community – the Hazaras – continues. The terrorism practiced on Hazaras there, began as early as 1997 and has taken lives of more than 600 innocent people so far. For a clear understanding on how the genocide of Hazaras is taking place in Baluchistan, here is a quick review of the two shocking incidents that occurred recently: On September 20, 2011, a bus carrying passengers from Quetta to Taftan was intercepted by terrorists in Mastung area of Baluchistan.

The terrorists singled out all Hazaras and shot them dead cold-bloodedly. In the same manner, on October 4, 2011, a local bus carrying passengers to Hazar Ganji vegetable market in Quetta was stopped by terrorists in the outskirts of the city.

Non-Hazaras were ordered to get off of the bus while the Hazaras - easily identifiable among Pashtuns and Baluchs due to their facial features – were lined up and brutality killed. In the incident 12 Hazaras died while 6 other people were injured.

Quetta resembles a hell for the Hazaras. Undoubtedly, the terrorist groups – whatsoever title they bear – are responsible for the ongoing situation but fingers should also be pointed at the government of Pakistan as it has terribly failed to secure the lives of ethnic and religious minorities in Pakistan, especially the Hazaras. The United Nations is also mum on the issue.

Hazaras are spread far and wide in the world. They are great supporters of peace and democracy. There is not even single evidence that could illustrate Hazaras involvement in insurgency of any kind anywhere in the whole world. Seeing the time-and-again killings in Quetta, it has, now, become extremely difficult for the Hazaras to remain voiceless. Therefore, they have conducted number of demonstration to condemn the incidents in Quetta and urge the responsible organizations and Pakistani government to take solid measures for stopping the killings.

Beginning on October 1st, 2011, there have been world-wide protests by the Hazaras to gain attention of the Human Rights Organizations, Governments and the UN. Voices have been raised in Australia, United Kingdom, Norway, Italy, Denmark, United States, Indonesia and Pakistan.

These protests have been all staged by people themselves without support of any kind from any specific political party.
Afghanistan has the largest population of Hazaras. More than 20 percent of its estimated 35-million population is formed by Hazaras. Like Hazaras elsewhere, they are also extremely concerned over what goes on in Quetta. In their turn, Hazara university students and the human rights and civil society activists in Afghanistan staged protest and conducted a conference on Hazara genocide in Quetta of Pakistan.

On October 7, 2011, hundreds of people participated in the demonstration aimed at breaking the silence of world over the ethnic cleansing of Hazaras in Quetta. The demonstrators marched chanting slogans against terrorism and urging the Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General, to wake up! And take notice of the massacre of Hazaras. To them, keeping silence on a crime is a crime in itself.

The protest remained totally peaceful and in a great harmony and ended with the submission of copies of a letter bearing wants of the participants to offices of the UN, Foreign Diplomatic Missions in Afghanistan and the parliament and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan.

A portion of the letter said, "We, the demonstrators, call upon the international community, human rights organizations, Pakistan government and all peace-loving people around the world to pay serious attention to the ethnic cleansing of Hazaras taking place in a very systematic manner in Quetta of Pakistan."

The demonstration was immediately followed up by a conference organized by the Afghanistan Association of Students. The conference was held on 9th October, 2011, was attended by university students, members of Afghan parliament and people from all walks of life. The objective of the conference was to draw the attention of the world towards the sufferings of the Hazaras in Quetta and make the families of the victims feel that they are not alone in this time of grief.

Addressing the participants, Muhammad Mohaqiq, MP and leader of Afghanistan People's Unity – an influential political party in Afghanistan – said, "The Hazaras in Quetta are targeted just because they are Hazara and Shia.

The government of Pakistan should take substantial measures to immediately stop the killing of Hazaras or it will further lose its credibility in the eyes of the world." Showing solidarity and sympathy to the Hazaras in Quetta, he said, "The Hazaras in Quetta are not alone. The Hazaras in Afghanistan are with them in this difficult time."

Another female MP, Shah Gul Rezayee urged on Hazaras to stand united against the violators of the human rights. She said that violation of the human rights was an international crime and therefore, the killings of Hazaras were also an international issue. Ms. Rezayee urged the international community to intervene in the matter and pressurize the government of Pakistan to safeguard the life of Hazara in Quetta.

All and all, keeping silence on a crime is a crime in itself. Grave violation of human rights is taking place in Quetta city of Pakistan. Very unfortunately, the UN and Pakistani government have kept constant silence on the issue and pretend to be deaf in response to the voices of millions of Hazara people around the world.

The brutal incidents in Quetta, now taking place after very short interval, may lead to a bigger conflict in Baluchistan, if the government of Pakistan continues to exhibit lack of interest and willingness for curbing the situation from getting further deteriorated there.

Sher Ali Yecha is the permanent writer of Daily Outlook Afghanistan and Writes on National and International issues. He can be reached through mail@outlookafghanistan.com

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