Stories about Shia killing

Do Shias have a future in Pakistan?

How this could be possible? I shook my head in disbelief. “Ibn-e-Raza has been shot dead!” the voice reiterated itself. How someone can be so cruel, so vicious? In state of disbelief I stood up, changed my clothes and sat in my car. My mother, sitting next to me, was continuously crying. “He was such a nice boy, he was…” She was crying so hard that words seemed to have disappeared from her mouth. I rolled my window down and took a deep breath as a slight wave of wind touched my hair. My mind was gripped with an ocean of thoughts and memories. I remembered when he last ...

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A numbness to murder

The murder on a mundane Monday morning was as meaningless as the murder on a tedious Tuesday morning. The details, however, differ in terms of bullet count. Dr Mehdi Ali Qamar, an Ahmadi cardiologist based in the United States was visiting Pakistan to carry out voluntary work at a local hospital. On Monday morning, May 26, 2014, he was shot 11 times while he was visiting a cemetery in the town of Chenab Nagar. On the other hand, Professor Shabbir Hussain Shah was a student service director at the University of Gujrat and a Shia by sect. On Tuesday morning, November 19, 2013, the bullets ...

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A letter to the prime minister: My neighbour was killed, Sir, will I be killed too?

Dear Mr Prime Minister, My neighbour was shot yesterday. I heard cries erupt all over the house, when the news of his death was conveyed to his loved ones. He was a simple man, taking care of a family of four. One wonders why anyone would want to kill someone so harmless. People say he was shot because of his sect. But, I guess that is not so important to you. Why would my neighbour or I be important? Millions of harmless men, such as these, die each day and it breaks my heart to see this harmless man’s family in pain. But that is not ...

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I am a Sunni and I married a Shia

It would be safe to say that I never really believed in love, despite having read a million romance novels, watching the necessary romantic comedies and having the requisite number of crushes during my teen years. I guess you could blame my convent education, my formative years being in the influence of feminists. I prescribed to the theory, ‘A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle’. I was a love-cynic at best and mighty proud of it. I could never understand how some girls could fawn over the opposite sex, fall helplessly head-over-heels and tie the knot at times to ...

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How is Pakistan doing, you ask? Why don’t you ask the victims of Abbas Town?

“Oh you’re from Pakistan? How is your country doing?”  Asked a classmate here at the London School of Economics (LSE) two weeks ago.  The question took me back to a different time… somewhere in the past, someday not too long ago, when I had gone with a few friends to visit a locality in Karachi called Abbas Town. “This wall will fall unto this wall, this pillar on this pillar and then, we’ll all die…” Said a little boy sitting on a plastic chair in a hall with paints on his hands. That was a normal conversation and imagination for him. He had lost ...

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Lessons from Abbas Town: Stick together, whether you are Shia or Sunni

In a town where Shias and Sunnis had lived together peacefully for years, worshipped just down the street from one another, played cricket and often sat together in the evenings to chat, a sign survived amongst the rubble which read in Urdu, “A Muslim is a brother to another Muslim.” It symbolised the brotherhood of the town’s Shias and Sunnis. It was such a town in Karachi, home to outspoken women and communal harmony that was struck by terror one year ago today. “It looks like Israel bombarded Palestine,” exclaimed one man from Abbas Town as residents had approached Hamid Mir with one heart-wrenching account ...

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Lest we forget: Remembering the victims of the 2013 Hazara massacre

When Aslam Raisani, the then chief minister of Balochistan, was asked about the Mastung massacre in September 2011, he replied, “The population of Balochistan is in millions, 40 dead in Mastung is no big deal.” When asked about what he would do for the grieving families of the victims, he replied, “I can send a truckload of tissue papers for them to wipe away their tears.” Horrific as this may sound, the Mastung massacre was not the bloodiest day in the long history of Shia killings in the Hazara community. That ‘honour’ goes to the massacre on January 10, 2013 in Quetta where over 100 people were killed ...

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Rawalpindi violence: Where is our humanity?

It has become a recurring story now. The same news stories reappear on our television screens every Muharram, be it the Ashura procession in Karachi a few years ago, to the one in Rawalpindi this year. Every year when Muharram comes about, there is a little voice inside all of us which warns us to expect that religious fundamentalists, in some parts of Pakistan, will try their utter best to ruin a peaceful Ashura procession. And sadly, this voice usually turns out to be correct. I have been fortunate enough to spend some part of my life in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. To me, these joint ...

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Gilgit Baltistan: You have taken away our livelihood

Yesterday was a sad day for Pakistan. 10 foreigners, who were in Nanga Parbat to witness first hand the country’s beauty, were murdered in cold blood, allegedly to avenge a death caused by drone strikes. How these innocent travelers are related to drone strikes is beyond me.  You know what is even sadder? Reportedly, local tour guides have started to receive emails from tourists who were to visit the area in July and August. They do not wish to visit Pakistan anymore; they have requested for the cancellation of their reservations. If you thought this lone incident would bear no affect on the country, think ...

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Where are you, Mister Prime Minister, when your people need you?

Headlines, juxtaposed, stare back at me in the morning paper. I am reading it, still shaken by the events of the Abbas Town Blasts. The sky on this Tuesday morning is tinted a strange reddish strain. Maybe it’s just in the minds of traumatised Karachiites who cannot get over the blood spilled in Abbas Town – blood that has still not dried. Fumes of that blood are now being breathed in also by residents of the hitherto protected upscale neighbourhoods of Karachi who live in fear of their daughters and wives being kidnapped. We are talking about the blood of ...

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