Stories about sectarian viol;ence

They killed my cousin. They killed a 9-year-old’s father.

If I were to believe any of the ‘feel-good, badly-designed’ inspirational quotes that go around cyberspace, I would tell myself that the best things somehow always are. Feel good, badly designed, that is. Why do I say this? Can you imagine seeing someone with their brains splattered across the hospital bed? You probably have not, but I have. Trust me, at that point, you don’t know what to think. You don’t think that it will be okay eventually. You don’t know whether to wail in grief or throw up. That someone happened to be my cousin’s husband. He was only 32-years-old and was the father of two young daughters. Well, at ...

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Pakistan bleeds with Hazara blood, do you even care?

“My heart cries tears of blood for the Hazaras… #ShiaGenocide, when will we wake up?… What has Pakistan come to?! Oh God!!… This country does not deserve to be called “PAK-istan”…” These statements are clichés. They mean nothing. They have no purpose. They’re just uttered to make ourselves feel good about atrocities which we mostly can’t, and usually won’t do anything about. At least 46 people died yesterday. How many of us cared? 18 people died in Peshawar yesterday. How many of us bothered to find out three kids died in that attack? How many of us had the apathy to find out that the doctors ...

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Can Pakistan learn from Belgium?

Is Pakistan the only country in the world that is facing sectarian violence in today’s world? Can we expect Pakistan to overcome it in the coming years? With a huge population, widespread poverty and various non-state actors, it may take Pakistan many years to fight this menace but it is not impossible to take this challenge head-on. We have the example of Belgium before us, which resolved this problem successfully. Belgium – a small but ethnically diverse country in the heart of Europe consisting of French, German and Dutch-speaking population – took over four centuries to learn the lesson of peaceful ...

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Balochistan’s electoral politics

The decision of Baloch nationalist parties, including the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), the National Party (NP) and the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) to take part in the upcoming elections is a good omen not only for Pakistan but also for Balochistan, which is fraught with every kind of danger — enforced disappearances, kidnappings and sectarian killings. Baloch separatists and government forces point fingers at each other for all this mayhem. At this juncture of uncertainty and scepticism, where Baloch nationalist parties are treading cautiously, fearing the backlash they might face from separatist elements for their decision to go to the ...

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With every Hazara you kill, you are killing a piece of me too

It’s easy to be disheartened by the general state of affairs in Pakistan at present. We seem to have lost the capacity to choose dialogue over violence, to stand for what is right over joining the latest political circus (Tahirul Qadri et al), and to be a nation, if ever we were one. And now we’ve taken to something not-so-new, driving out all elements that are deemed non-Pakistani, or non-Muslim perhaps — there is little distinction between those terms of late. The latest 80 plus Hazaras massacred, depicts what is swiftly becoming nothing short of genocide. To what end, I ask? What ...

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An open letter to Ban Ki Moon

Mr Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General, The United Nations. January 16, 2013.   Your Excellency, I am not Hazara – my gene pool is not affiliated with the descendants of the great Mongol Genghis Khan, who now inhabit Quetta. But I am writing this to inform you of a pressing issue that has shaken the international community as protests erupt worldwide regarding Jan 10, 2013 bomb blasts on Alamdar Road. Since the past decade, over 1100 Hazaras have fallen prey to attacks of ethnic cleansing carried out by radical militants claiming to eradicate all those who do not adhere to their brand of Islam. In September 2011, ...

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From the mouth of a Hazara

On January 10, 2013 more than 100 people, a majority of them Hazara Shias, were killed in bomb blasts in Quetta. The killing prompted a four-day long sit-in by the families of the victims.  I just wish that I could have sat with the mourning families at Alamdar Road to protest against the ongoing killing of Shia Hazaras. I talked to a few people in Quetta, and a classmate of mine narrated to me the stories of mourning and scenes at Alamdar Road through emails. My classmate’s young married cousin perished in the bomb blast at Bacha Khan Road. Here I will try to accurately narrate the story of grief I was told of that young ...

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A beacon of hope in Gilgit

As sectarian violence plagues Gilgit, a group of dedicated natives is striving hard to revive harmony between people in the area. A beacon of hope for all of us, these individuals are striving to bridge the yawning divide between the Shias and Sunnis of Hazara which has claimed hundreds of lives over the years. They belong to both the sects, and are united as the ‘Qaumi Amn Tehreek’. Most of them are natives whose forefathers hail from Gilgit’s Khomer Jutial, Majini Muhalla, Kashrote and Nagral areas. Gilgit, the capital town of Gilgit-Baltistan, has witnessed rapid urbanisation over the years as ...

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Congratulations on your inhumanity

Congrats on this morose day to you, Where the sky is a shade of gloomy blue, And birds rarely sing perchance, they attract glee, While everyone roams around in utter frenzy.   Congrats to you and your sterile emotions, To your faithless love and your empty notions, To your lifeless joy and your proud modesty, To your useful religion and your puritan negativity.   Congrats on having a mind cunning in all might, Congrats on having a heart colder than ice, Congrats on ruining houses, destroying love, And posing it to be a commandment sent from above.   Congrats in losing the little warmth left in you, In being cleansed of all human feelings too, On ...

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Pakistani media: Making a terrorist out of an innocent man

On November 18, in the name of soi-disant sectarian fights an Imambargah in Karachi was attacked. The incident undoubtedly deserved media attention and so it received this with live coverage by various news channels. What struck me, however, was the way one of these channels treated the incident. While most news channels reported that the motorbike on which the bomb was planted had an illegal number plate, one of these channels decided to be over-efficient with some “exclusive” bits of information – the name and location of the man who owned that number’s legal plate. Despite repeated mentions that his motorbike was ...

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