Stories about Shia killing

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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Abbas Town blasts: Will we wipe our tears, keep silent and carry on?

It’s 1:20am on March 4, 2013. As I write this, at least 40 or so families are feeling a searing, soul-wrenching pain, which most of us can’t even imagine and some of us can perhaps relate to. I am trying to imagine what they are going through. I don’t want to live it, but I want to somehow feel something other than anger. When they have a moment of stillness, family members are probably painstakingly recreating and reliving the last moments of their loved ones. When you lose someone you love, you think of how their last few minutes were. Was it ...

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Why won’t you give Hazaras asylum, Australia?

On February 16, 2013, when a 1000kg explosive laden water tanker exploded in the midst of a crowded market in Hazara Town, Quetta, it not only destroyed lives and property but it also destroyed Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s vision of a tolerant Pakistan. In the mulch of torn pieces of women, children, tradesmen, charred vehicles and rubble, lay dead the ideology of Pakistan. Let it be plainly said that Pakistan is not safe for Hazaras anymore as the state has clearly failed to provide security to this community, let there be no argument on this. So what to do? Where to go? Resist and be ...

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Police powers to FC in Balochistan: A futile measure

In Balochistan, the police are currently enjoying additional powers under the Police Act of the British colonial days to raid, arrest, detain and prosecute anyone found violating the laws of the land. The police enjoy the power to search any suspected place where criminals are hiding illegal weapons, narcotics and other contraband goods. When violent incidents increased in the province, mainly through the targeted killing of Hazara Shias by terrorists in Quetta and its outskirts, the provincial government gave police powers to the Frontier Corps (FC) to raid, arrest, detain and question suspects involved in targeted killings and other heinous ...

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With tears of blood and bodies cold

With tears of blood and bodies cold, We watched you watch the night unfold, With breaths entangled in a mesh, Sat beneath your brother’s flesh. We saw it under the murderous skies, We watched you as you watched them die, We saw your tears, we heard your cries, Pleading, screaming, asking ‘Why?’, Paving the way to distorted salvation, Blind to justice, deaf to persuasion, Rummaging through from nation to nation, Is this the fate of God’s fine creation? We heard you as your mothers’ wept, As bodies of their children slept, In boxes hard, in boxes cold, Listening to the tale unfold. A story of eighty seven lives, Dreams of who did not ...

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The bomb blast that shattered my life

“Bhai jaan, there’s been a blast here!” These were the words uttered by my injured little brother as he managed to call me for a brief moment, before the line dropped. What followed were perhaps some of the darkest moments in my life, characterised by feelings of intense hurt, hatred, helplessness and a river of tears, so overwhelming that it took me more than three years to muster the strength and courage to put those memories down on paper. For the past 40 years my family (a mixture of Shias and Sunnis – if you must use those titles) has been gathering on the ...

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From Tahrir Square to MA Jinnah Road

Friday Dec 14, 2012; on a night unusually cold for Karachi’s standards, more than 50 thousand people decided to join a sit-in protest against the ongoing Shia genocide in Pakistan. I was one of them. After being stuck in several traffic jams I eventually reached MA Jinnah road (named after the country’s founding father whose own personal religious affiliation is ironically debated time after time). The crowd grew from a few hundred to thousands in a matter of hours. Later that night, the cosmopolitan experienced an unannounced strike but that didn’t stop the protesters from growing in numbers. What ...

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Will the fear ever end, or will I have to pick up a gun too?

The last six months have seen over 50 Shias killed in three bus attacks, while the overall numbers are much higher if incidents of targeted attacks on Shias in war-torn Parachinar and the rest of FATA, Balochistan, and Gilgit-Baltistan are included. For the Shia community in Islamabad, a sizeable share of which is from G-B, dinner table conversation over the Eid weekend focused directly on a worrying ‘what-if’ scenario, namely, the possibility of a militant Shia response to the violence and the fallout from such violence. This is not a recent change. Three years back, an attack on an imambargah ...

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G-B massacre: The government is all talk, no action

It was perhaps the first time that an international forum as prestigious as the United Nations took strong exception to sectarian violence, referring to the massacre of passengers belonging to the Shia community at Babusar Top, two days prior to Eidul Fitr. This was not the first incident where passengers were disembarked from a bus, identified and killed on the basis of their religious sect. Such brutal assassinations of innocent commuters in broad daylight, in some cases in front of their families, have occurred on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) and other routes in the country. Secretary General of the United ...

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