Being Hazara is a crime in Pakistan

Quetta is the capital city of Balochistan province in Pakistan. It is sitting on the west of Pakistan close to Afghan border. The population is around 2.8 million.  Pashtoon followed by Hazara, Baloch, Punjabi and other ethnic groups dominates the city. Hazara community is the only minority group in Pakistan who get killed en masse by extreme religious militants especially Leshkar-e-Janghvi.

For the past nearly seven months around 264 Hazaras have so far been brutally murdered and 388 injured in 21 attacks in Quetta City. And for the last 13 years over 1300 Hazaras have so far been viciously slaughtered and around 7000 injured in Quetta City. Yet not a single terrorist involved in the killings of Hazara Shia has been brought to justice.

The terrorists mainly Leshkar-e-Jangvi publically claim the responsibility of the killings of Hazaras on the local newspapers through telephone calls. These terrorists on the guise of a religious party “Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat” hold press conferences, arrange public gatherings and issue further threats to Hazaras on the local newspapers but they never get caught while Baloch “insurgents” on other hand easily get caught wherever they try to hide themselves in Balochistan.

On the floor of the parliament Pakistani Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar, said that “no city on the earth is guarded well like Quetta City” but when it comes to the killers of Hazaras the security system seems not working. The killers roam in the city with heavy explosives and guns with full impunity. They easily manage to go through the check posts guarded well by the Frontier Corps, military forces and police to kill the ghettoized Hazaras in their vicinities, happened a lot in recent past.

Leshkar-e-Jangvi militants literally rule in the province especially Quetta City. Past three governments remained utterly unsuccessful to get hold of the terrorists in the city. Police hesitate to go after the terrorists while the Frontier Corps simply are not interested. Hazaras get killed wherever the terrorists see them. No place on the earth in Quetta has left where the blood of Hazaras has not been spilled.  Shops, markets, parks, picnic spots, mosques, cars, taxis, hospitals, clinics, courts, pickups, vans, buses, tuition centres, schools, colleges, universities, snooker club, restaurants, cafes`, roads, streets even at homes and close to the security check posts — you just name it and you will find the blood of Hazaras.

Many Shias belonging to Punjabi, Sindhi, Mahajir, Bangash, Thori and Baloch ethnic groups are reported to have removed their last names, which was ending with Jaferi, Kazmi, Naqvi, Zaidi, Abbas, Ali, Hasan and Hussain to avoid getting killed. However when it comes to Hazaras, they can’t change their names as their distinctive look is enough to get killed being a Shia.

To be a Hazara seems enough crime in Pakistan especially Quetta city to get easily killed, harassed or ignored. Following the suicide attack on Sardar Bahadur Khan Women University on June 15, 2013, Hazara female students have been asked not to get on the university bus by the university administration. This seems now Hazaras are facing a double-barrel terrorism—one from the terrorists while the second is from the government officials to portray Hazara students as “security threat” for others.

Balochistan Information Technology University bus which used to come to Alamdar road for Hazara lecturers and students now doesn’t come any more because the bus was attacked on June 2012, which resulted in the several deaths of Hazara and non-Hazara students.

Around 500 Hazara boys and girls students were studying in Government Degree College, Government Polytechnic College, Government Science College and The University of Balochistan but now not a single Hazara lecturer and student go there due to serious threats to their lives.

Hazaras, themselves have now hired private security guards and have erected fences nearby schools, mosques and shopping centres to avoid further human loss in large scale in Hazara Town and Alamdar Road Quetta. Attendance in private tuition centres, sport clubs and other social evening classes have significantly dropped as parents don’t allow their children especially girls to attend them. Marriage halls, restaurants and small cafes’ business have nose-dived due to the possible bomb blasts.

Continuous killing and kidnapping incidents have now restricted the movement of Hazara professionals and businessmen in very small areas close to Alamdar Road and Hazara Town. The drivers avoid Hazaras to get them on their buses, taxis and auto-Rickshaws. Non-Hazaras feel insecure to socialize or travel with Hazaras.

Ahmed Ali, a local Hazara journalist has strictly been ordered not to be seen within the premises of the office as his being will cause serious threat to the lives of his colleagues while Khadija, a Hazara secondary school teacher has left the school because her headmistress didn’t like her to be at school as she was also posing constant security risk to the school. Non-Hazara school teachers are trying their best to get themselves transferred from Hazara Town and Alamdar Road areas—after receiving threatening leaflets by the militant groups.

For the past thirteen years, over 1300 Hazaras have so far been killed plus 7000 injured and most of them permanently disabled. Around 50,000 Hazaras have left Quetta on permanent basis. More than 300 Hazaras have drowned off shores of Australia. The brutal killings have deprived hundreds of Hazara women of their husbands, robbed children of their parents, taken parents from their children, thieved brothers from their sisters and stolen bright future from thousands of youths. But not a single terrorist involved in this inhuman crime has been brought to the book.

Today in Pakistan, it’s matter of great concern that Hazaras are under knife while the majority communities on other hand are trying their best to keep themselves away by considering the killings a matter of being a Hazara or Shia. It’s obvious to everyone that the killers don’t belong to any ethnic group or religion. If they are not stopped, they will not stay calm but to keep slaughtering other communities in the region to impose their nefarious designs. It’s now the responsibility of all the political parties and civil societies to stand up against the religious militants, otherwise Pakistan especially Balochistan will become the hub of the extreme religious militant proxies who will not only disturb the peace in the region but the globe in coming years.

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Muhammad Younas

The writer is an ESOL Teacher at Goodwin Community College in Hull. His blog can be found at and can be contacted at