Is protest the only way to get the abducted Hazaras released?

by Amjad Hussain (Journalist)

Australia – April 3, 2015 |



Courtesy: Tolo News / Family of one of the kidnapped Hazaras

Australian Hazara Federation, a so-called representative organization of Hazaras in Australia, has announced a country-wide protest next Saturday, the 11th April 2015, against the non-recovery of 30 Hazara men who were abducted on February 24 by unknown masked men on the way from Kandahar to Kabul while returning to their homes from Iran.

The federation as according to its website was founded on October 31, 2010 in Melbourne and comprises 18 registered groups of Hazaras working in major cities of Australia. Australia is claimed to have the fourth largest population of Hazaras in the world after Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. However, there is no solid data available to substantiate this claim.

The decision made by the federation to protest the non-recovery of the abducted Hazaras in Afghanistan seems to have been taken instantly without any proper deliberation as it lacks maturity and exposes the fact that the federation is completely devoid of thoughtfulness and prudence. It also proves that the federation is bereft of any political wisdom and diplomatic insight which is a core requisite for smooth running of any kind of organization. The federation can defend this defect by claiming itself to be a non-political group and purely a social and cultural entity, but this justification will further spoil its image and automatically divest it of its claim to be an organization formed to protect the interest of Hazaras in Australia for they are deprived of any political and diplomatic vision.

The federation is going to make a fool of itself by the decision to hold the protest as it will not bring about any positive result to ensure the safe and early recovery of the abducted Hazaras. Protests are usually organized as the final resort once all other alternative options are exhausted to achieve one’s demands, but here in this case the federation being devoid of wit and sagacity is wielding it as the very first option and that too against a government which Hazaras are a part of. The entire world knows that Hazaras possess not only the post of the second chief executive officer of Afghanistan (The third highest rank after president Ashraf Ghani and Dr Abdullah Abdullah) but also have 58 members in Afghan Wolesi Jirga (Lower House) out of total 249. Now, with this fact, does it make a sense to protest against a government that has a considerable representation of Hazaras? Why not to use the diplomatic channel, personal and tribal contacts and other alternatives to influence and push the Hazara representatives in Afghan government to take effective measures to ensure the recovery of the abductees and resolving other issues of Hazaras in Afghanistan? Why to be adamant to make yourself a laughing stock in Australia and all other parts of the world by making foolish decisions like that of holding protests with no results at all but only personal projection?

Turning to protest imply that the federation leaders have failed to persuade their own community people at the helm of power in Afghanistan to take steps to secure Hazaras’ interest. If the federation is not even capable of convincing their own people with the same language and cultural and racial background in their own country of origin how come they claim to influence a government (Australia) with a totally different language and cultural and social norms to protect Hazara’s interests in Australia? Doesn’t it mean that the federation has failed to live up to the expectations of Hazaras in Australia? Doesn’t it underscore the need for another better umbrella organization in Australia which could represent Hazaras properly and effectively in every sphere of life?

The only benefit which the federation seems to reap out of this protest is the (unsuccessful) attempt to improve its image among Hazaras especially of Afghan origin by showing itself to be truly concerned about them and their problems while the actual fact is the other way round. The true concern of the federation can be gauged well by the fact that it has chosen a date even for the protest which falls on Saturday, a day which is routinely off in western countries and which most of the people prefer to spend being engaged in their own private and personal affairs instead of their routine duties. The reason behind fixing this date is quite obvious that the federation’s decision makers have higher priority for their daily earnings than their concern for the abductees and Afghan Hazaras. This event like many of the previous ones organized by the federation will also prove a mere photo session just to produce it as a record for future references. The current situation which Hazaras are undergoing in Australia and other parts of the world calls for real practical steps and sincere efforts than mere holding a protest for photo sessions.

Australian Hazara federation needs to revoke its protest call and pay heed to other ways instead to influence the Afghan government particularly the Hazara MPs and chief executive to ensure early and safe recovery of the kidnapped Hazara men. The alternative options may include formation of a delegation to meet the Afghan ambassador in Canberra to express their concern and inquire about the steps so far taken by the Afghan government for the abductees’ recovery. It can also extend their suggestions to the Afghan government via its embassy after getting note of the hurdles in abductees’ recovery. The federation can also form another delegation to fly to Kabul to meet Mohammad Mohaqiq, Hazara MPs and Kabul government officials to offer their cooperation to work out a solution to the issue. It can also raise the issue with the Australian government and request them to take it up with the Afghan government on diplomatic level. It can also write to the United Nations to pressurize the Afghan government if these options do not work. And last but not the least, the federation must take steps to advance some financial assistance to the families of the abductees who might be in dire need of help at this critical juncture of their life.

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