How MSP Came to Be
The seeds for what was to become MSP/The Movement for Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan were sown in September 2011 by members of the beleaguered Shia Hazara community of Quetta, Balochistan. After 10 years of steadily escalating terrorist violence against their community, the Shia Hazara had finally reached their tipping point and were forced to confront the fact that the Government of Balochistan was simply unable or unwilling to intervene on their behalf. With this realization in mind, senior leaders of the community began reaching out to Pakistani and international human rights organizations, asking them to immediately convene a fact-finding mission to Quetta to document the violence and injustice before it was too late. Their request was urgent, as the scale of the violence was reaching near genocidal proportions.
This initial outreach eventually lead to the convening in November of 2011 of a weeklong research mission and subsequent investigative report entitled “The Shia Hazara of Pakistan; A Community Under Siege.” The report was first published in February of 2012, largely through volunteer efforts, and housed on MSP’s first web platform, www.minoritysupportpakistan.org. The team behind the report was comprised of concerned citizens from all walks of life in Pakistan, as well as various international stakeholders with deep concern for the injustice and violence taking place there.
Following the publication of the Hazara report, the MSP core group of supporters quickly realized that documentation alone would not be enough. If the goal was to have genuine impact on Pakistani society (resulting in decreased levels of violence and improved mechanisms for justice) then comprehenive and sustained campaigns - including both targeted advocacy and large scale popular education - would also be needed.
The core group decided to commit substantial amounts of their own time and money to making these campaigns a reality. The first step would be to begin incorporating a 501c3 nonprofit in the United States, the purpose being to raise additional money from amongst the diaspora community and use these resources to coordinate and conduct human rights activities which are currently not taking place inside Pakistan. The core group of eight board members met in person for the first time in early September of 2012 and undertook a strategic planning and fundraising process that is now well underway.
MSP is currently in process of preparing its second major investigative report, dealing with systematic discrimination and violence against the Pakistani Christian Community of central Punjab. The field research for this report was compiled by Pakistani legal experts during the summer of 2012 and included numerous interviews with local CSOs, national policymakers and diverse stakeholders from amongst the Pakistani judiciary. The final report is set to be published in late October 2012 and promises to offer groundbreaking conclusions which will disrupt business as usual and end the state of apathy with regards to minority rights in Pakistan.
Other major milestones to date include:
MSP was officially registered as a nonprofit corporation in the State of New York on August 21, 2012. The organization has recently submitted its application for IRS tax exemption and expects to receive its letter of recognition by July of 2013.
Formal fundraising events are now being organized and will be held in Indiana and California over the next three months.
Construction of the MSP website - a comprehensive platform for online organizing, mass communications, and data archiving - is ongoing. When complete, the combined web/mobile/SMS platform will serve as the hub of all MSP activities, including publication of reports, popular education programs, and targeted advocacy campaigns.
In addition to building a social media presence, MSP aims to launch within the next three to six months a large scale traditional media campaign consisting of television commercials and full page newspaper advertisements. The aim of the traditional media campaign is to materially impact the outcome of upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in favor of civic pluralism and the establishment of human rights based rule of law in Pakistan.