Sectarian killing in Pakistan has now reached unprecedented levels. Violence and intimidation against Shiites and other religious minorities is increasingly commonplace, with mass-murders and target killings occurring on a near daily basis in all regions of the country. This state of growing lawlessness and criminal impunity threatens to destroy not only the minority communities themselves, but the very fabric of our nation as a whole.
It is under these increasingly desperate conditions that the Shia Hazara community of Quetta, Balochistan decided to convene a small group of international observers and legal experts to conduct a fact-finding mission to Quetta in late November of 2011. The purpose of the mission was to gather primary source documentation and evidence of the incidents and patterns of religiously justified violence, mass-murder, criminality, institutional negligence and ineptitude occurring in Quetta City and throughout the province of Balochistan. The result of that mission is the attached 76-page investigative report entitled, “The Shia Hazara of Pakistan; a Community Under Siege.”
The report combines a number of diverse elements including: extensive background information on the Hazara people and province of Balochistan; detailed accounts and a summary record of the now 20-year history of sectarian violence in Quetta; extensive anecdotal evidence from survivors of recent attacks; photographic documentation; legal petitions and proceedings from the Balochistan High Court; narrative analysis from senior members of the community; and a synthesis of news media and community accounts highlighting the negligence and ineptitude of local, provincial, and national law enforcement agencies. The conclusion of the report provides a series of actionable recommendations to be undertaken by various agencies and stakeholders in law enforcement, judiciary, legislature, the media, and Pakistani civil society at large.
Stand up for the Shia Hazara of Quetta! We demand the following:
Law Enforcement AccountabilityPolice must conduct proper investigations; gather evidence, identify suspects, and make arrests. The Judiciary must prosecute suspects in a court of law, punish those convicted, and otherwise provide justice for victims and their families. If Balochistan’s law enforcement agencies and judiciary are unable or unwilling to carry out these basic duties, then the federal government of Pakistan must intervene immediately to provide law enforcement, security, and constitutional due process to victims and their families.
Religious Freedom and SecurityAll religious minorities of Pakistan must be afforded the freedom to practice their religion publicly and without fear of reprisal, violence, or intimidation. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Part II., Chapter One, Sections 19 & 20) enshrines these rights for all citizens; therefore the Federal Government must ensure these rights are upheld for all citizens at all times, regardless of disparities between the provinces or intraregional conflicts.
Education and Community SolidarityIn the absence of adequate law enforcement, protecting ourselves against sectarian criminals and terrorists is the personal responsibility of each and every citizen of Pakistan. Minority communities in particular must exercise extreme vigilance and awareness of their surroundings for any potential threats from those who wield the gun. Non-minority communities and supporters should do the same and join in the effort to flush out these sectarian criminals wherever they may hide. This effort begins and ends with local education, dialogue, and advocacy. Talk to your neighbors and get the conversation started today!