Hostile elements target Hazara community


By Sajjad Shaukat

While conducting other kinds of subversive activities, foreign hostile elements have also intensified sectarian violence to destabilise Pakistan. In this regard, although target killings and bomb blasts have continued on sectarian basis in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi, yet situation of Balochistan province needs special attention where on January 10, this year more than 100 people, a majority of whom belonged to the Hazara community lost their lives in the twin bombings in Quetta. The incident was the dark day, as it was the worst ever sectarian attack on Shias of Hazara community.

The deadly terror-event resulted in severe reaction by the people of Shia community and non-Shia human leaders of political and religious parties, who strongly condemned the incident, expressing solidarity with the Hazara community. On the call of the Shia Ulema Council, members of the Shia community held a protest demonstration on January 12 in Islamabad and blocked the Faizabad Interchange. Several people including members of the Hazara community, representatives of non-governmental organisations and human rights activists participated in the demonstration, carrying banners, inscribed with anti-government slogans. In this respect, Shias held rallies all over the country, marking January 13 as a day of protest, while the Balochistan government announced three days of mourning.

In wake of strike in Balochistan, while shouting slogans against both the federal and Balochistan governments for not providing security to Hazaras, Shia families refused to bury their dead and vowed to continue their sit-in protest until the army takes over security of the city. Hundreds of women and children braved the severe cold for a number of days, as they stood alongside more than 60 coffins carrying victims shrouded bodies.

Taking cognisance of the magnitude of the sectarian attack and reaction of the Hazara community in Quetta blasts, leaders of political parties like Asfandyar Wali (ANP) Imran Khan (PTI) and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (PML-Q) urged Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to impose governors rule in Balochistan. Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif, head of the (PML-N) and many political figures including those of the ruling party (PPP) joined the chorus for the removal of Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani who failed in controlling the deteriorating law and order situation of the trouble-hit province. Notably, he went abroad to avoid criticism regarding the incident.

In that backdrop, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf who visited Quetta and talked to the protesters announced in principal to invoke Article 234 of the constitution and imposed governors rule in Balochistan, as demanded by the bereaved families.

Although the sit-in protest was ended by the people of Hazara community, yet sporadic sectarian violence on these Shias cannot bee seen in isolation as it includes multiple anti-Pakistan dimensions which need appropriate analysis.

It is notable that secret agencies like American CIA, Israeli Mossad and especially Indian RAW are behind sectarian violence in Pakistan, which has been accelerated in the past few years. In fact, the US had planned to spark a civil war between the Sunnis and Shias in wake of war on terror. So, we cannot blame these secret agencies without solid evidence.

For the purpose, a study of the Rand Corporation, titled US Strategy in the Muslim World After 9/11 was conducted on behalf of the then US Deputy Chief of Staff for Air Force. The report of the Rand Corporation-a leading think tank, released on December 27, 2004 advocated that Sunni-Shia sectarian division should be exploited to promote the US objectives in the Muslim World. It indicated that a majority of the worlds Muslims are Sunni, but a significant minority, about 15 percent of the global population is Shias.

The report of the Rand Corporation was first implemented in Iraq. In this context, CIA also got the services Mossad and RAW to fuel sectarian violence in Iraq. In 2004, major terror-attacks were carried out against the Shias in Karbala and Baghdad, while US-led some countries accused Iran and Al-Qaeda for the incidents to divert the attention from the said secret agencies. Afterwards, a chain of Shia-Sunni clashes started between Iraqi Shias and Sunnis, targeting each others mosques through bomb blasts, suicide attacks, and killings of their religious leaders. The general masses of both the sects, which could not grasp the reality, began to blame each others group for the subversive activities.

After Iraqs experiment, more deadly pattern of sectarian strife and clashes have been conducted in Pakistan. While in Balochistan, besides other acts of sabotage, sectarian assaults on Shias, particularly on those of Hazaras have continued in order to fuel sectarian riots in the province. In this context, on September 3, 2010, a deadly suicide attack in Quetta killed more than 55 people who participated in the rally of the Al-Quds Day. In another violent attack, on July 30, 2011, 12 persons were shot dead in Quetta when unidentified armed men opened fire at Suzuki van. During the months of June and July, in four separate incidents, around 40 Shia Muslims were gunned down in Quetta. On many occasions, the enraged people went on a rampage and set tyres. However, in September, 26, 2011, Shia pilgrims were killed in Mastung when a group of armed men attacked a passenger bus carrying Shia pilgrims from Quetta to Iran.

Five persons were gunned down on March 28, 2012 when a van carrying people of the Hazara community of Shias was ambushed on Spini Road in Quetta. Recently more people of Hazara community have been targeted by the militants, while attacks on the Hazara-Shias keep on going unabated.

In fact, some banned religious outfits like Lashkar-i-Janghvi and a Sunni militant group Jundollah (Gods soldiers) which have claimed responsibility for a number of terror assaults on Shias, especially of Hazara community in Balochistan get arms and ammunition from RAW and CIA. These foreign-backed militants groups are behind target killing of many Sunni and Shia leaders, political figures of these sects, bomb blasts etc. in order to achieve the covert designs of the US, India and Israel.

These external-supported affiliated insurgent groups kidnapped and killed Iranian nationals in Pakistan including Iranian diplomats. Jundollah conducted many subversive acts in Pakistans Balochistan and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan. In this regard, Tehran has directly accused CIA of funding these types of terror attacks.

While hinting towards US, Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei rightly disclosed, The bloody actions being committed in Iraq, Pakistan and Iran are aimed at creating a division between the Shias and Sunnisthose who carry out these terrorist actions are directly or indirectly foreign agents.

Reliable sources suggest that Lashkar-i-Janghvi, Jundollah, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other similar fundamentalist organisations have close connections with each other, while RAW has hired the services of the Indian Muslims who have penetrated in these extremist outfits which are not only behind sectarian violence in other parts of the country, but are also targeting the people of Hazara community in Balochistan.

It is mentionable that killings of Shias of Hazara community is part of the strategic game of US, India and Israel to create unrest in Balochistan which has ideal geo-political locationand especially due to its Gwadar Seaport which will link Central Asia with rest of the world. China has invested billions of dollars to develop this port. Moreover, Pakistan is a declared atomic country, while Iran is determined to continue its peaceful nuclear programme. Therefore, US-led India and Israel have been sabotaging Pak-Iranian ties clandestinely. Their secret agencies have been assisting Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and other separatist elements to dismember Pakistan.

So, all these hostile elements which are responsible for other perennial subversive activities in Balochistan like terror attacks on the security forces, target killings of Punjabis, Pushtuns, Iranian Shias, patriot Balochis and people of Hazara community are also behind the twin bombings on the Hazara-Shias in Quetta.

Now the right hour has come that instead of manipulating various issues, Pakistans politicians and media including all the segments of society must show selfless unity with the security forces and law-enforcing agencies so as to improve the aggravated situation of Balochistan.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.

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