By: Kalsoom Fatima
What kind of reaction do you expect from a community which has been targeted for many years, without knowing what exactly their fault was? From a person who has been witnessing since his childhood to gunfire and explosions?
Balochistan is the largest province in Pakistan and also known as the land of abundant resources, but the disappointing fact that the province is deprived of even basic facilities like health, education and even right to live in peace. Considering that the state has failed to provide even these basic facilities, how could we even think about ensuring the freedom of speech?
This is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. A state which was supposedly made in the name of Islam and individual freedom. We were promised a place where we could be free, free from any kind of religious restrictions. We wanted separation from the religious persecution because Muslims were being sidelined, and then after a long and hard political struggle, we got Pakistan.
Mohammad Ali Jinnah promised this nation that all the citizens of his country would enjoy equal rights irrespective of religion, caste and creed. In the Pakistan movement many Non-Muslins like Mr Pothan Joseph, who made valuable contributions to the cause, took part in the movement and supported Jinnah. Unfortunately, Jinnah’s promises were not been kept by his successors.
Jinnah had a clear vision about minorities; that they should never be treated as Muslims were treated in the sub-continent. However, the place in which we thought we could live freely, became a slaughterhouse for many people. We were supposed to give protection and equal rights to the minorities, but unfortunately in Pakistan, we have failed to give protection to even our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. My heart is wrenched, to see that in today’s Pakistan, people are being slaughtered in the name of religion.
So here I am, talking about the Hazara community of Pakistan which has been targeted for decades. What exactly is the fault of Hazaras? The Hazara community is renowned for their high literacy rate, artistic abilities and for being peaceful and loving people. Most Hazaras, whether they belong to Pakistan, Afghanistan or Iran, belongs to the Shia sect of Islam. Hazaras of Pakistan are on the hit list of people who don’t want to see Pakistan a peaceful place. But the question arises, how do terrorists have access to our land? Who is funding them? Where do they come from? And are the steps we are taking enough to get rid of such culprits?
This time these ‘Na Maloom Afraad’ have broken all previous records of violating humanity. No religion promotes any kind of brutality. Islam is a religion of peace and harmony. In Islam, there is even a proper code of conduct to slaughter an animal. However, those that wrongly claim to represent Islam firstly kidnapped and then brutally slaughtered more than a dozen innocent people. The families of the victims staged a sit-in in Quetta and peacefully demanded that their Prime Minister of the ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ should come and see their helplessness. But our Prime minister poured salt on their wounds, and said that the demonstrations were a form of “blackmailing”. Mr prime minister, the protestors are not the ‘blackmailers’, they are the innocent people who just wanted to be assured that they are also a part of this land and that this kind of incident should never happen again. But you called them blackmailers. If the peaceful sit in with the 11 dead bodies of martyrs is blackmailing then what would be the 6 months long session outside the parliament house including concerts and hate speeches? Mr Khan, have you ever faced a situation like this? Have you ever seen your loved one die in target killing or bomb blast? Never have you faced such type of situation so that’s why you are calling little girls who have lost their fathers blackmailers, that’s why you are calling a 70-year-old father who has lost his young son, a blackmailer.
One thing is clear from incidents like the one in Mach, that the fire of sectarianism will lead us to nowhere. The people who are responsible for organizing the rallies in Karachi saying “Shia kafir” are the real roots of the promoting sectarianism. Every person has an equal right to live in this country whether he belongs to minority and Muslim minority. We should direct our efforts towards the plight of our Hazaras, otherwise, it will be considered that there are some hidden forces who don’t want peace in Balochistan.