By Ali Arqam
Widowed during an attack on an Ashura procession – the most important annual ritual of the Shia sect – Maryam was left with three children to raise, no means of support – her husband was a daily-wage labourer who left no savings – and no viable source of income for the future. A member of the beleaguered Hazara community, with hardly any work opportunities and forced isolation due to the omnipresent threat against her visibly distinct community, Maryam was left with few options for the survival of her family. Finally she had to resort to begging on the streets behind cover of a burqa. The family survived, and 10 years later, her children are the family bread-earners, eking out a living by doing petty jobs.
While the blast that took Maryam’s husband’s life was one of the worst in terms of the number of people it killed, it was neither the first, nor the last attack on Hazaras in Quetta. In 2001, eight members of the Hazara community were targeted and killed in an attack near Podgali Chowk. There were several other attacks and in 2003, 12 police cadets, all Hazaras, were killed in another terrorist attack.
According to an activist from the Hazara community, “The wave of mass killings of the Hazaras began in Afghanistan, when the Taliban regime took on the Hazarajat. They were declared infidels in the religious decrees signed by the Taliban leaders, and the massacre of Hazaras began. Cases in point: the attacks in Mazar-e-Sharif and Bamiyan.”
He adds, “The sectarian organisations which have consistently been targeting Shias for their faith across Pakistan – from Gilgit, Baltistan, to Bolan, and from Karachi to Kohat and Kurram Agency – share the views of the Taliban leaders.”
The Hazaras face a double whammy: they are seen as …read more
From:: Hazara People