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Shia Hazara minority protests killings in Pak terror attacks

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Islamabad | January 21, 2022 10:50:34 AM IST
The Hazaras of Pakistan, a Shia minority regarded by extreme Sunnis as non-Islamic and persecuted for decades, and the diaspora in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia are commemorating the victims of two terrorist attacks in 2013 and 2021 this month, according to Bitter Winter, an online magazine.

Around 1,000 to 2,000 of the community people have been killed in Pakistan in the 21st century.

The history of Shia Hazaras is tragic and they called on the government of Pakistan to defend their fundamental rights and protect them from daily acts of slander, discrimination, beatings and killings.

On January 10, 2013, a series of bombs in Quetta, Pakistan's Balochistan province capital, killed 100 people in a mostly Hazara neighbourhood.

The total death toll was 130 since there were two bombings, the second of which killed police officers, rescue workers, and journalists who had entered the neighbourhood after the first, according to the magazine.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a hardline Sunni Deobandi organisation that is part of a network of violent anti-Shia activities, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The Hazaras are a Turkic people that settled in Afghanistan between the 16th and 17th centuries and embraced Shia Islam. They speak a Persian dialect.

In 1893, Afghan king Abdur Rahman Kang resolved to exterminate the Hazaras, both because they were "heretics" in his eyes as a strict Sunni ruler and because they campaigned for regional autonomy.

At least 100,000 Hazaras were slain, accounting for 60 per cent of Afghanistan's Hazara population, while more than 10,000 were sold as slaves. Most historians regard the events of 1893 as genocide, wrote Massimo Introvigne in an article for the magazine.

Since the late 19th century, many Hazaras have fled to British India as a result of tyranny in Afghanistan, which persisted through the Taliban era and continues today. Hazaras are now number one million in Pakistan. Afghanistan still has a population of four million people.

On January 3, 2021, armed men approached eleven Hazara coal miners from the same Quetta neighbourhood who were sleeping in their rooms near the mine where they worked in Mach Town.

They separated the Hazara Shia miners from the Sunni miners, kidnapped and killed the Hazaras. The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed credit for the attack, but one year later, the identity of the attackers remains a mystery. (ANI)

 
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