Persecution of Hazara people

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A girl, in Bamyan, holding a placard against Hazara genocide in Pakistan

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People of Bamyan-3.jpg Hazara people




Persecution of Hazara people refers to systematic discrimination, ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Shia Hazara people, who are primarily from the central highland region of Hazarajat in Afghanistan. Significant populations of Hazara people are also found in Quetta, Pakistan and Mashad, Iran. The persecution of Hazara people dates back to the 16th century, with Babur from Kabulistan.[1] It is reported that during the reign of Emir Abdur Rahman (1880-1901), thousands of Hazaras were killed, expelled and enslaved.[2] Syed Askar Mousavi, a contemporary Hazara writer, claims that half the population of Hazaras was displaced, shifted to neighbouring Balochistan of British India[3] and Khorasan Province of Iran. However, "it is difficult to verify such an estimate, but the memory of the conquest of the Hazārajāt by ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Khan certainly remains vivid among the Hazāras themselves, and has heavily influenced their relations with the Afghan state throughout the 20th century."[2] This led to Pashtuns and other groups occupying parts of Hazarajat. The Hazara people have also been the victims of massacre by Taliban and al-Qaeda. Although the situation of Hazaras improved in Afghanistan with the ousting of Taliban government from power in 2001, hundreds of Hazara have been victimised in neighboring Pakistan, in recent years.

Afghanistan[edit]

Hazara people are historically the most restrained ethnic group and have witnessed slight improvements in the circumstances even with the setup of modern Afghanistan. The discrimination against this Shia ethnic group has subsisted for centuries by Mughals,[1] Pashtuns and other ethnic groups.[4] Syed Askar Mousavi, a contemporary Hazara writer, estimates that more than half of the entire population of Hazaras was driven out of their villages, including many who were massacred. "It is difficult to verify such an estimate, but the memory of the conquest of the Hazārajāt by ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Khan certainly remains vivid among the Hazāras themselves, and has heavily influenced their relations with the Afghan state throughout the 20th century."[2] The British from neighboring British India, who were heavily involved in Afghanistan, did not document such a large figure. Others claim that Hazaras began leaving their hometown Hazarajat due to poverty and in search of employment mostly in 20th century.[5] Most of these Hazaras immigrated to neighbouring Balochistan, where they were provided permanent settlement by the government of British India.[3] Others settled in and around Mashad, which is in the Khorasan Province of Iran.[5]

The Hazaras of Afghanistan faced severe political, social and economic tyranny and denial of basic civil rights.[4] In the late 19th century, the Hazaras along with their Shia counterpart Qizilbash sided with the invading British-led Indians against the native Sunni ethnic groups of Afghanistan. In 1933, Abdul Khaliq, a Hazara student assassinated Afghan King Nadir Khan.

Afshar[edit]

Main article: Afshar Operation

In February 1993, a two-day military operation was conducted by the Islamic State of Afghanistan government and the Saudi-backed Sunni Wahhabi Ittihad-i Islami militia led by Abdul Rasul Sayyaf. Ittihad-i Islami during that time was allied to the government of Burhanuddin Rabbani. The military operation was conducted in order to seize control of the Afshar district in west Kabul where the Shia Hezb-e Wahdat militia (and allied to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Sunni Hezb-i Islami backed by Pakistan) was based and from where it was shelling civilian areas in northern Kabul. The operation also intended to capture Wahdat leader Abdul Ali Mazari. The Afshar district, situated on the slopes of Mount Afshar west of Kabul, is a densely populated district. The area is predominantly inhabited by Shia Hazara people. The Afshar military operation escalated into what became known as the Afshar massacre when the Saudi backed Wahhabi militia of Ittihad-e-Islami went on a rampage through Afshar, killing, raping, looting and burning houses. Two out of nine Islamic State sub-commanders, Anwar Dangar (later joined the Taliban) and Mullah Izzat, were also reported as leading troops that carried out abuses. The Islamic State government in collaboration with the then enemy militia of Hezb-e Wahdat as well as in cooperation with Afshar civilians established a commission to investigate the crimes that had taken place in Afshar. The commission found that around 70 people died during the street fighting and between 700 and 750 people were abducted and never returned by Abdul Rasul Sayyaf’s men. These abducted victims were most likely killed or died in captivity.[6][7] Dozens of women were abducted during the operation as well.[8]

Mazar-i-Sharif[edit]

Following the 1997 massacre of 3,000 Taliban prisoners by Abdul Malik Pahlawan in Mazar-i-Sharif[9] some 8000[citation needed] Hazara men, women and children were massacred by other Taliban members in the same city in August 1998. Human rights organizations reported that the dead were lying on the streets for weeks before Taliban allowed their burial due to stench and fear of epidemic. It is ironic that the killing by Uzbak commander Abdul Malik Pahlawan was avenged from the Hazara civilians.

Robatak Pass[edit]

The pass connecting the settlements of Tashkurgan and Pule Khumri is known as Robatak Pass. A mass murder was carried out there by Taliban in May 2000 in which 31 people were reported dead. Twenty-six of the victims were Ismaili Hazara from Baghalan province. Their remains were found to the northeast of the pass, in a neighborhood known as Hazara Mazari, on the border between Baghlan and Samngan provinces. The victims were detained four months before their execution by Taliban troops between January 5 and January 14, 2000.[10][11]

Yakawlang[edit]

In January 2001 Taliban committed a mass execution of Hazara people in Yakawlang District of Bamyan province, Afghanistan. This started on January 8 and lasted for four days which took the lives of 170 men. Taliban apprehended about 300 people, including employees of local humanitarian organizations. They were grouped to various assemblage points where they were shot dead in public view. Around 73 women, children and elderly were taking shelter in a local mosque when Taliban fired rockets at the mosque.[11][12]

Pakistan[edit]

The history of Hazara people in Pakistan dates back to 1840s, when Hazara tribesmen from Hazarajat began migration to colonial India because of persecution by Pashtuns and Tajiks. Many Hazaras were enlisted in the British Indian Army during the first Anglo-Afghan War (1838-1840). The mass-migration and permanent settlements started in 1890s when Emir Abdul Rahman Khan started persecuting the Hazaras of Afghanistan.[13] The majority of the Hazara is Shiite Muslims with a sizable Sunni minority. Although sectarian violence in Pakistan, home to an estimated 20% Shia Muslim population, started during the reign of military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s, Balochistan had remained peaceful until the turn of the century in 2000.

Quetta[edit]

In recent years, the persecution of Hazaras in Quetta has left at least 2000 dead and more than 2100 wounded. the victims include high-profile community members, laborers, women and children.[14] One third of the victims are children. No one has yet been arrested for these murders.[15][16] The major attacks included assassinations of Hussain Ali Yousafi, Olympia Abrar Hussain, bombing of a Hazara mosque, Ashura massacre, Quds Day bombing, Play ground massacre, Mastung massacre and Akhtarabad massacre.[16][17]

The Al-Qaeda affiliated Pakistani Sunni Muslim extremist militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has claimed responsibility for most of these attacks.[18][19] Other theories suggest the involvement of Taliban's Quetta Shura,[20][21][22][23][24][25]

In response to these killings, worldwide demonstrations were held to condemn the persecution of Hazaras in Quetta. The Hazara diaspora all over the world, namely in Australia, Western Europe, North America as well as the Hazara in Afghanistan, have protested against these killings and against the silence of international community.[26][27] Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, the political leader of the Hazara in Afghanistan, has also expressed solidarity with the Hazara community in Quetta.[28][29] The persecutions have been documented by the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Asian Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.[30][31][32][33][34][35] EU parliamentarian Rita Borsellino has urged the international community to address the plight of Hazara people in Quetta.[36] The members of British Parliament, Alistair Burt, Mark Lancaster, Alan Johnson, and Iain Stewart asked the government to pressure Pakistani authorities concerning the absence of justice for Hazara community in Pakistan[16][37]

As a consequence of the attacks, and the alleged impunity by which they are perpetrated, there has been a recent exodus of Hazaras trying to flee the violence. They are headed mainly to Australia, where thousands of them have successfully relocated after obtaining refugee status. To get there, they complete an illegal and treacherous journey across Southeast Asia through air, land and sea that has already left hundreds of them dead.[38][39]

Karachi[edit]

So far dozens of Hazara individuals have been killed in Karachi, but none of the killers has been brought to Justice. Among the dead were social workers & intellectuals.[40] In Karachi terrorists shot dead Agha Abbas, owner of famous fruit juice outlet Agha Juice.[41] Sindh police announced the arrest of Akram Lahori, chief of a banned religious group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (lej) along with his four accomplices, for their alleged involvement in sectarian killings, including the murder of Agha Abbas.

In fiction[edit]

The main character in Khaled Hosseini's novel The Kite Runner is Amir, a Pashtun boy who has a Hazara friend, Hassan, in 1970s Afghanistan. They are bullied by an older Pashtun who expresses scorn for the Hazara people.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b John Leyden, Esq., M.D. and William Erskine, Esq., ed. (1921). "Events Of The Year 910 (1525)". Memoirs of Babur. Packard Humanities Institute. p. 5. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  2. ^ a b c Alessandro Monsutti (December 15, 2003). "HAZĀRA ii. HISTORY". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Who are the Hazara". Pak Tribune. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Hazara People". National Geographic - GeoPedia. 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "HAZĀRA". Arash Khazeni, Alessandro Monsutti, Charles M. Kieffer. United States: Encyclopædia Iranica. December 15, 2003. Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  6. ^ "Ittihad". Human Rights Watch. 2006. Retrieved 2012-04-10. 
  7. ^ Phil Rees (2 December 2001). "A personal account". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  8. ^ John Lee Anderson. The Lion's Grave (November 26, 2002 ed.). Atlantic Books. p. 224. ISBN 1-84354-118-1. 
  9. ^ "Afghan powerbrokers: Who's who". BBC News. November 19, 2001. Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  10. ^ "MASSACRE AT ROBATAK PASS, MAY 2000". Human Rights Watch. 2006. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  11. ^ a b "Fact Sheet: The Taliban's Betrayal of the Afghan People". Office of International Information Programs. 2001. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  12. ^ "Massacre in yakaolang". Human Rights Watch. 2006. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  13. ^ http://minoritysupportpakistan.com/The_Hazara_Shia_of_PakistanvApril_16_edited.pdf
  14. ^ "International commission demanded to probe Hazara killings". Samaa Tv. 2011-10-01. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  15. ^ By Editorial (2011-09-02). "Death and joy – The Express Tribune". Tribune.com.pk. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  16. ^ a b c "Pakistan Needs to make Sure Minorities Rights: Alistair | The Daily Outlook Afghanistan". Outlookafghanistan.net. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  17. ^ By Editorial (2011-09-02). "Death and joy – The Express Tribune". Tribune.com.pk. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  18. ^ "LeJ blamed for killing Hazaras in Quetta". Central Asia Online. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  19. ^ chandru. "Pakistan: Another Massacre of Hazaras in Balochistan By Pro Al Qaeda Elements". Southasiaanalysis.org. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  20. ^ "The Quetta Shura Taliban: An Overlooked Problem | International Affairs Review". Iar-gwu.org. 2009-11-23. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  21. ^ "A threat to the world". The Spectator. 2006-08-19. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  22. ^ "Pakistan should crack down on Taliban, UN official says - Asia - Pacific - International Herald Tribune". The New York Times. 2007-01-09. 
  23. ^ Hazara April 4, 2012 - 11:48 am (2012-04-04). "Genocide of Hazaras – A Reality Check | Hazara People International Network". Hazarapeople.com. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  24. ^ "A Victim of Being Hazara and Shia in Pakistan". Wahdat News. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  25. ^ Raza, Ahmed (2010-11-24). "BBC News - Top Balochistan minister alleges extrajudicial killings". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  26. ^ "World Wide Protest Against Genocide in Pakistan and Afghanistan - Kabul Press | Afghanistan Press | کابل پرس | افغانستان پرس". Kabul Press. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  27. ^ "International Day of Protest against killing of Hazaras in Pakistan – Melbourne, 1 October 2011 « MelbourneProtests 2007-2011". Melbourneprotests.wordpress.com. 2011-10-01. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  28. ^ "Speech of Ustad Haji Mohaqiq | Against the targeted Killings and genocides of Hazaras in Pakistan". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  29. ^ "There can be no peace without peace in Afghanistan: Gilani". Dawn.Com. APP. 2011-10-21. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  30. ^ 3 October 2011 (2011-10-03). "Pakistan: Authorities must tackle brazen attacks on Hazara Shi’a | Amnesty International". Amnesty.org. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  31. ^ Retrieved 2.4.2012
  32. ^ Retrieved 2.4.2012
  33. ^ Retrieved 2.4.2012
  34. ^ Accessed 2.4.2012
  35. ^ Accessed 2.4.2012
  36. ^ "Il Genocidio Dimenticato Degli Hazara In Pakistan, Solidarieta' Di Rita Borsellino". Ritaborsellino.it. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  37. ^ "UK House of Commons debates Hazaras of Quetta". Wahdat News. 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  38. ^ Walsh, Declan (2013-04-27). "Fleeing Violence in Pakistan, Hazaras Brave Uncertain Journey". The New York Times. 
  39. ^ http://dawn.com/2012/09/19/hazaras-exodus-to-the-land-down-under/
  40. ^ "KARACHI: Police make public arrest of sectarian activists -DAWN - Local; July 2, 2002". Archives.dawn.com. 2002-07-02. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  41. ^ "KARACHI: Three shot dead -DAWN - Local; May 26, 2002". Archives.dawn.com. 2002-05-26. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 

Bibliography[edit]