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Murtaza Ali Shah
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
From Print Edition
 
 

 

LONDON: Britain’s former Home Secretary Alan Johnson joined hundreds of protestors outside the High Commission of Pakistan here to condemn the wave of killings of ethnic Shia Hazaras in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province.

 

The Labour MP criticised Pakistani government for failing to take effective steps against the sectarian killers who persecute Hazaras routinely and with impunity.

 

“I am here to stand in solidarity with Hazaras who face ethnic cleaning in Balochistan yet the government of Pakistan is showing no concern. In the last 10 years more than 700 Hazaras have been killed which is a scandal. The government doesn’t seem concerned and has shown no interest in catching the killers,” said the former Home Secretary, who called on Interior Minister Rehman Malik, his former counterpart, to take action and not only rely on issuing statements.

 

The protest organised by Hazara Progressive Alliance drew Hazaras living in the UK from various towns and cities, many of them direct victims of sectarian terrorism unleashed by banned sectarian groups Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jehangvi and other pro-Taleban/Al-Qaeda militants who target Hazaras due to their distinctive features.

 

Ali Raza Mogul told the protestors that Hazaras were forced to come outside Pakistan High Commission after failing to get any attention from the Pakistani government over the heart-wrenching killings. “There is a heavy presence of the law-enforcement agencies in Quetta city but it is matter of great concern that Hazaras get killed on daily basis. The government has failed to catch terrorists.”

 

Syed Inayat Shah said that terrorists had been given free hand by the state security agencies to act as it suited them. He said Lashkar-e-Jangvi had publicly claimed that it will turn Quetta city into a big graveyard of Hazara Shias but no action was taken against them. He criticised Rehman Malik and Balochistan’s Chief Minister Nawab Raisani only played to the cameras and were concerned about their own media publicity and were “involved in the politics of dead bodies”. He said Hazaras didn’t enjoy political and financial might in the country and that was the reasons why the establishment didnít want to upset the ruthless sectarian elements who were still seen as “security assets” in some circles.

 

The protestors presented a memorandum to Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan’s High Commission to the UK and stated how different meetings with the High Commission officials had failed to produce any results, forcing Hazaras to protest on the streets of London.

 

The memorandum said: “We have had no option but to gather here to cry out loudly so that our voices are heard by those responsible for the safety and security of innocent Hazaras of Quetta. If this doesn’t work and the government continues to give us the impression that our community members in Quetta are living in Jungle, we will have to seek recourse to further legal but more radical avenues for the redress of our grievances. This may please be noted for your record.” They demanded that the genocide of Hazaras be immediately stopped; the government work out a viable plan to initiate a comprehensive and rigorous targeted operation against the LeJ terrorists and all other religious militants in and around Quetta city immediately; and that the victims and the affected families must be financially supported in order that they can overcome financial constraints.