Pakistan that belongs to all of us, not just one hard-line minority group.”
Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi of Pakistan Youth Alliance said that militant groups such as the supposedly banned Lashkar-e-Jehangvi (LeJ), Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and their various affiliates operate with impunity across Pakistan. This despite the fact that they have openly declared their mission to ‘purge’ Pakistan of Shias and others, including majority Sunnis, who differ with their extremist ideology, he said.
He stressed that these groups claim responsibility for terror attacks, continue to engage in hate speech against the Shia community through their madrassah networks, mosque sermons, through distribution of literature and vocal presence on social media but the government agencies don’t act.
“This is a violation of the rights guaranteed by the Pakistani Constitution, a major factor of instability within Pakistan and its also in direct breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, particularly Article 3 and Article 18,” Zaidi said.
Hazara Human rights activist Dr Saleem Javed claimed that almost 1,500 Hazaras in 135 attacks have been killed in sectarian attacks in Quetta.
“Most of Hazara govt employees have quit their jobs in fear of getting killed. Traders, businessmen and shopkeepers who were doing small scale business with Afghanistan & Iran have either sold out their properties at throwaway prices or have closed down temporarily.
Hazara students have dropped out of university in Balochistan in entirety as their buses were targeted. The community has been effectively ghettoized in Warsaw like condition in their enclaves. The governments have done nothing practical to stop the killings rather engaged in a blame game,” he said, calling on the Pakistani govt to fulfill its promises and provide a full-fledged protection and bring the culprits to justice.
The conference called on the government to increase law enforcement capacity in Shia-majority areas and during Shia religious gatherings to protect those who are most at risk; take steps to rein in madrassahs that are responsible for inciting violence and hate speech; draft legislation that makes incitement to violence against any individual or community a criminal offense; and work with educational institutions, civil society and religious scholars of various sects to implement programmes that focus on interfaith harmony.
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