Imagine the pain of those families who not just lost their loved ones to a gruesome terrorist attack but also kept waiting for the state to show empathy towards them.
11 Hazara coal miners were target killed in Balochistan last week. Their families staged a protest in the freezing cold of Quetta for a week and said they would not bury their dead till they meet Prime Minister Imran Khan. But the PM asked them to bury their dead first. He said he wouldn’t be ‘blackmailed’.
At last, the Hazara mourners had to bury their dead and only then did PM Imran visit Quetta to meet them. No words can make us imagine the pain of the mourners. And to even think that they could blackmail anyone — those who are a marginalised community, those who have been relegated to a designated area, those who cannot even roam their area freely, those who cannot even get justice for their dead. There are Hazara families that have no male members left as they have all been target-killed.
In a 2014 report by the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Hazara Shias were described as ‘The Walking Dead’. They have continued to suffer at the hands of sectarian terrorist outfits committing genocide of the Hazara community. Thus the state should not have shown apathy towards their demand of meeting the PM. A powerful state cannot put conditions on its marginalised and beleaguered people. It is callous. Period.
It is also important that the state safeguards the lives of all citizens, especially a marginalised community like the Hazaras. Pakistan made a lot of gains in its fights against terrorism in the last few years. The government should have consolidated those gains and made a proper strategy to counter terrorism and extremism.
It is also important to empower the local police in Balochistan just like it was done in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. We hope that the Hazaras will get justice as well as protection. They have suffered enough.