Recent events in Balochistan, heartbreaking as they are, have reinforced that sectarian violence is still a very present, prevalent and, distressing issue in the region. Not that it had ever really ceased to be an issue; it had just been buried under other news.

On April 12, 2019, the Hazara population in Quetta was targeted at Hazarganji market, killing 20 and injuring 48. At least half of those martyred were from the Hazara community as well as many of the injured. The Hazara population in the region has had an extremely painful history. Time and time again, they’ve been targeted by various groups for their religious beliefs as well as their ethnicity.

According to reports, in Pakistan, countless members of the Hazara population have been massacred in around 1400 attacks since 2002. A report released by the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) states that the death toll of the community in various terrorist incidents in Quetta from January 2012 to December 2017, was 509 while 627 people were injured.

The April 18 attack on a bus in a remote region of Ormara presents an operating procedure similar to many previous ones. Buses were stopped in remote areas, members of targeted groups were identified through National Identity cards, taken to a different location and shot dead. In this attack as well, those who were killed were first identified as non-Baloch.

The unfortunate reality is that targeted attacks on specific groups have only increased over time. Incidents such as these remind us again how severe the issue really is. Groups are, more often than not targeted for their religious ideologies (Shias) or ethnicity, in what can only be described as terrorist attacks.
No person or group should fear for their lives in their own homeland; regardless of their minority or majority status. Even our religion teaches us to be tolerant of other people’s faith and beliefs. It also teaches us to refrain from discriminating against people based on their cast or ethnicity.

It’s regrettable that even in today’s day and age with so many enemies on the outside, rooting for us to fail as a state, we’ve become our own enemy on the inside by targeting our own. We must stand up to and condemn groups that preach violence against others on these basis. They must be isolated and singled out. Any ideology that suggests the superiority of one religious sect or ethnicity over another must be vehemently rejected.

With so many challenges facing our country, the least we can do is aim to maintain peace amongst ourselves and exist, not only as separate groups of ethnicities or sects, but as united citizens of the state. A state that belongs to every single one of us, regardless of our religious beliefs or the colour of our skin.


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