After Machh tragedy, Karachi's Hazaras fear for their safety as well

Large number of Hazaras killed in Karachi in recent years, protesters demonstrating against Machh incident say

Zia Ur Rehman

Members of the Hazara community protest outside the Karachi Press Club. Photo: The News
  • Karachi's Hazaras protest with members of civil society outside Karachi Press Club on Tuesday
  • Protests held in context of the massacre of 11 coal miners at Machh, Balochistan on Sunday, which has triggered protests in Quetta and other parts of the country
  • Fear and intimidation forcing Hazaras to leave Pakistan for other countries, protesters say

KARACHI: Sunday's brazen attack on Hazaras in Machh, Balochistan has triggered fear and panic among Hazaras living in Karachi as well, according to protesters who showed up at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday to condemn the recent attack against members of the community. 

A demonstration was held outside the Press Club by the city's Hazaras and members of civil society to highlight the massacre of 11 coal miners in Machh and bring the government's attention to the continued persecution of the community by extremist forces.

The eleven miners were killed before dawn on Sunday after being ambushed while they were asleep near a remote coal mine in a mountainous area nearly 60 kilometres southeast of Quetta. 

A large number of members of the Hazara community were joined by members of civil society in gathering at the Press Club to show their anger at the recent tragedy. 

Protesters said it was as if the assailants “flee with complete impunity” each time after killing their community members.

Meanwhile, the Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen also organised sit-ins and protests on Tuesday at Numaish Chowrangi, Abbas Town and Ancholi to show solidarity with the Hazara community members protesting against the Machh tragedy. 

'Mentally sick'

One protester pointed out that Sunday's massacre was yet another tragic incident in a long list of attacks that have taken place against the Hazaras. 

“Our people have become mentally sick because they have been denied the right of movement and have been forced to live in a few kilometre radius in Quetta,” said Zameer Mughal, a Hazara student, while talking to The News. He said fear and intimidation had forced Hazara youth to migrate to foreign countries.

Iqbal Nasiri, a social activist belonging to the Hazara community, said Hazaras were not even safe in Karachi, as “a large number of community members have been killed in recent years”.

“Our people happen to be an easier target because of our distinct Mongolian features,” Nasiri said while talking to The News.

Protesters at the KPC demanded strict implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) to bust proscribed sectarian groups believed to be involved in the killings and to stop them from re-emerging with new names.

Protesters blamed the frequent occurring of such attacks at “the lukewarm response of the government and law enforcement agencies” and its failure to take action against banned outfits across the country. 

Veteran politician Farooq Sattar also showed up at the protest and demanded action against militant elements.