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A man comforts a mourner, following the killing of Shias, at a hospital in the northwestern district of Mansehra, Aug 16, 2012. — Photo by AFP

QUETTA: Pakistan should “urgently act” to protect minority Shias from rising sectarian attacks that have killed hundreds this year, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

At least 320 Shias have been killed in targeted attacks this year across Pakistan, including more than 100 in southwestern Balochistan province, the majority from the Hazara community, the group it said in a statement.

“Deadly attacks on Shia communities across Pakistan are escalating,” Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in the same statement.

“The government's persistent failure to apprehend attackers or prosecute the extremist groups organising the attacks suggests that it is indifferent to this carnage,” Adams said.

The rights watchdog said militant groups such as the “ostensibly banned” Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) had operated with “widespread impunity” across Pakistan while law enforcement officials looked the other way.

LJ is accused of killing hundreds of Shias after its emergence in the early 1990s. It was banned by then president Pervez Musharraf in 2001.

Adams said the arrest last month of LJ leader Malik Ishaq, who has been accused of killing some 70 people, was “an important test for Pakistan's criminal justice system”.

Some extremist groups are known to be “allies” of the Pakistani military, its intelligence agencies, and affiliated paramilitaries, such as the Frontier Corps, HRW said.

On Sept 1, four gunmen riding two motorbikes intercepted a bus near the Hazarganji area of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, pulled five Shia vegetable sellers off the vehicle and shot them dead.

On Aug 30, unidentified gunmen shot dead Shia judge Zulfiqar Naqvi along with his driver and police bodyguard.

Sectarian conflict has left thousands of people dead since the late 1980s.

In one of the bloodiest recent attacks, on Aug16 gunmen dragged 19 Shia Muslim travellers off a bus and killed them at point blank range in northern Pakistan.

“Pakistan's government cannot play the role of unconcerned bystander as the Shia across Pakistan are slaughtered,” Adams said.

Updated Sep 06, 2012 07:27am

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Comments (45) (Closed)


mazharuddin
Sep 06, 2012 05:38pm
There is the need to notice growing hatred against community and perhaps there are the extremism and fiery sermons being demonstrated on media and in public but no one is allowed to comment while these having contrary to history and research as well as frequent religious parades are staged on roads in this 21st century that disturbs citizens movement for their daily need, people having limited financial sources suffers badly. There are large number of socalled writers, philosophers, religious scholars and historians in the community but they overlook their own communities’ extremism and discuss international issues? This is the dilemma of our society. Mazharuddin
Answer2Abdullah
Sep 06, 2012 02:04pm
What does Syria has to do with Pakistan ?
Akhter Husain
Sep 06, 2012 01:12pm
Gardens are not known for "majorities or Minorities,but for the beauty and feeling of freshness it gives you when one is in.
Azhar Hussain
Sep 06, 2012 11:33am
Where are those religious parties, who talk about Burma and fail to talk about four ailure to protect our minorities.
Momtaz
Sep 06, 2012 10:49am
why wait for moderation? has the editor no courage to publish as expressed by a reader?
Akhter Husain
Sep 06, 2012 01:25pm
The dawn is very rightly pursuing the policy of raising people's voice against the atrocities that the fellow citizens are being faced with every day.Let us hope that those who are indulging in such activities may refrain from it
Tahir
Sep 06, 2012 10:42am
Pakistan is not poor. The govt has US $96 billion in Swiss federal bank which it does not want to spend on the country or its people.
Muhammad Salim Meo
Sep 08, 2012 07:46am
your comments are correct. actually Media is not sincere to public, they only run their channels to gain profits, they held debates, show target killing occurring, again and again and have nothing to spent from their pockets. Even News channels like Geo, they are making the public fool. What is happening in the world they do not bother to get news of the world and show the same. They show that some government official has taken notice of something bad, cricket run score are shown, some accidents are mentioned, live caste of rain, debates and interviews of politicians are shown only to earn from advertisements, this is the only aim of them. They do not pin point the actually problems neither they suggest solutions of the problems like sectarian killings.
mazharuddin
Sep 07, 2012 06:07pm
Shia killing is condemnable. To uproot such killings needs firstly to address root causes that spreading hatred, no one is taking care. No religious activities should disturb public life. In Bahrain, Syria, Iran etc. everywhere Democracy and justice should prevail. All countries and groups should respect basic human rights of each man. Should Believe in truth. Those groups who are involved in extremism are responsible, destabilizing our country.
F Khan
Sep 06, 2012 02:53pm
Is Martial Law for a while the only solution?. No other way to end corruption and murder.
Sami
Sep 06, 2012 11:49am
Quite amazingly HRW can only see what they want to see, They should ask americans to stop killing innocent people in drones attack first. HRW are only happy to push poor countries to reform. Does that have courage to ask America and israel? well answer is No.
Reader
Sep 06, 2012 11:49am
Why can't ALL muslims live in peace and harmony? Americans & western nations and other enemies of muslim fath are taking advantage of such divisions and we are handing them on a plate. When will the muslims around get their acts togather and progress so that it the envy of the Western culture.
Narendra
Sep 06, 2012 02:03pm
Poverty is really excuse There are many countries poorer than Pakistan.
Ajaya K Dutt
Sep 06, 2012 03:01pm
Drone attacks, after a careful analysis and follow up, is much better than dropping a carpet bombing. What do you want? You want to stop the drone attacks, stop sheltering the terrorists within you borders. America has acted with great restrain, in spite of having the capability to wipe out the terrorist shelters.
saju
Sep 06, 2012 02:35pm
want to justify of wrong doing ?
Human
Sep 06, 2012 02:29pm
if there are enough people like you in the country, Pakistan has a bright future. You have stated the problems and solution very well. God bless
saleem
Sep 06, 2012 02:30pm
As you so, so shall you reap. Eventhough I strongly disagree killing anyone, spcially in the name of religion, but unfortunately Shia's leadership sided with fanatics to bring blasphamy law and amendments. All the fair minded groups requested them not to do this as shia's may be next, but the leadership did not listened. Now it is hard to stop these fanatics, as there is complete lawlessness in the country.
Ajaya K Dutt
Sep 06, 2012 03:05pm
Human rights in Syria has nothing to do with what happens in Pakistan. Loss of human rights in Pakistan has to do with loss of human values in Pakistan. Check your pockets. What have you lost.
Ravi
Sep 06, 2012 02:59pm
Mr. Baig is right, we can not point at american drone problem and forget about home grown religious misguided extremism and intolerace towards different muslim sects and other non-muslim. We care so much about printed copies of holy quran which are printed by us. But we, including our so called religious leaders don't worry about fellow muslims being killed by extremism, although they are creations of allah. Let us fix our priorities right.
SATI
Sep 06, 2012 12:14pm
u r more than ri8
ahmed
Sep 06, 2012 05:47pm
currently no one is safe in pakistan, there are elements at work, but all are resposnible for teh state of affairs in Pakistan. can't really blame just the sunnis, shias, Ahmedis, etc. bottom line, Nation of Pakistan is at risk, and if there is any charm in Nation of pakistan, work towards resolving difference, else doom is near end. change is on high demand
misbah
Sep 06, 2012 09:07am
Shame on the muslim countries for silence.
ishaq
Sep 06, 2012 05:01pm
The governments duty is to protect life and property of all its citizens,but I am afraid in Pakistan this is not happening look at the record of law enforcing authorities the prime minister to be with many other innocent citizens were murdered not a single person has been prosecuted and sent to jail what can be said for ordinary citizens people who commit murder must be hunted down and sent to gallows once this starts to happen than less and less people will commit these heinous crimes and people should be tolerant to each other and respect other peoples views and try being law abiding citizens
umair khan
Sep 06, 2012 01:55pm
no greater truth then this
Akhter Husain
Sep 06, 2012 01:06pm
They are sitting in their comfortable homes,after all it is a question of faith.As regards Burmese,they are after all Muslims and are being persecuted by non Muslims.
baig007
Sep 06, 2012 12:03pm
More Pakistanis are killed by Pakistanis then American drones.
Irfan Baloch
Sep 06, 2012 02:01pm
well Said Raj, but majority of Pakistan is a brick wall.
Rizwan
Sep 06, 2012 02:05pm
This trend of killing each other will remain continued untill we will get rid of secterinsm. Mulsim is muslim every ever he his. We should not ignore foreign support (CIA) against these killings to raise a civil war in Pakistan. Sunnis & Shia both are the victims.
Protester
Sep 07, 2012 04:34am
Shame on those who are trying to divert attention to other issues. Be it the issue of drones or Syria. I am wondering why don't they raise the issue of Bahrain if they are concerned about Muslims in general. Rather than being a patriotic Pakistani and joining the movement to stand up against the culture of hate and terrorism, these are the people standing by the terrorists helping them and destroying the social fabric of our beloved country.
worldpeace
Sep 06, 2012 11:41am
Love Peace Harmony to all the people of the world. Fools fight wise Love.
Raja
Sep 06, 2012 02:44pm
first look at yourself. why are you bothering about Syria when there is so much blood shed in your own neighborhood
Syed Haider Abbas Hamdani
Sep 06, 2012 10:27am
never consider us(shia) a minority we are and donot compare us with ahmedis or any other religion we are not a part of pakistan but we are PAKISTAN
worldpeace
Sep 06, 2012 08:56am
Pakistan is not just Sunni country it is the country which has 1)Shia 2)Ahmadia 3)Sufi 4)Hindus 5)Christians 6)Buddhists 7)Jews 8)Non-believers Pakistan extremist and terrorists should know that Pakistan is a Garden with many flowers as India,America,UAE,Iran,Iraq,UK are. Pakistan can be beautiful along with its minorities. Minorities are helping develop Pakistan Majority should practice tolerance towards minorities and Law and order should be strengthened to protect minorities.
R K HASTIR
Sep 06, 2012 03:16pm
Well said-----UNIVERSAL TRUTH.
Abdullah
Sep 06, 2012 09:56am
What about 'Human Rights' Watch in Syria ?
Muhammad Nadeem
Sep 06, 2012 04:52pm
I totally agree with you. All these things are happening due to no understanding of Islam.
Raj
Sep 06, 2012 12:06pm
My friend "Might is Right" principle is always applied in international politics.If you are weak it is your problem. Americans are not killing their own people. You guys are killing your own brethern own countrymen whether he is hindu,shia,christen,sikh or ahmedia. That is the difference. Stop killing your minority then and then you can be heard otherwise nobody will listen you.
Jam
Sep 06, 2012 08:29am
Regardless of faith or religious association, people are not safe in some of the Asian/African countries. Law and order in Pakistan is very bad and needs urgent improvement to safeguard human lives. Pakistan government is very poor and does not have money to hire police for protection and can not offer things like elctric etc.
U.E Hayyat
Sep 06, 2012 10:42am
Madrasas across the country should be checked and regulated. Anyone holding conventions/talks against any sect or religion in mosques or at any other public gathering should be immediately arrested. Religion should be separate from state affairs. I don't know when are we going to learn. All this is the result of extremism and hate which is taught to young innocent minds in the Madrasas. Government of Pakistan needs to put an end to it and people of Pakistan should start raising their voice against Mullahism.
Momtaz
Sep 06, 2012 10:49am
Yes I agree with you brother but very shamefully many Pakistanis do not see iit this way. I am an Pakistani descendent from Haripur and I am shocked your country has so much hate between suni,shias,etc.etc. Which of these determine true muslim?Why do muslims kill muslims? Why do Pakistanis kill Pakistanis? What a shame,shame on the ppeople and government of Pakistan,shame,shame
Anoni
Sep 06, 2012 09:23am
HRW should know this goverment is indifferent to every thing that have to do with people. They only care about money
AHA
Sep 06, 2012 12:59pm
In the recent years, far more Muslims have died at the hands of other Muslims than at the hands of foreign forces. We Pakistanis like to bury the truth and look for diversions. We finds others to blame when the real problem is within ourselves. We have perfected the art of self-deception.
Ghadimi
Sep 06, 2012 01:10pm
Well said. We need the minorities as much they need us!
Naseer
Sep 06, 2012 02:47pm
I hope our chief justice would also one day take notice of shia genocide. Its not a sectarian war as some tv channels, news anchors and politicians say. It is Shia Genocide. One thing I agree with, there is a foreign hand behind this.
Hussain Naqvi
Sep 06, 2012 11:17am
The first ever NGO has taken the notice of massacre of innocent Shias has very rightly snubbed the so called Government of Pakistan of which they must response especially Mr Rehman Malik the interior Minister and should explain the claim of Me adams that these millitants are affialated with the various agencies and para military troops. Mr Adam has rightly pointed that without the neferous design and patoniization of the abovementioned agencies they are not able to kill the Shias on mass level. All the convicted leadership of political parties are mumm and dumb and their shameless Shia members are also following them. They should have some self honour and must open their mouth and insist on their leadership to take some measures to save the genocide of the Shia Community in Pakistan.