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In the climate of despair and gloom, there is still some hope left when Sunni students are arranging protests to register their support for Shias in Pakistan. -Photo by Murtaza Haider
In the climate of despair and gloom, there is still some hope left when Sunni students are arranging protests to register their support for Shias in Pakistan. -Photo by Murtaza Haider

Hundreds gathered at the Toronto City Hall on January 13 to protest against the senseless murders of Shias and other minorities in Pakistan. Pakistan Development Fund, a Toronto-based student group, organised the event in which religious and other groups also participated.

Toronto protests against the murders of Shia Hazaras in Quetta, Balochistan from Murtaza Haider on Vimeo.

While the Hazaras sat with the coffins of their children who died in targeted bomb attacks on January 10, 2013, millions in Pakistan joined the grieving parents by holding protest rallies against the senseless and targeted violence against minorities in Pakistan. The Hazaras have particularly been an easy target because of their unique features that set them apart from the rest. In the past year alone, hundreds of Hazaras have died in bomb blasts and targeted killings.

Standing in the rain outside of Toronto’s iconic City Hall, the protesters raised slogans against the unabated violence against minorities in Pakistan. The chants of “We want justice, stop Shia killings” resonated in Toronto’s downtown core, which is otherwise a quiet place on a Sunday afternoon.

Speaking at the event, leaders of the Hazara community in Toronto warned that the protest in Toronto and other large cities in North America and Europe should alert Pakistan’s civil and defence establishment to the reality that what goes around in Pakistan is not lost on the world, especially the Pakistanis living abroad. Furthermore, while it may be true that misguided patriotism may have made Pakistanis ignore violence and injustice in Pakistan in the past, this is no longer the case.

Others warned that Pakistanis protesting against injustices in Pakistan is indicative of the fact that Pakistan now was part of the group of rogue states whose own citizens have to alert the rest of the world to the injustices being committed in their homelands. Such acts suggest the lack of confidence in the State and its agencies to establish the rule of law in Pakistan, one protester observed in Toronto.

Ayyaz Mallick, a student at Toronto’s York University, is one such Pakistani who believes that the state and its institutions do not represent the Pakistan he has envisioned. A Sunni Muslim himself, Ayyaz organised the rally with other university students in Toronto to show solidarity with Shia Hazaras who have been sitting on Quetta’s Alamdar Road with the coffins of 86 young men who died in two bomb attacks at a popular billiard club, which was mostly frequented by the Hazara youth.

Speaking at the rally in Toronto, Ayyaz asked if the State was indeed even concerned about representing the interests of the marginalised communities in Pakistan. He urged Pakistanis back home and in diaspora to be on the streets to register their protest against targeted killings of minorities in Pakistan and ethnic cleansing of Shia Hazaras in Quetta.

Ayyaz Mallick from Murtaza Haider on Vimeo.

Dr. Alia Ali, a resident of Toronto, observed that in the climate of despair and gloom there was still some hope left when she saw Sunni students at Toronto’s universities arranging protests to register their support for the Shias in Pakistan.

Dr. Alia Ali speaking in Toronto against Hazara and Shia killings, January 13, 2013 from Murtaza Haider on Vimeo.

As the protest wound down in downtown Toronto, the protest on Alamdar Road in Quetta continued. It was only hours later that the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Raja Parvez Ashraf, committed to imposing emergency and Governor’s rule in Balochistan. This made many in Toronto wonder why the government waited for days to take this decision. Apart from facing the indignity and immense grief of sitting on a street with the dead bodies of 86 young men, not much changed between Thursday and Sunday for the government to realise that Balochistan has not been governed at all in the past four years, said a long-term resident of Toronto in a telephone interview.

While the Hazaras are busy burying their dead in Quetta’s Bahisht-e-Zahra cemetery, where hundreds of other victims of violence are also buried, many in Pakistan wonder why their elected governments are so reluctant to govern.

Comments (17) Closed

Noman Jan 16, 2013 03:43pm
Marvelous programme.
Janjuah Jan 15, 2013 03:00pm
For God sake ..this is consipiracy to get these two sects fight with each other... all planned agenda can be seen clearly... Terrorist attacks at peak...Dr Tahir in Islamabad and at the same time border tention being created.... this is the last episode of that plan being played... Help us God
Khawaja Ikram Ul haq Jan 16, 2013 10:34am
they are totally incompetent and are themselves embroiled in sectarianism which seemingly has no solution apart from understanding that killing another human is not acceptable in islam under any circumstances...
Girish Jan 17, 2013 06:15am
Islam may be religion of peace but its followers are not. Muslims kills muslims on the name of Islam and they will non muslims on the name of Islam too. May Allah save humanity from Muslims.
muhammad Jan 16, 2013 06:29pm
no khan ji , if you check Facebook or any other social media or news , hazara's toke protest all around the world Australia Sydney and Melbourne and Perth, Belgium , Norway , holand , London , Sweden, Denmark , and even Italy and some American stat like Washington DC , new york ect and every where most of Pakistani living people join them with any hate and being a human . PEACE I BELIEVE .
G.A. Jan 15, 2013 07:07pm
"...many in Pakistan wonder why their elected governments are so reluctant to govern." - that, Sir, is a million dollar question.
wizarat Jan 15, 2013 07:22pm
Thank You
Rizwanul Huda Jan 16, 2013 05:33pm
George I agree with you
Rizwanul Huda Jan 16, 2013 05:31pm
All of us raise our voice and let it heard loud and clear that we protest against the injustice and in activeness of our very own law enforcement agency and other key player. Perhaps it is the only country in the world which sometime ago used to be a civilized country is fast approaching to become a non civilized country.
Ghulam Ishaq Jan 15, 2013 08:25pm
Why beat around the bush? Hazara are not murdered for their ethnicity, they are murdered because they follow Shia Islam
GhostRider Jan 17, 2013 04:19am
First put your own house in order than look towards Syria and Gaza...
khan Jan 15, 2013 11:42pm
dawn is potraying as if toronto only international city standing for hazaras n why?
ali Jan 16, 2013 02:54am
Will shias hold rallies against bashar al assad?...something to ponder
Irtiza Jan 16, 2013 03:27am
Hazaras are targetted because of their sect and that they can be very easily identified.
salma hasan Jan 16, 2013 08:58pm
why shias? why not sunnis?.
Ali Salman Alvi Jan 16, 2013 06:29am
A misleading placard. Hazaras are NOT being murdered because of their ethnicity. They are being butchered because they are Shias.
george Jan 16, 2013 09:32am
There is no conspiracy here. You people have so much hatred against other people who does not follow your version of the religion, is not worthy to live. You brain wash your children at school with all rubbish in the text books. You sow the hatred in their little minds, and now you see the fruit. Blaming others will not solve anything.