Young boys hold up placards outside the KPC. —Fahim Siddiqi/Shakil Adil/White Star
Young boys hold up placards outside the KPC. —Fahim Siddiqi/Shakil Adil/White Star

KARACHI: “The zulm that was done to our people, even animals don’t do this to their foes. This genocide must stop now,” a visibly shaken Hazara woman said at the protest condemning the Mach massacre on Tuesday outside the Karachi Press Club.

The emotionally charged protest was organized by the residents of Hussain Hazara Goth in solidarity with the victims of the Mach coal mine attack where 11 Hazara Shia miners were brutally murdered. The Islamic State group, also known by the Arabic acronym Daesh, claimed responsibility for the killing.

Sit-ins by the members of Hazara community were held at various spots in the city including Abbas Town and Numaish, as well as the emotionally charged protest at KPC. Over 200 men, women and children from the Hazara community demanded that Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa ensure the safety of their community.

“Their limbs were tied, their mouths stuffed shut and then they were slaughtered. Is this Madina ki riyasat? This slaughter must stop. We want this genocide to stop,” a young woman at the protest said.

Sit-ins held at various spots in city in solidarity with mourners in Quetta

Yet another questioned whether these Hazara men were any lesser Pakistanis. The girls lamented that the media did not give the massacre adequate coverage and their grievances remained unheard.

Holding red and green flags printed with “Ya Hussain”, many other youngsters were seen holding placards which urged that “ethnic cleansing” of Hazaras be stopped.

The protest moved many, including many hardened and sceptical journalists at the press club, who stepped outside to show solidarity with the stoically resilient Hazaras. The protesters were also joined by relatives of Baloch missing persons who condemned the Mach massacre strongly.

‘Why are we being killed?’

Mourners hold a vigil at Numaish on Tuesday in memory of the Mach victims.—Fahim Siddiqi/Shakil Adil/White Star
Mourners hold a vigil at Numaish on Tuesday in memory of the Mach victims.—Fahim Siddiqi/Shakil Adil/White Star

“We have some questions. In the past 20 years we have lost thousands of lives. The only slogan we ever raise is “Pakistan Zindabad”, we have never said [anything] anti-Pakistan and this is what we get,” questioned a speaker. “Why are we being killed? What is our fault? This ethnic cleansing of Hazara community will continue till when? Are we not Muslims? How is Daesh finding a foothold in Pakistan? We are a peaceful people, please let us remain peaceful. Yesterday a sister of ours said in Quetta that all the men in her family were killed. The way things are, no man from our community will be left,” he said.

The protestors said that if the demands of mourners in Quetta are not accepted, they will continue their protests and stage a dharna.

“The Hazaras are peaceful people. We have spent over 20 years picking the bodies of our loved ones. They killed our students, college-going youngsters, we have been held hostage in a small zone in Quetta. We want the government to provide security to us and ensure our safety,” they stressed.

The protestors strongly questioned why security institutions were unable to end the “genocide” of the Hazaras.

Dharnas

Meanwhile, protests mainly organised by Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM), supported by other parties, were attended by hundreds of people including men, women and children, adds Our Staff Reporter. The sit-ins were held in North Karachi near Powerhouse Chowrangi, Numaish traffic intersection and Abbas Town on main Abul Ispahani Road.

“If someone really is concerned about our security and tragedy we are facing, it must be reflected by their moves,” said Maulana Sadiq Jaffery, senior leader of the MWM while addressing the protesters at Numaish. “It’s so unfortunate the presence of hundreds of women and children [in] chilling cold in Quetta has not inspired the authorities. These protesters want peace, not violence or bloodshed. So protest is the only option left for us to convey our concerns which would continue.”

The sit-in continued for hours and remained peaceful, though it badly affected the traffic flow on respective roads. The first sit-in was staged in North Karachi and in the evening, hundreds of people converged at the Numaish traffic intersection.

Along with the MWM, the Shia Ulema Council, Jafria Alliance, Imamia Students Organisation and Jafria Students Organisation also participated in the protest.

Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2021

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