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Member of a bomb disposal squad checks the site of a blast a in Quetta, Jan 10, 2013. – Photo by Reuters

The attack on the Hazara Shia community hall in Quetta has finally shocked the Pakistani state into taking action against the slaughter of that community in Balochistan.

Haji Abdul Qayyum Changezi, a senior community leader, described it best on Sunday.

“Our people are being massacred — 1,100 have been murdered in the last five years,” he said while speaking in a televised meeting with Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.

“That’s out of a total population of 500,000 — a rate unprecedented anywhere in Pakistan.”

While women and children have been killed, the high risk age group remains young males.

Increasingly, the Hazara youth prefer to choose the life of the illegal immigrant.

Certain death awaits them at home.

All Hazaras fear that they could be the next target of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. For Pakistan’s deadliest militant group’s Baloch incarnation — they are the ideal target on both ethnic and religious basis.

It’s an incarnation that not only runs things in Balochistan but also in the rest of the country — but with Asif Baloch alias Chotu being appointed supreme Amir.

The LeJ’s story is well-known — created in form of the Sipah-e-Sahaba in the mid eighties by militants and extremist demagogues by harnessing rising anti-Shia feeling in the Punjab.

While the province has remained home base, the LeJ has slowly but surely spread its tentacles across the country.

Its sectarian poison also found a fertile ground in the soil that was prepared post 9/11.

Balochistan — by way of Karachi and southern Punjab — proved to be the best place for its plantation.

The work on Balochistan began in the late nineties when a few LeJ militants came to Quetta on their way to Kandahar.

At that time, the LeJ was a favoured guest of the Afghan Taliban.

But Balochistan was largely a bastion of secular ideologies, something that may have attracted their attention.

Since then the province saw a proliferation of spending by religious groups in the late nineties.

While most concentrated on charity and general Islamic education, the Sipah-e-Sahaba remained true to its goals of Shia antagonism.

But to gain currency in the province it had to work on the local population.

As such the work was started concentrating in the main towns — Quetta, Khuzdar and Turbat.

Initially, there were few takers amongst the historically secular Baloch community.

But with state support and unlimited funds from the Gulf Arab states seeking to counter Iran’s perceived influence the movement grew.

Today, some of the largest madressahs and mosques maintained by the Sipah-e-Sahaba and other groups like the Jamaatud Dawa are found in Balochistan.

Experts point to these as the basis for the emergence of a new Baloch youth — religious, Sunni and militant.

All these characteristics may well have set an inevitable clash with the local Shia community, but this was confirmed after state security agencies cashed into this scheme.

With the growth of nationalist fervour in the province, the old card of religion was seen as being ideal to counter it.

The SSP/LeJ/TTP combine had already been hard at work establishing itself here.

Men like Gul Hasan (of Hyderi Mosque bombing fame) and Asif Baloch alias Chotu had initiated a new breed of militant here whose ferocity was unmatched elsewhere in Pakistan.

Enter groups like the pro-Pakistan Baloch groups such as the Baloch Musalah Difaa Tanzeem for whom the nationalist and the Shia are both fair game.

That organisation; which professes to have attacked what it calls anti-state elements, is now regarded as the main de facto cell of the LeJ in Balochistan.

Others have also mushroomed since then — with increasing numbers of Brahui and Baloch tribesmen joining in.

The main base is Mastung located in the heart of territory controlled by the Raisani tribe.

Most of the major attacks on the Hazaras have taken place here — despite the fact the tribal chief is Sardar Aslam Raisani — till recently the chief minister of Balochistan.

Hazara leaders say LeJ militants like Ramzan Mengal and Usman ‘Saifullah’ Kurd serve as bodyguards for PPP provincial ministers.

They also complain openly and talk of links with security forces; both men escaped from a maximum security prison in Quetta Cantonment.

Comments (37) Closed

Stranger Jan 15, 2013 08:52am
All this is due to lack of education.
Hahahaha Jan 15, 2013 02:41pm
Pakistan was based on Two Nation theory ......hope they agree to it when Balouchi's ask for the same.
murali Jan 15, 2013 02:30pm
looks like pakistan military is not able to prove worth since 1971 to its own people and taking revenge on the public by dragging the country in to trouble and continiously trying to take some approciation by doing silly work like beheading indian soldiers . any one can behead any one . but the question still remimines what is the actual use of pakistani military which has eaten up all budget, taxes of public. what pakistan military has given to its nation in ruturen having eating money and wealth. this is a very important question to answer before pakista misguides its public in to another gimics
Nuetral Jan 15, 2013 02:33pm
This is due to lack of education and the fact that this has been the strategy of feudals like Raisani (now ex CM Balochistan) from generations to keep the people of the lands under their control deliberately uneducated so that they can be exploited easily. These unfortunate and uneducated subjects can be easily exploited to join terrorist groups like LeJ. It seems you are equally ignorant of the teachings and the values of Islam otherwise you would not have made such a statement. Islam is a beautiful religion that teaches harmony and peace.
murali Jan 15, 2013 02:40pm
looks like pakistan military is not able to prove its worth since 1971 to its own people and taking revenge on the public by dragging the country in to trouble and continiously trying to take some approciation by doing silly work like beheading indian soldiers . any one can behead any one . but the question still remimines what is the actual use of pakistani military which has eaten up all budget, taxes of public. what pakistan military has given to its nation in ruturen having eating money and wealth. this is a very important question to answer before pakista misguides its public in to another gimics
ZINDA BHAAG... Jan 15, 2013 02:23pm
Though I am hindu i can say that..problem is not with the islam..problem with the so called heads of this religion...when muhammad did not allow such kind of activity then how can it be said that problem with islam....Islam means peace..when muslim praise to ALLAH he mentions the world peace...many call some of the terrorist group that this is islamic terrorist ...when they are not going through the way of them islamic terrorist is insulting Islam.. ...
george Jan 15, 2013 11:38am
When you allow religion to control every sphere of your life, this is what happens, and wait for few more years, worse is still to come. What started with hindus and sikhs in Pakistan, will continue with shias and ahmedis, and christians, and all the smaller groups. It is a hopeless situation.
Indian Jan 15, 2013 01:55pm
Infiltrated the whole country in the name of religion and ur government does nothing.
Indian Jan 15, 2013 01:56pm
Well Admitted..
Nonreligious Jan 15, 2013 10:58am
A deadly mix only in Balochistan? What about the rest of the country?
Hameed Ahmad Jan 15, 2013 03:33pm
Islam as a religion never teaches you extremism. If you ask any of these people they will be unaware of their own religion. I think all of you need to read about Islam and compare it with nations holding other religions. The deadliest massacres of humanity have been carried out by non Muslim countries as is evident from history. Just look at world wars, and the invasions of countries by non Muslim states and look at the figures in millions killed.
human Jan 15, 2013 12:43pm
Well Pakistani educated army surely knew about Osama hideout & yet did nothing. And you still believe education will turn things around ?
Nony Jan 15, 2013 06:34am
This will not end till our security establishment accepts the supermacy of parliament and stops nourishing these extremists to counter democracy and nationalism.
Dan Jan 15, 2013 01:09pm
All this is not only due to education also Islam itself..
Abuzar Jan 15, 2013 06:51am
Unforunately, they have infiltarted the state in the name of religion.
dev Jan 15, 2013 08:32am
i thought it is the situation of every islam majority nation.
syed baqar ahsan Jan 16, 2013 04:18pm
a complete net work of hazara killers is under the supervision of CM Aslam Raisani,how one can stop and Dubai /GCC countries providing everything,Army can solve in a one night operation the big ones well known to them.
akhter husain Jan 15, 2013 07:33pm
Really? there are many Muslim countries which are free from such murderers where as many non Muslim countries are facing killing of innocent people because of faith..Violence has nothing to do with Islam or any other religion..
akhter husain Jan 15, 2013 07:35pm
The fight for superiority will land us no where.
akhter husain Jan 15, 2013 07:39pm
All the master minds of such activities are generally highly educated.
Nick Jan 15, 2013 08:22pm
name any democratic muslim country?
Ajaya K Dutt Jan 15, 2013 08:35pm
Oh. Really.
syed baqar ahsan Jan 16, 2013 04:49pm
We are too good to work on dictated ideas,working against ground reality,deny respect to all our neighbours,divided as whole on various lines,in short we are rogues with immature leaderships at all levels.
SBB Jan 16, 2013 01:41am
Balochistan did not have a history of such violence. This what is happening is all very new and propagated by the people mentioned in this article.
AHA Jan 16, 2013 02:29am
When did you last attend a Friday khutba??
khanm Jan 16, 2013 01:06pm
I don
Xulf Jan 16, 2013 03:44am
But it was because they kept him there....simple!!
Traveler Jan 16, 2013 10:45pm
Brother, you are wrong. It is the security establishment who has created this mess. Although its not their intention to harm pakistan which is meant for india but the monster has gone beyond their control. It is easy to blame your elected goverment but its not they who are responsible for it. unfortunately, you have no option but to depend on the creators to take control of it. Be careful, dont give them a chance to play double game again.Whether its pakistani or Indian, no innocent civilians should be allowed to be killed by these elements. Give your democracy some time to work and ensure your army is confined to the barracks. Frankly, there is nothing to take pride in your Army/ISI.
pathanoo Jan 16, 2013 04:42am
It is true. I challenge any one to defy it with the exception of Turkey.
Yawar Jan 16, 2013 06:10am
Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia....
indian Jan 16, 2013 02:07pm
I think the question was to name any muslim country without bloodshed
murad Jan 16, 2013 03:31pm
Shia and sunni are not kill one another
murad Jan 16, 2013 03:34pm
Pakistan people must love the state of pakistan otherwise they will face the situation which they cannot understand
Sandeep Jan 16, 2013 07:14am
Let see - Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Mali, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, algeria, Ethiopia, East Timor .. all have issues where minorities are being killed in the name of religion. Not one muslim country provides the same benefit or rights to its minorities like the western countries do where all the so called Islam lovers are rushing to migrate. Leave alone minorities.. Saudi, Yemen, UAE etc would not even provide you with a legal citizenship if you applied inspite of being muslim. Please don't be in denial stop comparing other non muslim countries ..they have a much better GDP growth and economy compared to muslim countries if you take out the oil production.
Sokretez Socrate Jan 16, 2013 07:28am
I doubt if the Govt.of Pakistan will be able to stop the genocide of Hazaras in Baluchistan and the general massacre of Shieas in Pakistan. There is no ''WILL'' in the functionary of the authority.
Ibrar Jan 16, 2013 02:21pm
Yes. Especially the shia killings in karachi
salim essabhai Jan 16, 2013 07:34pm
apart from the internal religious and ethnic differences-which are not really that significant or relevant, there are greater in fact much greater geo-political factors and perspective involved here,which is really both hard to comprehend and hence explain and accept,like Bangladesh,Baluchitan is a political hot potato both strategically and militarily ,for a number of reasons,nuclear power being the most critical and valid.SHIA hating is just the smoke screen that plays some moves in the game of chess in order to reach the main targets or atl east to weaken them,it is international mind,money and methods that should be behind these moves,you have to climb a few small hils to reach to the mountain.ISLAM like all the religions is peaceful,but a failed state and a corrupt govt. and administration are worthless and complicating the situation and dragging the country to its horrible destiny,PAKISTAN is called ISLAMIC REPUBLIC unfortunately i grew up with PAKISTAN but it pains me to say that ISLAM IS MISSING.PAKISTAN PAINDABAD.