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Hazara Community Feels Their Identity Doubted in Pakistan

Due to repeated attacks, many Hazara families are fleeing the country.

INDONESIA

Senin, 05 Mei 2014 17:54 WIB

Hazara Community Feels Their Identity Doubted in Pakistan

Pakistan, Hazara, discrimination, attack, Shadi Khan Saif & Naeem Sahuotara

The Hazara community in South-West Pakistan has been subjected to an escalating campaign of shootings and bombings.

25-year-old Altaf Hussain was injured during an attack by a militant group last year.

He’s now undergoing treatment in Karachi.

“The attackers should at least tell us… why they are killing us? I don’t know why exactly, but I think it’s related to my belief or my ethnicity.”

In the city of Quetta, the Hazara community lives a secluded life of fear.

More and more people want to flee the country for their own safety.

But for the Hazaras, getting a passport is a challenging task.

According to historians, the Hazaras are being targeted because they’re ethnically different and easily recognised by their physical features.

The Hazara tribal chief, Sardar Mehdi, is taking the matter to the High Court in Sindh this month.

He says, this is a violation of the Hazara’s basic human rights.

“Every human has the right to go and secure better opportunities, we have gone to the court to find out why are Hazara discriminated. It’s the people on the passport desk that’s dealing with this, I hope this is not a government policy. We have been very loyal citizens of Pakistan and we want to stay like this, but we’ve been pushed and attacked.”

In January last year, at least 120 people were killed in a twin suicide bomb attack on a crowded snooker club.



A month later, dozens more died in an explosion in a market.

Recently the Hazara community took to the streets again, to demand justice for an assault against members of their community on a bus on the outskirts of Quetta City.

After being denied a passport in Quetta, small trader Muhammad Hashim, is trying his luck in Karachi.

“In Quetta, they denied me a new passport saying that my picture in the supporting documents does not match. But here they refused me again and directed me back to Quetta.”

Outside the office, an officer, who asked not to be named, denies any allegations of discrimination against the Hazara people.

26-year-old Sikandar Ali is one of the few Hazaras who have been given the green Pakistan passport.

“I feel very lucky. I’ve heard that some people are facing troubles at the passport office. I was asked to go to the police and get my background checked, despite having all the documents. I’m not sure that this is a discrimination based of my ethnicity or something else.”

But not all Hazaras want to leave home.

Zainab, a mother of two, says her husband was asked to pay a huge sum of money for new passports.

Despite all the troubles, she says she wants to stay.

“I pray for peace. I want my children to study and live here though things don’t look good… it’s very difficult here.”

A hearing on the passport case is expected to take place this month.

Until the Hazaras get their passports… they will have to stay in Pakistan and face discrimination…


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