Identity, Equality, Unity
On 3 December 2012, The New York Times published an article titled “Pakistan Reels With Violence Against Shiites”, by Declan Walsh, NYT Pakistan Bureau Chief. The previous title of the article (changed afterwards) was “Pakistan’s Hazara Shiites under siege” URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/world/asia/pakistans-hazara-shiites-under-siege.html?hpw&_r=0
The article misrepresents Shia genocide in Pakistan in several ways.
We outline our key concerns, which include errors and omissions as well as some mis-statements, as follows:
1. The article presents the country-wide Shia genocide in Pakistan, in which 20,000 Shia Muslims of all ethnic backgrounds and areas have been killed, as a largely Hazara specific ethnic issue confined to Quetta.
2. The article blames Sunni Muslims, not Deobandis, as responsible for Shia genocide. This Sunni vs Shia sectarian angle overlooks the internal heterogeneity of Sunnis and also overlooks the fact that Sipah-e-Sahaba and Taliban (two organizations mainly responsible for Shia genocide in Pakistan) are almost entirely Deobandi militant organizations. Not a single Sunni Barelvi (majority in Pakistan) is a part of Sipah Sahaba and Taliban. More over, the article ignores the fact that same Takfiri Deobandi militants who kill Shias also kill Sunni Barelvis, moderate Deobandis, Ahamdis, Hindus and Christians. Thus, violence and terrorism in Pakistan is Takfiri Deobandis vs the rest of Pakistan, not Sunni vs Shia.
3. The article does not state the fact that out of total 20,000 Shias killed in all parts of Pakistan, only 700 are Shia Hazaras.
4. The article does not state the fact that within Quetta and surroundings, at least 300 non-Hazara Shias have been killed, who, in terms of their minuscule population in Quetta, have the highest death rate due to target killing of any Shia sub-group in Pakistan. They are doubly unfortunate because they do not get the attention from the mainstream media or human rights groups.
5. The reporter refers to the case of “26 Hazara men” who were dragged out of the bus and shot, but does not mention that the 26 victims also included a number of non-Hazara Shias (of Pashtun, Punjabi and Qandahari origin).
The reporter appears to have been misled by propagandists of Hazara ethnic party (Hazara Democratic Party) which, not unlike Imran Khan’s PTI and Hafiz Saeed’s DPC, is suspected to be sponsored by Pakistan’s military establishment. HDP operatives usually obfuscate Shia genocide in Quetta as a Hazara ethnicity specific issue in order to gain political mileage for their ethnic politics and also to obfuscate the real perpetrators of anti-Shia violence, i.e., ISI-sponsored Takfiri Deobandi militants. It is usual in Pakistani social and mainstream media to see HDP propagandists (mis)appropriate murder of non-Hazara Shias in Quetta and present it as Hazara genocide. In the past they have presented murder of Qandahari, Punjabi, Baloch, Pashtun Shias in Quetta as Hazara related incidents. This is notwithstanding the fact that even within Hazaras, HDP has very low support. The sitting member of parliament belongs to the PPP, and majority of Shia Hazaras are very faith-conscious unless ethno-atheist tendencies of HDP. For details and examples, visit Karbala-e-Quetta, largest internet portal (more than 18,000 members) of Shia Hazaras of Quetta which routinely rejects HDP ethno-fascist tactics and propaganda.
6. We would like to inform the NYT and its Pakistan Bureau Chief that such misleading reports do not in anyway help an already persecuted community (Shia) which is facing a pre-genocide situation in Pakistan.