In another heart-rending episode of sectarian violence, seven coalminers belonging to the Shia Hazara community were attacked as they were on their way back to their coal company from Machh, when four assailants on motorbikes opened fire on their vehicle. Out of the seven passengers in the car, six were killed and the seventh was injured with multiple bullet wounds. These are the latest casualties of sectarian violence, where being born in a certain sect puts them on the hit list of intolerant militant factions.
Sectarian groups, such as the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi have targeted Shia Hazaras in the past, and those working in the mines are no strangers to this unprovoked violence, where lives have been lost on previous occasions to similar situations. Perpetrators unafraid of violence, and unthreatened by pursuit by law-enforcement, find an open field to intimidate and sow fear, while following a discriminatory, misguided and regressive ideology, which represents all that the modern civilization despises.
Sadly, this is not the only incident, nor will it be the last, and the provincial government is finally admitting to the fact that it has no power to stop it. Among other things, an APC is being considered, however a conclusive solution remains elusive. Sectarian violence in Baluchistan has become part and parcel of daily life, and every other corner of the country consistently averts their gaze to remain guilt free as they live on in silence and ignorance.
The government should take note of the fact every person of every shade of religious belief is a citizen of full rights in Pakistan, and it is the state’s responsibility to protect them and stop this ongoing slaughter. Focusing on stopping this bloodshed is more important than developing ten lane motorways in other parts of the country. The fact is that in a country like Pakistan, with various shades of Islamic representation, the only way to ensure peace is to restrict those who would try to prove their superiority of sect over any other.
Unfortunately, this bigotry has found space, and more importantly financing, to wreak havoc in Pakistani society. A culture of tolerance and patience is receding, and a trend of staying silent in the face of the unspeakably evil is taking root. Pakistan’s salvation lies in calling out the wrongs that others perpetrate in our name and on our soil. Six more have been killed for no crime. Will the government not speak? Will the people not protest? Will these killings be damned to be repeated until there are none left?