Much praise has been showered on Jacinda Ardern, the Kiwi prime minister, in the wake of the Christchurch shooting. She deserves every inch of it; her response to the terrorist attack was full of empathy and compassion rarely seen in leaders. There was a great deal of wonderment about this too, the idea that people in charge can be vulnerable but strong simultaneously, and how perhaps women might make better public representatives for having that skill. The fact that nobody thought of this before should be proof enough of how hard women work to be accepted in traditionally male professions. It’s quite heart-warming to see Ardern do what she thought was right, and that instinct is what makes a politician a leader.

It’s the rhetoric we are routinely fed when it comes to politics—people who serve the country and citizens are there to protect your rights and make your life better. The roads are for you! These hospitals, yours! One is but a humble khidmatgar! On one level perhaps that is true. On another, it is only words if public servants do not at least appear to care for their constituents. As a Pakistani, one feels this deeper than perhaps others, because this country started with almost nothing but faith and determination, and the dream of a minority group. Our existence as Pakistanis is based, one hundred percent, on a minority that wouldn’t give up until they had their own place. Around the world when Muslims are terrorised and murdered, we respond with gratitude and thank when someone stands up for us. We know what it’s like to be targeted and ostracised, to have to work twice as hard for half as much. When Jacinda Ardern put a scarf on her head and hugged the families who lost loved ones at Christchurch, we couldn’t believe that someone had that kind of empathy. When Jewish people make safety chains around mosques, we are bowled over with the sense of unity that kindness fosters. Being persecuted engenders a particular loneliness and fear that is, strangely, easily quelled by empathy.

But today, with the one hundred and sixteenth attack on Baloch Hazaras committed days ago, we are silent. Hazaras are a Shia minority in this country and have been relentlessly persecuted by Islamic fundamentalist groups for years now. As of this printing, the Hazara sit-in continues. Some people are protesting with the charpais of their dead. They are Pakistanis, the exact same as you or I. This bomb went off in the Hazarganji market area, buried in a sack of potatoes at a vegetable seller’s shop. Who would know about something like that? Nobody could predict it, really. At least twenty people are dead, almost fifty are wounded. We don’t have a Jacinda Ardern, otherwise, maybe someone who really mattered would have been to Hazarganji. She is the prime minister, but Ardern didn’t send a minister or a provincial secretary to Christchurch. She went herself, she laid flowers, she announced the ways the state would help the bereaved. One could argue that the population of New Zealand is a quarter of just Balochistan’s—about 5 million in the country to the latter’s 12 million—and thus easier to manage. That Balochistan is the size of France. But what one feels is that good statesmanship is not the numbers or sympathetic tweets from afar. It is a willingness to stand with the ordinary people and to protect those who need it.

In Pakistan our minorities—Christians, Hindus, Shias, Ahmadis, the list goes on—are ruthlessly and relentlessly targets of violence. If Hindu girls aren’t being kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam, Shia doctors are being gunned down in the street. If Christians aren’t being lynched by mobs, students are being torn apart—the Mashal March just happened, lest we forget. The Hazara plight is not new, but the pain feels fresh each time. There may be wheels within wheels, fires within fires, that restrict our leaders and representatives from following their instinct (one is being generous in presuming they are noble ones). But as an ordinary citizen of Pakistan, I wonder what it will take for someone to step up and do the right thing, unequivocally and genuinely. Don’t we deserve a Jacinda Ardern? Don’t our minorities deserve a leader who will grieve with them, who will listen, who will at least try to change something so that they can stop burying their children, dead before their time? How can it be so difficult, for people whose job is to look after citizens of a country, to show kindness to the same people?

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but a heart can be mended in one. Some wrongs can be put right. And if nothing else, you can show your fellow citizens that they aren’t alone in their grief. Surely it isn’t that hard. We want it for ourselves from the rest of the world, but we can’t extend that empathy and support to our own?