When the minorities of a multi-ethnic nation state are routinely persecuted by ruthless coercion and violence in the face of a callous establishment that perpetuates the status quo by remaining silent on the issue, not only has the state failed in protecting its citizens, it has become complicit in the persecution by not addressing the matter. The latest attack on the Hazara community in Quetta comes third in the series of horrifying attacks this month on the persecuted minority in which two members of the Shia Hazara community were gunned down in the heart of the city.

Buffeted by three suicide bombings earlier this week, the wave of terrorism that has laid siege to the fortitude of the bereaved community is still bereft of due acknowledgement by the state. The protracted sectarian killings have evoked protests and strikes by the community in an attempt to highlight their strife and grief, clamouring against the law-enforcement agencies and provincial government that has utterly failed to protect the community, with no arrests being made or inquiries being conducted.

It points to the failure of the provincial government that has been unable to come up with a cohesive plan to ensure the security of its citizens, but most importantly it is a failure of the central government that has maintained radio-silence on the repeated atrocities committed against the community.

The Shia Hazara genocide has resulted in the massacre of 3,000 people in such attacks in the last decade. The Hazara community itself is subjected to isolation in their everyday lives being denied fundamental rights; right to life, security and education. Moreover, they are being isolated in the name of security. Where the CJP has blamed the issue on the lack of legislative will to tackle the problem, the callous silence of the government towards the community’s concerns speaks volumes.

It is high time the state takes due notice of the marginalised communities in its realm. There needs to be an active engagement with all minority communities in understanding their grievances and affording them the fundamental right to life and security. The growing unrest and uprisings within the belt of marginalized minorities is an indicator of how far state neglect has pushed them. There is still time to clamp down on the real elements of extremism and dogmatic instigators that run amok in the country and formulate effective legislation that serves to protect the rights and civil liberties of all sects, ethnicities and religions. It is high time the matter is dealt with an even-handed approach. Ignoring the pleas and cries of the persecuted minorities only makes our establishment complicit in their oppression and maltreatment.