Under Siege of Terror: The Shia Hazara of Pakistan

Pakistani Shiite Muslims Hazara protest

Pakistani Shiite Muslims protest after the sectarian killings in Quetta on April 14, 2012. Eight people, including seven Hazara, were gunned down in separate sectarian targeted incidents. (Photo: BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Sectarian violence promoted by religious extremists  is not new to Pakistan, but the latest series of brutal attacks on the otherwise peaceful Hazara people has reached a breaking point in recent weeks.  Despite the fact that nearly 30 people have died in the past two weeks,  the Government of  Pakistan seems incapable – if not unwilling – to step in to stop this siege of terror.

The situation in the Balochistan province, located  in south-west Pakistan  has always been complex with a number of different ethnic groups, a seccesionist movement and various Taliban leaders all vying for power. Things have become even worse  in the last few years with escalating tensions between the United States and Pakistan over the NATO supply route leading to even more unrest in Quetta, Balochistan’s capital city and bringing an onslaught of tragedy to the Hazara who live there.


Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan

Zahida Sharif

Zahida Sharif holding a picture of her husband, 48-year old Dr.Abid Sharif, June 2010

My son was born seven months after my husband went missing…he has never met his father, he just looks at his pictures.”

Across South Asia, thousands of people disappear in the context of violence against the state. These thousands are often caught in the crossfire between security forces and militants. You can help by taking action now.

The practice of enforced disappearances has increased dramatically since Pakistan joined the US-led “war on terror” in 2001. Disappearances occur across the country but especially in Balochistan province in the south-west, which faces violence from ethnic and religious armed groups and state security forces. Activists, journalists, and students have been especially targeted and an increasing number have been found dead with their bodies showing signs of torture.