By Meerum Awan.
The Hazara community is still refusing to bury their loved ones a week after they were kidnapped and butchered by the Islamic State. There have been mass protests in both Baluchistan and Karachi with only one demand that the PM meet them.
The deaths of these 11 coal miners have brought immense sadness at a time which is already very difficult for the government considering Maryam Nawaz scheduling rallies in several cities of Punjab. Not to mention the ones they have already staged before. We all know how stressful that is for the Prime Minister.
But to sprinkle salt to their wounds by calling Hazaras “blackmailers” when all they ask is not to be killed is a new low for Imran Khan who has frequently chosen to be at the wrong side of history. A few months before, he called Osama bin laden a martyr in Pakistan’s national assembly.
Imran Khan’s game plan to send the advisor on Overseas Pakistanis to directly negotiate with the Hazara community is the failure that this continually persecuted minority did not deserve.
The question that remains unanswered is why would the PM’s aide choose to negotiate with the family of the loved ones in such a mortifying manner?
The indecorous way in which Zulfi Bukhari spoke to the representatives of the community and then still failed to give a modest explanation of why he directed such undignified questions towards the grieving community clearly shows how the government has utterly failed to react to the situation.
It is quite understandable why a man like Zulfi Bukhari doesn’t what benefit the Hazara community will give to Imran Khan if he comes to meet them. The benefits are colossal and yet the Special Assistant to the PM fails to get a grip of them.
The most important one being the victims’ families getting the consolation they deserve for being a part of a large ethnic minority in Pakistan. Not just for that but also because around 500 Hazaras have been killed in the last five years according to the Home department of Baluchistan.
The other benefit that evaded the special Assistant’s hubristic intellect was showing the enemies of the state- the religious and sectarian fanatics- who have been targeting the Shia Hazara community of Baluchistan for decades killing some 2000 individuals of the community in the last fourteen years (according to a report by the National Commission of Human rights), that the government of the country is in solidarity with the community and stands with them. Not just by tweeting it. There are reasons why Imran Khan must visit the community as soon as possible. The religious fanatics of the Sunni community as well as terrorists from neighboring Iran and Afghanistan have been targeting the Shia community in a bid to wipe out the race entirely. The hate towards the Shia community has been an evergreen phenomenon in the region not just originating because of recent fuelling by enemies. Contrary to Zulfi Bukhari’s understanding. They have been targeted for a long time including suffering from extremely vile attacks that were condemned globally and the community has suffered enough. It was time for the government to show vigorous support and protection to make the community feel stronger and stand taller in the region.
The Hazaras have often reported that they live in fear as their rights are not protected by the government. (NHCR) International media has also pointed out that the community feels that the state does not do enough to safeguard them in the region.
And yet, Zulfi Bukhari does not understand what benefits will be reaped if Imran Khan goes to meet the community mourning their loved one’s dead bodies for five days.
To make it even clearer for him, it will make their position stronger in the region and help stop the killings.
If the PM’s closest aide didn’t have such a supercilious sense of self, he would not have been so heartless as to treat the grieving community in the way he did.
Instead, if he had only the most elementary sense of empathy, the community might even have started to bury their loved ones by now.