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Attacks on Hazara Community Killing Political Efficacy in Afghanistan

Attacks on Hazara Community Killing Political Efficacy in Afghanistan

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operations commander, was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court Friday. A warrant was also issued for the arrest of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar. The Hazara tribe of Pakistan, meanwhile, has been protesting against the massacre of 11 coal miners in Machh, Balochistan last week, for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility. The stir came to an end only after Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the mourners in Quetta and promised compensation for the dead.

WHAT IS THE ISSUE?

Around 1773, the mountainous region of Hazarajat in modern-day central Afghanistan was annexed and made a part of the territories of the Afghan Empire under Pashtun ruler Ahmad Shah Durrani. The Sunni Muslim majority under the Pashtun ruler resulted in further marginalisation of the Shiite Hazara community, to the extent that in the 18th and 19th century, they were forced to leave fertile lowlands in central Afghanistan and make the dry, arid mountainous landscape their new home, Research indicates that their unique identity, ethnicity and religion always made the Hazaras stand out among the other communities. Hazaras speak Hazaragi, which is close to Dari Persian, the official language of modern-day Afghanistan. The community also shares physical similarities with the Mongols and their speech, specific terms and phrases, reflect strong Central Asian Turkic influences, setting them apart from their neighbours in Pakistan and other communities within Afghanistan.

According to Minahan’s research, in the 19th century, the Hazara community constituted approximately 67 per cent of Afghanistan’s total population. Since then, primarily due to violence, oppression and targeted massacres, that number has come down to a little as 10 to 20 per cent of the population now. But Minahan explains that these figures are only estimates due to a lack of census statistics. The attacks reached a crescendo in 2013 when three separate bombings killed more than 200 people in Hazara neighbourhoods of Quetta. In the aftermath of this incident, the Shia community in Pakistan had erupted in anger over the Pakistani government’s lack of protection of the city and had refused to bury the dead till the government made steps to improve security. The Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed one of the three deadly attacks.

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About The Author

Praveen Yadav

19 | Bibliophile and quaint | Full-Time Coder, Occasional Writer | Analytical Journalist at NDTV | Political and Psychological

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