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Documentary Highlights Intolerance and Hope For Pakistan

Never Forget, Londonbranch of a Pakistani non-governmental organisation, hosted an important event at SOAS, Vernon Square, London on 23-02-2016 to screen the recently-prepared documentary of Minority Rights Group InternationalThe purpose of organising the event was to showcase religious hatred, bigotry and intolerance which was initially aimed at minorities but this menace has not tilted towards mainstream Pakistani society. The documentary started with interviews of the heirs of Hazara victims becoming targets in various targeted attacks in Quetta, then, it slowly moves to inter-marriages of Shias and Sunnis and the extent of problems they face being family units of different sects. The documentary also captured glimpses of Sufism and ending with constructive notes from interviewees of all faiths about the future of the country.

Screenshot of the Documentary (Photo Courtesy: Never Forget, London)

Screenshot of the Documentary (Photo Courtesy: Never Forget, London)

Ali Raza of Never Forget, London hosted the event who briefly introduced the salient points.

Ali Raza Hosting the Event

Ali Raza Hosting the Event

Liaquat Ali Hazara was requested to give introduction about the Pakistani Hazaras. After thanking the host and the other organisers of the show, he highlighted about the Hazaras’ history and how they are living in modern-day Pakistan. His introductory session consisted of three sections, ie., (i) the migration of Hazaras to then sub-continent, (ii) current challenges and (iii) Expectations of Hazaras from HR Organisations and International Community.

LAH

LAH

Later, Carl Soderbergh, Director of Policy and Communications at the Minority Rights Group International and Emma Eastwood, Senior Media Officer of the same organisation were invited to share their views. Carl Soderbergh mentioned about the brief history of MRG and HR activities across the globe while Emma Eastwood talked about their firm resolve in protecting rights of minorities and liaising with respective governments in respect of human rights violations.

Carl Soderbergh (Director Policy and Communication, MRG)

Carl Soderbergh (Director Policy and Communication, MRG)

Emma Eastwood (Senior Media Officer, MRG)

Emma Eastwood (Senior Media Officer, MRG)

The last part of the show consisted of interactive debate and feedback on the rights of minorities.

Rights Activists at SOAS

Rights Activists at SOAS

Geo and Jang Newspaper covered the event. For viewing the documentary and video coverage of the event, please visit our facebook page.

Jang Coverage of the Event

Jang Coverage of the Event

(Photos Courtesy: Never Forget London)

Non-operational Public and Welfare buildings on Alamdar Road Are Dilemmas

Non-operational Public Property

Non-operational Public Property

Where the Pakistan Hazaras have been deprived of their civil liberties and confined behind secluded concrete walls in eastern and western parts of Quetta city, whose movements and mobilization are restricted to their enclaves, there the closure of public and welfare buildings is sheer dilemma. It is also an irony that the land grabbers and retired government employees are working and coordinating in tandem to keep these communal buildings inaccessible to general public.

Progressive Academic Society

Progressive Academic Society

In absolute despondency and apathy from local political parties, the responsible members of civil society starteded a sit-in protest on Alamdar Road braving cold weather to attract the attention of the Pakistan’s Federal and Balochistan’s Provincial Governments. However, the Government has routinely turned a blind eye to this urgent matter. The public and welfare buildings, which were constructed with tax-payers’ money, include a well-equipped library, IT University, sports stadium and multi-purpose community hall etc. The depreciation and decay of these public buildings amount to animosity, betrayal and usurpation to the general public.

Pad-locked Public Library

Pad-locked Public Library

HUM is extremely concerned about non-operational status of these buildings and assures the masses to take up these issues with the Pakistani High Commission, London for timely resolution.

HUM Raised the Issue of Genocide of Hazaras in the 8th UN Session on Minorities Issues in Geneva

Hazara United Movement (HUM), United Kingdom sent a delegation of Hazara Diaspora to the 8th UN Session on Minority Issues in Geneva, Switzerland. The two-day conference was held on 24th and 25th of this month with side events taking place and addressing the issues faced by minorities world-over. The Delegation consisted of Agha Marzooq Ali, […]

Static Demonstration in front of 10 Downing Street Has Been Called Off

File Picture

File Picture

After a consultative meeting of Hazara Diaspora in UK, it has been unanimously agreed to call off the protest in front of 10 Downing Street, London. The protest outside 10 Downing Street to be held on 12-11-2015 was announced two days ago after a joint meeting of Hazara International Forum of Great Britain, Hazara United Movement (HUM), United Kingdom and other campaigners had finalized the event. The decision to hold the protest in front of 10 Downing Street came with honest and sincere view that such step shall bring huge human rights violations of Hazaras of Afghanistan into international limelight and urge the international community for playing their pivotal role in providing security and protection to Hazaras and other minorities in Afghanistan.

However, some saboteurs hurriedly booked another venue outside Afghan Embassy, London to hold such protest. It was because of their short-sightedness and amateur approach towards sensitive political issues who regard Afghan Embassy London superior to other international organisations in the UK and believe that holding a protest there shall provide ultimate salvation to predicament of under-represented Hazaras in Afghanistan.

Therefore, HIFGB, HUMUK and others who had announced earlier to hold the protest in front of 10 Downing Street on 12-11-2015 has been called off to pay homage to the recently beheaded Hazaras of Afghanistan and express resolute support to their aggrieved families.

Protest in front of 10 Downing Street London on 12-11-2015 against persecution of Hazaras

File Picture

File Picture

Hazara United Movement (HUM), United Kingdom and Hazara International Forum of Great Britain have organised a protest in front of 10 Downing Street, London on 12-11-2015 to highlight the ongoing persecution of Hazaras in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The peaceful protest is taking place at a time when the kidnappings and brutal beheadings of Hazara men, women and children have become regular occurrences in volatile Afghanistan, especially the recent kidnapping of seven (7) Hazara men, women and children in Zabol Province. The dead bodies of the abductees were found on 07-11-2015 with their throats slits and decapitated. Although, terrorist organisations such as the Taliban and Daesh (the newly-emerging Middle Eastern terrorist group) are blamed for these atrocities, however, the Afghan government cannot turn a blind eye to these regular incidences of persecution. In truth, Ashraf Ghani’s covert support to these terrorist organisations has further deteriorated the situation.

This nine years old boy's throat was slit in Zabol province, Afghanistan.

This nine years old boy’s throat was slit in Zabol province, Afghanistan.

Similarly, the protest will also raise voice against ongoing targeted-attacks on Hazaras in Quetta, Pakistan which have gained momentum in the past week or so. These attacks occur in broad daylight in busy town centre in Quetta but the Balochistan provincial government and the federal government still fail to arrest the perpetrators. The 16 years’ long perpetual  targeted attacks on people of a particular ethnicity and faith amount to GENOCIDE by any definition and must be recognized as such. Whilst, the failure of government in non-arrest of target-killers shows its complicity in such crimes.

Please spread the news and participate in this protest in large numbers to record your voice against the killings of persecuted people. The details of the programme are as under:

Event: Peaceful Demonstration

Venue: 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA.

Date: 12-11-2015 (Thursday)

Time: 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Nearest Tube Station: Westminster (District, Circle and Jubilee Lines)

HUM Shall Raise the Issue of Genocide of Hazaras in the United Nations in Geneva this Year

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

This is extremely worrying to see that people are being target killed in Quetta, Pakistan because of their racial, religious and faith-based profiling. In contrast, the failure of Pakistani government and its security establishments in providing fool proof security and protection to minorities is perverse and inconsistent with Universal Charter of Human Rights and the Declaration of  the UN for Minorities. These resolutions obligate Pakistan, as a signatory, to ensure complete safety and protection of minorities at all cost. Unfortunately, the recent waves of targeted attacks of Hazaras and Shias in Quetta cast doubt over constitutional role of security agencies of Pakistan whose incompetence have caused panic and fear among citizens.

In the last five days, the targeted-killings of four (4) innocent people with another critically  injured in Quetta, Pakistan exhibit vacillation of Pakistani authorities in establishing its writ and ridding the country of the menaces of intolerance, religious extremism and terrorism. In comparison, Pakistani media regularly gives coverage to the press statements of banned religious and terrorist organisations. Media’s such irresponsible action is mockery of the law where Balochistan High Court, through its decision in 2013, forbade Pakistani media outlets from publishing statements of banned religious organisations.

The State owes a responsibility in implementing courts’ decision without fail and expeditious action should be taken against all those media groups responsible for promoting and glorifying heinous acts of intolerance and terrorism in the country.

Keeping in view the perpetual killings of Hazara minority in Pakistan and Afghanistan which have caused their unprecedented displacement and migration to other countries, HUM announces to raise these issues of  huge human rights violations at United Nations’ forthcoming session in November this year in Geneva.

HR Campaigners Pledge to Raise Voice for Minorities at All Platforms

Group of Panelist

Group of Panelist

A heart-warming event was organised by Never Forget, London on 19th September, 2015 at the heart of London to raise awareness about the rights of minorities. This time the rights of minorities of Pakistan were the focus of the event which started at 7:00 PM. Umer Tariq hosted the programme who announced the details to include a documentary on the abuse of blasphemy law in Pakistan and followed by interactive debate. The panel included Rev. Rana Youab Khan, Dr Lakhumal Luhana and Liaquat Ali Hazara who focused on the rights of Christians, the forced conversion of Hindu girls into Islam and the rights of Hazaras and their mass displacement as a result of ongoing targeted attacks on them.

In the beginning of the programme, a documentary on the abuse of blasphemy law was shown which depicted the plights of the Christian minority and their displacement in the wake of a personal dispute which was cunningly painted as blasphemy.

Followed by talks of the panelist where Rev. Rana Youab Khan mentioned that Pakistan came into being to protect the rights of minorities including Muslims who, in terms of population, were in minority at the time given the entire population of the then sub-content. Therefore, the state should safeguard the rights of minorities in today’s Pakistan. Although, Pakistan, after its formation is a Muslim country, it is essential that all minorities should enjoy their rights like other citizens. He said that Pakistan 97% population consists of Muslims and the remaining 3% is all non-Muslim minorities so there should be no genuine reason to be afraid of the 3% population. Reminiscing about the past, he continued that he was born and brought up in Pakistan and, until recently, he had never experienced such orthodox version of Islam which requires Muslims of wearing a hijab. Talking of his own sisters as an example, he said that they all grew up wearing a typical Dupatta and Chaadar like other women.
Focusing on blasphemy law, he said that everyone is afraid of talking about this in Pakistan due to imminent threats generating from extremists.

Dr. Lahkumal Luhana, the Chairman of World Sindhi Congress, sketched an overall dismal picture of Sindh province. He said that Sindhis are dying without empathy from the government although Pakistan’s large revenue generates from this province. He continued that parts of Sindh are badly affected by drought where livestock, women and children are affected alike, however, the government shows no interest towards this serious problem. He said that pain has no colour and however the countrymen are suffering or affected by the scale or frequency of pain, we must stand together to support them.
Talking about the forced conversion of Hindu girls into Islam, he lamented that nothing is falling on deaf ears of the government for this deplorable problem. He said that the Hindus are the only minority in Pakistan whose girls are forcibly converted into Islam and we have done anything to stop this menace. “This is very bad for Pakistan’s overall reputation and we must build up a momentum to stand up against such cruelty”, he exclaimed.

Liaquat Ali Hazara, Chairman Hazara United Movement (HUM), UK briefly mentioned about the history of Hazaras’ killings in Pakistan and maintained that by the definition of the Geneva Convention, the killings of Hazaras must be recognized and mentioned as Genocide. He briefly defined Genocide as, “the deliberate killings of a large number of people, particularly belonging to the same nation or ethnicity” He said that Pakistan was boastfully celebrating the 50th Anniversary of 1965 war on the occasion of its Independence and Defence Days in August and September this year, but no official tribute was paid to the then Commander-in-Chief who was a Hazara and the main architect of the victory. He said, “Pakistan owes an official apology to Hazaras. He demanded that either the Head of the State or the Chief Executive should officially apologize to the Hazaras for their incompetence in stopping their Genocide.
He said, “Balochistan has always been the most liberal and tolerant province in Pakistan where people of all ethnicities and nationalities have co-existed peacefully for centuries.” All the main stakeholders of the province such as the Baloch, Pakhtuns, Hazaras and Punjabi settlers have never had any factional disputes or sectarian animosity. Mentioning of Alamdar Road which constitute Hazara populace, he said that there were over 300 house of the Baloch who would enjoy their complete religious freedom, going to their mosques and mingling with their Hazaras friends but they were compelled to sell out their houses and locate to Baloch belt when terrorist attacks on Hazaras increased manifold.
He said that sectarianism never existed in Balochistan nor were their any target killers. Such menaces were imported into the province by the de facto rulers of the country to accomplish their ulterior motives.

At the end of session, questions relating to the protection of minorities were asked from the panelist which reflected on blasphemy law, the rights of Christians, Hindus and Hazaras etc and how the international community can be approached for a timely pressure on the Pakistani government for safeguarding minorities.