Designs behind Attacks on Hazara Community
Nationwide demonstrators, strikes and sit-in protests by the Shias enveloped various cities and towns of the country for four days in reaction to the deadly suicide attack which killed more than 100 persons of the Hazara Shias in Quetta at Kirani Road, Hazara Town, on February 17, this year.
Even, leaders of the Sunni political and religious parties strongly condemned the incident, expressing solidarity with the Hazara community. In this regard, representatives of non-governmental organisations and human rights activists also participated in the protest, carrying banners, inscribed with anti-government slogans.
Thousands of Hazara Shias refused to bury victims of their community, demanding that they be provided security and the army should be called into Quetta, and immediate action should be taken against the extremist militant group, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi.
However, after the government accepted the demands of the protesters, upon appeal of the Shia Ulema Council, the protesters decided to call off the sit-in and to bury the dead bodies. Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf directed a targeted operation against the terrorists in province of Balochistan, conducted by the Frontier Corps (FC). In this respect, security forces have killed four men and arrested seven culprits including mastermind of the Kirani road terror attack, while Police has rounded up 172 suspected people including the provincial chief of extremist Sunni outfit Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat.
A similar sort of protest and rallies took place, after suicide bombers killed 92 people of the Shias of the Haza community in Quetta on January 10. For that deadly attack also, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi had owned responsibility. Taking cognisance of the reaction of the Hazara Shias, leaders of political parties including those of the ruling party regarding Quetta blasts, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf imposed governor’s rule in Balochistan. Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani who failed in controlling the deteriorating law and order situation of the trouble-hit province went abroad to avoid criticism about that incident.
Although sporadic sectarian violence against these Muslim Shias has accelerated, yet it cannot be seen in isolation as it includes multiple anti-Pakistan designs. It is notable that secret agencies like American CIA, Israeli Mossad and Indian RAW are behind sectarian violence in Pakistan, which has been accelerated in the past few years. In fact, the US had planned to spark a civil war between the Sunnis and Shias in wake of war on terror. So, we cannot blame these secret agencies without solid evidence.
For the purpose, a study of the Rand Corporation, titled ‘US Strategy in the Muslim World After 9/11’ was conducted on behalf of the then US Deputy Chief of Staff for Air Force. The report of the Rand Corporation-a leading think tank, released on December 27, 2004 advocated that Sunni-Shia sectarian division should be exploited to promote the US objectives in the Muslim World.
The report of the Rand Corporation was first implemented in Iraq. In this context, CIA also got the services of Mossad and RAW to fuel sectarian violence in Iraq. In 2004, major terror-attacks were carried out against the Shias in Karbala and Baghdad. Afterwards, a chain of Shia-Sunni clashes started between Iraqi Shias and Sunnis, targeting each other’s mosques, religious leaders through bomb blasts, suicide attacks etc.
After Iraq’s experiment, more deadly pattern of sectarian strife and clashes have been conducted in Pakistan. While in Balochistan, besides other acts of sabotage, sectarian assaults on Shias, particularly on those of Hazaras have continued in order to fuel sectarian riots in the province. In this context, on September 3, 2010, a deadly suicide attack in Quetta killed more than 55 people who participated in the rally of the Al-Quds Day. In another violent attack, on July 30, 2011, 12 persons were shot dead in Quetta when unidentified armed men opened fire at Suzuki van. During the months of June and July, in four separate incidents, around 40 Shia Muslims were gunned down in Quetta. On many occasions, Shia pilgrims were killed by the unidentified gunmen who targetted passenger vehicles, carrying them from Quetta to Iran. Nevertheless, attacks on the Hazara Shias keep on going unabated.
In fact, some banned religious outfits like Lashkar-i-Janghvi and the Sunni militant group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have claimed responsibility for a number of terror assaults on Shias, especially of Hazara community in Balochistan get arms and ammunition from RAW and CIA. These foreign-backed militants groups are behind target killing of many Sunni and Shia leaders, political figures of these sects, bomb blasts etc. in order to achieve the covert aims of the US, India and Israel.
These insurgent groups kidnapped and killed many Iranian nationals in Pakistan including Iranian diplomats. Jundollah conducted many subversive acts in Pakistan’s Balochistan and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan. In this regard, Tehran has directly accused CIA of funding these types of terror attacks.
While hinting towards US, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei rightly disclosed, “The bloody actions being committed in Iraq, Pakistan and Iran are aimed at creating a division between the Shias and Sunnis…those who carry out these terrorist actions are directly or indirectly foreign agents.”
Reliable sources suggest that Lashkar-i-Janghvi, Jundollah, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other similar fundamentalist organisations have close connections with each other, while RAW has hired the services of the Indian Muslims who have penetrated in these extremist outfits which are not only behind sectarian violence in other parts of the country, but are also targeting the people of Hazara community in Balochistan.
It is mentionable that killings of Hazara Shias is part of the strategic game of US, India and Israel to create unrest in Balochistan which has ideal geo-political location—and especially due to its Gwadar Seaport which can link Central Asia with rest of the world. China has invested billions of dollars to develop this port. Besides other subversive activities in the province, Islamabad’s recent decision to handover the control of Gwadar Seaport to Beijing coincided with the terror assaults on these Shias of the Hazara community, while now the agreement has been signed between both the countries. Moreover, sectarian violence in Balochistan also coincided with the implementation of Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project, and in this context, Pakistan rejected US pressure.
Moreover, Pakistan is a declared atomic country, while Iran is determined to continue its peaceful nuclear programme. Therefore, US-led India and Israel have been sabotaging Pak-Iranian ties clandestinely, and by also assisting Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and other separatist elements to dismember Pakistan. These hostile elements are behind the bombings on the Hazara Shias in Quetta.
It is of particular attention that in Balochistan, Pakistan’s law-enforcing agencies and intelligence organisations have thwarted many terror attempts of the militants through pre-arrests, discovery of weapons and huge explosive material, suicide jackets etc.
And several personnel of the security forces have sacrificed their lives for improving situation in the province. But, while speaking in the tone of foreign enemies, some political entities have been holding the Frontier Corps (FC), country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) for deteriorating law and order situation of Balochistan. Otherwise, it is responsibility of the federal and provincial governments unless army is called to take full control of the province. Some media anchors have also been criticising army and intelligence agencies without any logic. Regrettably, those political parties who were misguiding the general masses about Pak Army and ISI about the aggravated situation of Balochistan including missing persons to increase their vote bank have been urging the government to handover the control of the province to these security forces.
As regards allegations and counter allegations of our politicians, notably, in the 2010, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer (The Late) disclosed that Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has links with Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi. Therefore, he is not taking effective measures against these banned outfits to curb extremism and sectarianism in Punjab.
At this sensitive juncture, Pakistan’s politicians and media including all the segments of society must show selfless unity with the security forces and law-enforcing agencies so as to improve the deteriorated situation of Balochistan, and to castigate the sinister designs of those external powers which seek to dismember Pakistan.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations