From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not Much
Mains level : Persecution of minorities in neighbouring countries
Pakistan’s Hazaras finally ended a protest and agreed to bury the bodies of 11 coal miners from the community killed by the IS.
Genocide and Pakistan are the two inseparable metaphors. Pakistan’s treatment of its minorities is the least highlighted global violation of Human Rights. Hindus, Sikhs and Christians are the most persecuted communities.
Who are the Hazaras?
- 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 marginalization 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.
- Persecution of the Shiite Hazaras is nothing new in Pakistan or neighbouring Afghanistan.
- They have been frequently targeted by Taliban and IS militants and other militant groups in both countries.
Causes of persecution: Ethnicity and Religion
- 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.
- This sets them apart from their neighbours in Pakistan and other communities within Afghanistan.
An attempted ethnic cleansing
- 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.
- 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 its minorities.