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Killing of Hazaras a wake-up call

Wednesday 16 January 2013

By M K Bhadrakumar – January 13, 2013

The savage killings of Hazara Shias in Pakistan have implications for regional security. The fallouts for Afghanistan can be particularly serious. The past week’s killings in Quetta come as a ‘wake-up call’ for Iran as well. Indeed, the Iranian reaction has been very sharp.

While the western media saw the latest outbreak of violence against Hazara Shias as carried out by sectarian Sunni organisations in Pakistan and Pakistani politicians see them as acts of terrorism, friendly countries have rushed to pass judgment. Both Washington and Moscow concluded that the violence in Quetta was pure terrorism and they expressed solidarity with Islamabad.

But the Human Rights Watch criticises the Pakistani government to task for its failure to curb the anti-Shia violence. The Iranian commentaries go a big step further by naming the Pakistani government as virtually complicit in promoting the Wahabbi outfits which perpetrate the anti-Shia pogroms.

A prominent Iranian expert voiced the following opinion on Press TV: ”In spite of a salvo of ethnic killings in the country, the government [in Islamabad] turns a blind eye to the tragedy and refuses to take any measures whatsoever in curtailing the inhuman trend. The reason may be tracked down to the fact that militancy has been implicitly backed by government-affiliated organizations such as ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence] and the intelligence agencies for the past two decades… Unfortunately, the Pakistani government has consistently tried to put a lid on these crimes, attribute them to sectarian violence and refuse to arrest the guilty parties.”

Quite obviously, unlike Washington and Moscow, Tehran still recalls vividly that the US and its Arab allies and Pakistan first introduced Wahhabism to the region to bleed the Soviet Red Army in Afghanistan, and after having brilliantly succeeded, they went on to turn the very same instruments of regional strategy into the Taliban to use it against Shi’ite Iran — and more recently by creating the Jundullah.

Iran sees the hand of the US and its Arab allies behind the ascendancy of Wahhabism in Pakistan — similar to what has been happening in Syria as well.

The latest bout of ethnic cleansing in Quetta had targeted the Hazara Shia community. This has serious overtones for the Afghan situation. The Hazaras have been implacable foes of the Pashtun-dominated Taliban.

The Hazaras have just been reminded what the return of Taliban rule in Afghanistan could mean for them as an ethnic minority. Being a staunch promoter of Hazara interests in Afghanistan, Tehran too would have reason to be worried.

The Iranians won’t buy into the myth that Taliban ideology has transformed. Tehran’s worry is, can the Taliban leopard change its spots? Indeed, the events in Quetta somewhat dented the propaganda that the Taliban are willing to co-habitate with other ethnic groups. Read the Press TV commentary here.

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