THIS refers to recent killings of Hazaras which is the worst blow to the community in history. We, Hazaras, now have to fear our shadows as there is no visible difference between a friend and a foe.
It would not be surprising if a friend targets you. The same happened on Jan 10 in Quetta when an Edhi ambulance, which is supposed to take the injured to the hospital, was filled with explosives and detonated.
The blast was so powerful that it shook buildings lying in a radius of two kilometres. My house is about 500 meters away from where the blast occurred. But the blast shook our house so badly that I thought as if it had occurred on our own street.
I ran outside madly because my brother who had just arrived from Lahore was missing. There were no mobile phone signals. I found my brother alive but there were many families who lost their loved ones in the blast.
The atmosphere was full of melancholic faces and people were rushing from one Imambargah to the other and one hospital to the other to find their missing loved ones.
The depressing and emotional scenes pained the hearts as relatives of victims tried to find their loved ones. An old woman was trying to find her son who was missing since last night. In short, one can say it was doomsday.
This incident will be considered a security failure on the part of police officials. In my opinion, putting the blame on the police is totally unjustified, because the police are never meant or trained to tackle the matters pertaining to national security.
The responsibility totally falls on the shoulders of intelligence agencies and the army. Owing to negligence of such institutions the burden on the incompetent police increases and the situation gets from bad to worse.
If I say no institution is performing its duties with responsibility, it would not be an exaggeration. If the customs department restricts the smuggling of non – customs – paid vehicles, if the FIA stops the infiltration of unregistered perpetrators and the FC and if the army puts constraints over free movement of explosives from borders, then in no way such incidents would occur.
As a result, the police will perform their assigned duties of checking street crimes and other crimes against life and property with ease.
The real misery is that all of these departments have no coordination and even some of them look down upon each other and consider it a matter of ego.
In a nutshell, time is running out and people have lost their trust in the government. The rampant extremism and loss of lives are testing their patience and they are questioning their allegiance to the Constitution. God forbid, a day may come when they take the law into their hands by saying they do not trust security agencies.
WHILE I was sitting in my office, my cellphone beeped. I picked it up and opened the inbox. In reply to my text asking about if he was all right, my Hazara teacher, also a well-known Persian poet named Ali Baba, said: “God saved me, I was there. But I lost my friend Irfan.” My heart sank. To make sure, I asked: “Irfan? The same one I contacted a year ago.” He said: “Yes.”
I was shocked. I was about to text him too. He was Irfan Khudi Ali, a human rights and peace activist from the Hazara community, Quetta. He was a young, bright and lovely fellow. How did this happen suddenly? I could not focus on my work. I recalled the year 2011 when I contacted him for the first time to get some help for my research work on Balochistan.
He provided me one of his research papers on human rights. There were many occasions when he was ready to help me in the best possible way. We used to talk mostly via text messages. I remember the longest conversation we had was on Oct 30, 2011, the day when Imran Khan held his Lahore rally at Minar-i-Pakistan.
The focus on our discussion remained the role of Imran Khan and his party in the current political situation of Pakistan. After a long discussion we ended and said goodbye.
I could never imagine that it would be my last conversation with him. Although I never met this brave man, it was always a pleasure to talk to him. It is hard to bear the loss of not only the Hazara community but also of all who are killed in Pakistan.