There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds
—Laurell K Hamilton
This quote reminded me of what a Hazara man told someone after the recent Shia carnage in Mastung, Balochistan.
The man, who lost his wife and daughters in a suicide attack on Shia pilgrims, said: “Yeh jo mai aap ko dikh raha hoon na, yeh mai nahi hoon. Andar se mai khaali hoon abb” [What you see is not what I am. I am completely empty from inside now]. After every attack on the Shias, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) claims responsibility, but the state does not budge.
A crackdown against the LeJ was announced after the Mastung attack but, as expected, it was only a sham exercise.
Shia Muslims are being killed across the country while their killers roam our streets with impunity. When one condemns these attacks, nay genocide, one is asked why just condemn Shia killings and why not other attacks.
The answer is simple: while one does indeed condemn all murders, the reason we need to highlight Shia genocide is because they are being killed for their ‘sect’ in this land of the (im)pure. While there is no dearth of terror attacks, other victims of terror in Pakistan are not asked to step down from a bus and show their identity cards to see whether their name is ‘Shia’ enough or not; one is not target-killed for either going to or coming back from performing Hajj or Umrah in Saudi Arabia, one is target-killed either when they are en route to or coming back from ziyaarat (pilgrimage) in Iran; one is not killed because of slogans like ‘Kaafir, kaafir…Shia kaafir’.
Death of an innocent is heart-wrenching as it is but when you are specifically being hounded because you belong to a different sect, it makes life all the more difficult. You know your country and society have hit rock-bottom when a conversation between a six-year-old and an 11-year-old revolves around the fact they can both be killed because they have Shia ‘names’.
Every day there is violence in the form of targeted killings, bomb blasts, suicide attacks, etc. Every day one dreads to turn on the television because one bad news after another has now become the norm.
Every day is a struggle for people in Pakistan. Every day one thinks whether one should stay in this country or leave it (even if it means living like a second-class citizen in another country).
Unfortunately for us Pakistanis, our state really does not give a damn as is evident from this ironic twist of fate that our prime minister — who made a guest appearance in the National Assembly after more than seven months (please note that he assumed office just eight months ago) — has decided to give the Taliban ‘another’ chance as the Dawn headline puts it.
How long will our military and civilian rulers keep giving ‘another’ chance to mass murderers? We are sick and tired of being called a resilient nation. We do not need resilience any more; resilience can go shove itself where it belongs.
We need our rulers to take charge and eradicate terrorism once and for all. Enough!
The writer is a Pakistani journalist. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org