Media blackout on Parachinar Shia killings
Leading Pakistani scholars strongly condemn the ‘western media censor-policy’ over the Shia Muslim killings in the northwestern city of Parachinar.
Political experts and religious scholars, attending a summit in the Iranian city of Qom, emphasized on the necessity to launch a regional media campaign to raise global awareness about the issue.
The summit held in Iranian city of Qom under the banner “Holocaust of Shias in Parachinar,” came in the wake of the killings of hundreds of Shia community-members over the past six months in Parachinar and Hangu.
Pro-Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants, who are reportedly behind the killings, have imposed an economic blockade against the Shia-dominated population areas.
The frequent incidents have raised concerns among human rights group, while moderate Pakistani Sunni groups have described the issue as a conspiracy against the country.
Taliban leaders, who were toppled in the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan, took refuge to tribal regions in Pakistan and rapidly began to extend heir influence from tribes to major towns and cities.
The pro-Taliban anti-Shia groups have launched a violent campaign against the Shia Muslims, and are stretching the campaign toward the restive southwestern Pakistan as well.
Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s restive southwestern Balochistan province has witnessed several instances of violence directed against the Hazara Shia community in recent months.
Several Shia religious gatherings have also been targeted in central province of Punjab over the past some months.
Tehran has repeatedly cautioned Islamabad over the ‘silent massacre’ of its Shia community by the Taliban in the country. “The incidents that have occurred against Pakistan’s Shia community are a plot to create conflict between the region’s Sunni and Shia population,” said Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.
“We have warned Islamabad over the incidents and we will follow up on the matter,” he added.
Shia sources say they make up one-third of Pakistan’s population of nearly 160 million. Since the 1980s, thousands of people have been killed in sectarian-related incidents in Pakistan.
Ayatollah Naser Makarem-Shirazi, one of the top ranking Maraje’ Taqlid in
Hawzah al-’Ilmiyah Qom, said:
“Taleban, al-Qa’edah and extremist Wahhabis have committed a massacre in
Parachinar Pakistan that is worse than Gaza. They have beheaded 600 hundred
people, cut off hands of women and children.
Why is the Pakistan government sitting idle and watching this happen? Is
Parachinar not part of Pakistan? Pakistan government, which has a duty to
defend its people, is not helping its own people and genocide is taking
place before its eyes.
Just as we raised our voices loudly about the crimes the people of Gaza, we
should also scream and yell in support of people of Parachinar because
Foreign Ministry and Official Media have remained silent and do not speak
about these inhuman acts.
Foreign Ministry must awaken the international organizations to these
tragedies and demand from them to send teams to investigate the crimes
committed in Parachinar.
It has been 10 months that the area of Parachinar has been besieged and
permission has not been granted to deliver food and medicines.”