Senior Iranian cleric has asked Imran Khan-led government in Pakistan to put an end to the targeted killings of the Shia Hazaras. The Shia Muslims are considered “followers of the Ahl ul-Bayt (AS)” or the holy family of Prophet Muhammad.
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Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi has condemned the recent attack on the Shia Hazara community in Balochistan, in which 11 men were killed by Islamic State terrorists.
“The recent crime in Bolan, Balochistan, filled the hearts of all followers of the Qur’an, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and His Household around the world with sorrow and filled their hearts with anger,” the Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi as saying.
He said: “Continuation of the crimes by the Takfiri groups in Pakistan and the targeted killing of the followers of the Ahl ul-Bayt (AS) in this Islamic land have grieved and affected me and all those who are interested in the religion greatly.”
The coal miners were killed in Machh town near Quetta. The Islamic State terrorists had pulled out ethnic Hazaras, members of Pakistan’s Shia minority community, from their homes and opened fired at them. The Islamic State had later claimed responsibility for the attack.
Condemning the government’s inability “to curb this great crisis” that began several decades ago, the cleric said every day the bad news of new murders and terrorist operations is heard and the Pakistani government, the judiciary, military, and security organizations have not been able to curb this crisis.
The families had refused to bury the dead unless Prime Minister Imran Khan visited them. On Saturday, Khan had reached Quetta following which the protest was lifted and the dead were buried.
Khan assured that he would take care of the families and said that “we will pursue those responsible for the incident”. He said he was in contact with the intelligence agencies.
The Shias account for 10 to 15 percent of the Muslim population in Pakistan. The ethnic group of Hazaras, primarily based in Afghanistan, has a population of around 650,000 to 900,000 in Pakistan.
Their status as an ethnic and religious minority coupled with their distinct physical characteristics due to their Mongoloid origin makes them easy targets of extremist Sunni groups — the Taliban and the Islamic State.