Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

In the shadow of violence, Quetta’s divides multiply

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Persecution can bring people together. It can also prise them apart.

In Pakistan, so many minorities are threatened by homicidal extremists that travelling the country can feel like hopping across an archipelago of communities under varying degrees of siege.

Rarely is the impression stronger than in Quetta, the fear-filled capital of Baluchistan province, and a cauldron of the bigotry and intolerance that has poisoned so much of Pakistan’s body politic.

A wave of killings unleashed on the Hazara community has left its 500,000 members afraid to venture out of their enclaves in the east and west of the city. At least 100 have been killed in Quetta and its environs since January. Nobody has been prosecuted.

Hazaras blame Lashkar-e-Jhangvi , a Sunni militant group, for the killings. The group has stepped up its campaign against Pakistan’s Shi’ite minority this year, spreading fear from hamlets in the foothills of the Himalayas to the backstreets of Karachi. The Hazaras of Quetta, who are Shi’ites, have suffered the heaviest losses.

The killers of Quetta

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Cut-out cardboard hearts, stars and a slogan that cheerfully declares “The Earth Laughs In Flowers” adorn the classrooms of the Ummat Public School in the Pakistani city of Quetta.

The bright images cannot dispel the sense of foreboding shared by dozens of teenage girls seated at their desks, all members of the town’s Hazara community.

Can Pakistan’s ISI sever ties with Taliban?

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The United States has begun demanding rather publicly that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence make a clean break of its ties with the Afghan Taliban to help stabilise the situation in Afghanistan.

But can you force a country to act against its self-interest, despite all all your leverage, asks Robert D. Kaplan  in a piece for the Atlantic. And does it make sense for an intelligence agency to break off all contact with arguably the biggest player in the region?

Lashkar-e-Taiba threatens more violence in Kashmir

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The Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based militant group blamed by India for last November’s assault on Mumbai, has threatened more violence in Kashmir after a five-day gunbattle that killed 25 people, including eight Indian troops.

A spokesman for the group, speaking from an undisclosed location, said: “India should understand the freedom struggle in Kashmir was not over, it is active with full force.”

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