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Countless incidents of target killings, blasts and violence attacks on Imam Bargahs, Majalis, and Shia communities can tell us that a person’s faith can determine the kinds of interactions he or she will have to the society—and how likely it is that he or she will survive the encounter. At this point, this reality is largely beyond debate. Yet the topic of Shia Genocide (unarmed Shia people being killed by the religious fanatics of banned outfits) at wildly disproportionate rates is often dubbed “controversial,” and is framed as an issue about which reasonable people can disagree. It’s not.
Many characterize the dilemma as the result of a lack of faith in “one nation” or “one ummah” thing; others call it a conspiracy against the country and involvement of some third hand. That obscures the problem. The term “Shia Genocide,” which has been used to draw attention to the problem, has inspired its own pushback, with critics suggesting to call the victims just Pakistanis or Muslims.
That’s hugely confusing mainly because when people thriving on sectarian hate and violence make public statements about Shias being the infidel and their follower’s tweet hate speech and distribute literature saying “kill Shia infidels” and wall chalk the same slogans, you just can’t call these killings random.
Why it is so hard for everyone to understand that innocent people are being killed just for being a Shia; while doing absolutely nothing wrong. The fact that it is happening, that those responsible may never be held responsible, and that it hasn’t led to the national consensus of horror and outrage, paints a clear picture of the reality that people are protesting against when they call it Shia Genocide.
Sectarian bias isn’t necessarily about how a person views himself (righteous) in terms of beliefs, but how he views others (infidels) in terms of beliefs. Being a Pakistani, I’m well aware of this lack of regard for the tragedies that befall Shia community.
While it’s worth noting that the groups that have protested against sectarian violence in recent years have been extremely diverse, there’s a huge unity when it comes to how people see the problem of calling these killings genocide. The lack of compassion from my countrymen adds another layer of pain to the distress caused by the deaths themselves.