Alan Whitehead

Labour MP for Southampton Test

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Alan calls on Pakistani government to protect Hazaras' human rights

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During a debate in the House of Commons on Monday, Alan called on the Pakistani Government and international agencies to ensure the human rights of the Hazara community. 

The Hazara are an indigenous people of Afghanistan who are predominantly but not exclusively Shi’a Muslims. In both Afghanistan and Pakistan the Hazara community has suffered historically from enormous persecution, which continues today.

In part, the Hazara are victims of the violence against Shi’a Muslims and other religious minorities that is endemic in Pakistan and has featured strongly in the history of Afghanistan but Hazaras have suffered disproportionately, in part because their distinct ethnic identity makes them easily identifiable and targets for prejudice and discrimination.

Hazaras living in the Pakistani city of Quetta are being targeted in drive-by shootings, suicide bombers, rocket attacks and car bombs. The community is offered little protection by the regional authorities.

Speaking during the debate, Alan said:

"When asked how he intended to “stem the tears” of the Hazara community following the deaths of 140 people killed by a bus bomb whilst on a pilgrimage, the then Chief Minister of Balochistan said:

“Of the millions who live in Balochistan, 40 dead in Mastung is not a big deal. I will send a truckload of tissue papers to the bereaved families.”

That is the reality of life for Hazaras in Pakistan and in other places. It is incumbent on us to raise the issue internationally and to call on the Pakistan Government and international agencies to ensure that the rights that any of us would expect are protected, including the rights of this vibrant community, part of which I am delighted to say is resident in my constituency."

 

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