## Qaim Foundation demands Pakistan govt to provide security to Shias ##
In a letter to the Pakistan High Commission in Canberra, Australia, the Qaim Foundation Australia (QFA), a non-profit organization of the Shia Ithna Asheri Muslim community has strongly condemned the targeted killing of Shia Muslims in Pakistan and has asked the Imran Khan government to provide security to Shias.
The letter – signed by Resident Aalim of QFA, Maulana S. Abul Qasim Rizvi Sahb; QFA President Anayat Arifi, and Secretary Nasir Ali – has requested the Pakistan High Commission to forward the matter to the government of Pakistan “to take actions against these enemies of Pakistan that are causing atrocities to innocent civilians”.
Over the years, the Shias of Pakistan, which account for 15-20 per cent of the total Muslim population the country, have been specifically targeted and killed by machine guns and suicide bombers. They have been killed inside mosques and shopping markets, while on pilgrimage to Iran and even at funerals. the most vulnerable of them is the Hazara community in Quetta region. Hazaras have been the victims when extremists have gunned down buses packed with pilgrims heading to Iran via the Pakistan-Iran border at Baluchistan. In 2011, extremist organisations in Quetta sent an open letter to the Shia Hazara people stating: “All Shias are worthy of killing and the intention is to make Pakistan their graveyard.”
The letter further stated that the Shia community does not support the “poor views” of Shia cleric Asif Alvi and other zakireens.
“We Shia do not consider the poor of view of Asif Alvi and other zakireen, and Pakistani Shias and state should not consider it as well. Our Marjas Syed Sistani and Syed Ali Khamenei has clear instructions about the respect of Muqqdisaat Ahle Sunnah. State should take action against these zakireens,” the letter read.
Cleric Asif Alvi has been accused of insulting the holy figures of Islam (First Khalifa of Islam Hazzrat Abu Baker Siddique R.T.A.). An FIR under Sections 295A, 298A and 109 has also been lodged against him in Islamabad on August 25, 2020. Sunni religious scholars say that Alvi is involved in fanning the flames of sectarianism in Pakistan.
QFA, in its letter, also condemned the mass protests led by anti-Shia group Sipah-e-Sahaba and said that the Pakistani government “must take action as they are declaring Shia ‘Kafir’ (infidel)”.
“This is a banned organization and they have only changed their clothes. Because of such organizations, Pakistan is in the grey list which is against the institution of Pakistan. We demand the state to take immediate action,” it said.
The foundation also condemned all those “who raise voice in favour of yazid”.
“All Muslims know he was the enemy of Islam, enemies of our great prophet. If we don’t stop these people here, then Pakistan should not have any right to defend Toheen-e-Risaalat as yazid has done the biggest Toheen-e-Risaalat in the world,” QFA said.
“We Shias, consider Sunni Muslims our brothers, and united we can do a lot for a bright Pakistan,” it added.
A report by the Human Rights Watch states that more than 500 Shia Hazaras have been killed since 2008. According to another report, by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, around 600 Shias were killed between 1999 and 2003 as a result of extremist violence.
While there has been a general decline in violence against Shiites since 2013, sectarian attacks continue unabated in several pockets of the country. In a recent incident, thousands of Sunni extremists hit the streets of Karachi to lead anti-Shia protests with several of them pelting stones at an Imambargah (congregation halls for Shia Muslims during ceremonies).