THE BLOG

Pakistan Needs Help in Combatting Its Terrorists

29/07/2013 16:06 BST | Updated 28/09/2013 10:12 BST

For the last few weeks the Parliamentary Human Rights Group has been sending reports to the UN Special Rapporteurs on Extrajudicial Executions and Religious Freedom on the incessant massacres and targeted assassinations of Shia Muslims in Pakistan, in the hope that the UN will take action about what can only be described as an incipient genocide.

In the latest atrocity, at least 57 people were killed and 190.wounded in a bombing attack on a market in Parachinar, near the border with Afghanistan. Among the victims were two men initially wounded in the attack, who were being taken to a medical centre by ambulance.

Dozens of seriously wounded victims remained untreated, however, because the road from Parachinar to Peshawar, the only way out of this isolated corner of Pakistan, is itself infested by terrorists who regularly murder Shia travellers. The town is effectively blockaded, leading to shortages of medicines and foodstuffs.

The families repeatedly asked the authorities to provide helicopter ambulances to take the most seriously injured to Peshawar, but their appeals fell on deaf ears.

Neither the Chief Minister of the province, nor anybody from the federal government, visited the scene of the carnage. The former cricketer Imran Khan, the local MP, was conspicuously absent

The Pakistani Taliban were responsible for this outrage, but in a country wide pogrom against the Shia Muslims, a variety of terrorist groups have murdered several hundred in 2013 alone, and an estimated 21,000 since the killings began to accelerate in 2006.

There is no social security for the bereaved families of all these atrocities. They have to rely on the charity of communities under siege, whose earning capacity is seriously impaired.

These groups share a common ideology of hatred against anybody who doesn't follow their brand of fundamentalist Sunni Islam, describing them as 'wajib-ul-qatl', Urdu for 'deserving to be killed'. Christians and Ahmadi Muslims are also in the frame, but the Shia, Pakistan's largest religious minority, are by far the most numerous victims.

Children are being indoctrinated into this mindset by Saudi-funded madrassas.

The terrorists have exploded large bombs like the one in Parachinar in other cities, notably Quetta, home to tens of thousands of Shia. They also stop buses, separate the passengers by religion, and shoot dead the Shia.

There are also targeted assassinations of community leaders and intellectuals.

The perpetrators are seldom arrested, even more rarely brought to trial, and practically never imprisoned.

In the last few days, however, attempts to set off explosions in Quetta, Multan, Karachi have been foiled, and the perpetrators were either arrested or were killed by their own bombs.

So far, appeals to the UN's Special Procedures which are supposed to protect human rights have met with no response. Yet Ban Ki-moom, UN Secretary-General, says that:

"All victims of human right abuses should be able to look to the Human Rights Council as a forum and springboard for action"

The Government's Senior Minister of State at the Foreign Office, Baroness Warsi, who also has responsibility for the UK's relations with Pakistan, has now been asked to approach the Secretary-General, with a view to the appointment of a Special Representative to investigate the assassinations and massacres of Shia in Pakistan; to see whether Pakistan needs help in combating the terrorists, and to look at the provision of assistance to the bereaved families.