February 7, 2012.
Widespread fear of harassment, discrimination and killings has prompted some Hazara community members living in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province in southwestern Pakistan, to consider leaving the country, even by illegal means.
The Hazaras constitute a distinct ethnic group, with some accounts tracing their history to central Asia. Almost all belong to the Shia Muslim sect, speak a dialect of Farsi, and are concentrated in central Afghanistan and some parts of Pakistan. There are some 6,000 to 7,000 Hazaras in the country, according to a Hazara chief, Sardar Saadat Ali.
Statements to the media from top government officials, including the chief minister of Balochistan, have also been perceived as insensitive in their failure to strongly condemn killings that some commentators have described as a “genocide”. Others in Pakistan are demanding that the International Court of Justice look into the matter.