Pakistan’s Hazara population, a predominantly Shiite Muslim ethnic minority, has long been subjected to persecution, and in recent months, increasing violence. Yet in a disturbing new trend, members of the Sunni extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has claimed responsibility for several attacks targeting the country’s Hazara, have begun filming deadly assaults on the community and posting the videos online.
Filmed just outside of Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s western Balochistan province and home to a large Hazara community, the video below contains graphic images. A number of Hazara fruit and vegetable sellers were en route to Quetta from a suburb dubbed “Hazara Town” on October 4, when the bus they were travelling on was forced to stop by a group of armed men. Aiming their weapons into the vehicle, the assailants killed 13 of the passengers in cold blood.
The incident was reported by local media
, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has ties to both al Qaeda and the Taliban, came forward to claim responsibility for the massacre. Footage of the attack later surfaced on the Internet.
WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS DISTURBING IMAGES
Though the video is several months old, it is representative of the kind of deadly violence that has become increasingly commonplace in the region. The last known attack happened on June 28
, when a car bomb struck a bus carrying a group of Hazara on a road near Quetta. Thirteen people were killed and 25 others injured. The next day, members of the city’s Hazara community staged a demonstration to protest against the bloodshed.
According to Abdul Qayuum Changezi, head of the organisation Hazara Jarga, approximately 60 Hazaras have been killed since January alone, while more than 600 have been killed since 2000.