- Posted October 4, 2013 by
Hazara tribe of Afghanistan, Pakistan & Iran.
The Hazara Tribe - is primarily a Persian-speaking tribe which mainly originates from central Afghanistan. They are overwhelmingly Shia (minority) Muslim sect and are said to make up towards the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, forming about 9% but according to other (private) sources this count could exceed up to 19% of the total population. More than 650,000 Hazara may be found living in neighbouring Pakistan and Iran. The origins of this tribe have not been fully reconstructed, but according to some documented accounts in historical context they could be referred to as Mongolian and Turkic mainly because of their physical attributes, facial bone structures and parts of their culture and language resemble those of Mongolians and Central Asian Turks. Thus, it is widely believed that Hazara tribe have Mongolian ancestry. This claim could partially be supported by genetic tests and reasonable historical research.
The first mention in documented history of Hazara Tribe was made by first Mugal Emperor of India Babur in the early 16th century and later by the court historians of Shah Abbas of the Safavid dynasty. It is also reported that they embraced Shia sect of Islam between the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century, during the Safavid period.
Now having a deep look at the Hazara tribe history in 21st century in Afghanistan where this tribe has the thickest of populations. As historically Afghanistan has been one of the poorest countries in the world, the Hazarajat region has been kept even poorer from development by the past governments. Since ousting the Taliban in late 2001, billions of dollars have poured into Afghanistan for reconstruction and several mega-scale projects took place in country from August 2012 onwards, but this tribe and their infrastructure has been neglected, perhaps the donors have been kept in the dark (perhaps on purpose) or they (donors) have choose to (knowingly) turn a blind eye (reason best known to the so called fair International polices) of our free world.
Most of Pakistani Hazara tribe today live in the city of Quetta, in the province of Balochistan. Literacy level among the Hazara community in Pakistan is relatively high compared to the ones living in Afghanistan, and they have integrated well into the social dynamics of the local environment, a clear example is that Saira Batool, a Hazara tribe female, was one of the first pilots in Pakistan Air Force. Other notable Hazara include Qazi Mohammad Esa, Gen retired Muhammad Musa, who served as Commander in Chief of the Pakistani armed forces from 1958 to 1968, Air Marshal Sharbat Ali Changezi, Hussain Ali Yousafi, the ruthlessly slain chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party, Syed Nasir Ali Shah, member national assembly from Quetta and his father Haji Syed Hussain Hazara who was a senator and member of majlis shora during the martial law regime of late army strongman Zia-ul-Haq. Agha Abbas and his son Agha Ghulam Ali, owners of Agha Juice, a famous fruit juice company in the country established in 1960, who were murdered separately in May 2002 and January 2007.
Despite all of this, Hazaras are often targeted by militant groups of Pakistan such as the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Activists and media in general claim that hundreds have been murdered in and around Quetta since lawlessness in Pakistan started reportedly by some majority sunni Muslim groups, this all is according to published media reports and Human Rights Watch groups. The political representation of the community is served by Hazara Democratic Party, a secular liberal democratic party.
Over the years as a result of political unrest in Afghanistan some Hazaras have managed and migrated to Iran. They also have complained of discrimination in Iran. In March of 2011, a local media outlet Eurasia Daily Monitor reported that representatives of Hazara community in Iran have asked Mongolia to intervene in supporting their case with Iranian government and prevent Iranian forced repatriation to Afghanistan. But of late no news of use of force has come out of Iran but since Iran is a Shia sect majority state and the Sunni (majority Islamic sect globally) is in minority over there so chances are that this tribe does have a good chance of integration and acceptance within the main stream.
In conclusion the majority Muslim countries are ruled by the Sunni sect, headed by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, wide speculations are that all this unrest and highhandedness towards minority sects is usually organised by Sunni hard-line clergy and their governments seem to simply ignore this and as a result all minority sects suffer. Rule of law and fairness towards all has been a major issue in these parts of the world all along, but now it is becoming more and more official.
All minorities living under such oppressive regimes usually look towards western countries to come to their support and rescue but the west which (often) is by and large under the influence of the United States of America (world’s only superpower) which has its own set of rules and priorities.
So the bottom line one does not have any ray of hope even at the end of this very violent tunnel anytime soon.
Write-up Akbar Warris 416-371-9849.