Azaranica is a non-biased news aggregator on Hazaras. The main aim is to promote understanding and respect for cultural identities by highlighting the realities they face on daily basis...Hazaras have been the victim of active persecution and discrimination and one of the reasons among many has been the lack of information, awareness, and disinformation.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I am a Hazara; Dawn's special feature

Close to 1,000 Hazaras have been killed in targeted attacks and shootings in the capital of Pakistan’s largest province. The indifference towards the atrocities has forced this shrinking community to take escape routes and gamble between life in the promised land and death on the ocean.

I am the gravestone and the photograph

Every Friday, after the Juma prayer, people start filing into this small place at the foothills. Nobody in the community seems to miss this ritual. Other than the small mounds topped by two or three stones, a corridor stands out prominently. It is dotted with portraits of young students, ambitious bankers, committed teachers and promising lawyers on each side. Each image is full of life. A humming recitation spreads around and the sound of sobbing women can be heard clearly with the setting sun, which eventually dissolves into dusk. Welcome to the Hazara Graveyard.

Persian signboards, calligraphers and engravers are lined up along the road that leads to this necropolis. A small street turns from the corner of a marriage hall and heads up towards the hill. A few houses down, a narrow by-lane funnels to reveal an array of flags and standards that mark the skyline – a sight which beholds every observer. This cemetery surpasses any possible manifestation of tragedy. As the targeted killings picked up, the Hazara community decided to dedicate a part of the graveyard separately for this purpose. Before the logistics could be sorted out, this ‘section’ was already filled to capacity. While Hazaras buried the victims of one tragedy, the news of another would reach them.

The graveyard has now expanded to three portions. After the first part, another was procured and soon it was overloaded too. Given the continued frequency of killings, the third portion is likely to run out of space at any time. All the tombstones are uniformly designed: a photo of the deceased, his date of birth, the date and place of the incident and a verse from the Quran. Each grave is a story, and a unique one. Some were killed while going to work, while others lost their lives on the highways. One Hazara was killed commuting to his business and others on their way back from university. At one corner, five graves are built in a line. These belong to five cousins who had ventured out for a friendly cricket match and were fired upon at close range...Please follow the link to read the rest of the story... 

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