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New Wave of Violence Hits the Shias of Parachinar

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Extremists have targeted Shia Muslims
The city of Parachinar in FATA province of Pakistan has witnessed continuous rounds of violence as pro-Taliban groups with ties to Al-Qaeda attempt to take over the city. Dozens of local Shias have been killed, and hundreds of homes and businesses have been torched in the violence that has gripped the region since last April.

Violence was sparked off in April 2007 as the town reverberated with explosions of mortar shells and rockets when pro-Taliban militants attacked a mosque in Parachinar. Tens of Shias were killed after being abducted and tortured by Taliban militants. Militants shot and killed the victims in cold-blood and left their bodies in the Aravali region

Militant tribal groups like the Tehrik-i-Taliban mark the landscape in the NWFP and FATA provinces in Pakistan, and the central government's policy towards these groups has unleashed a "violence-accommodation cycle" according to experts.
Local leaders blame the government for drawing a blanket of silence over the violence in the FATA province, and many residents liken their fate in the province to the siege of Gaza.

Kurram Agency has been subject to periodic sieges since April, the most recent of which has lasted for more than two-months in certain regions, and well over five months of complete blockade in the city of Parachinar. Residents in Parachinar face an acute shortage in supplies of food and medicine.

 Truth Behind Bloody Clashes in Parachinar Kurram Agency P-1 - Urdu
 

In an interview with AhlulBayt Islamic Mission, a leading figure from Parachinar stated, "We call the [whole of] humanity for relief, removal of blockade, peace in the region and re-opening of the roads." Speaking of the dire humanitarian crisis that has gripped Parachinar, he added, "our sick persons are passing away without cure and medicine."

The violence and humanitarian crisis in Parachinar has been met with silence from media outlets and human rights groups in covering the crisis. "Parachinari people are crying for relief, but their voice returns back, because the 'big ones' have considered these people as non-human [and] uncivilized," a local figure exclaimed in clear frustration at the lack of coverage of the horrific situation in the Kurram Agency.

In a rare piece, Pakistani media outlet The Post featured a story on the clashes in Kurram Agency and similarly depicted the frustrations of the local population against the government's silence in the face of widespread violence and blockades which prevent the passage of the most basic supplies. The Post underlined that hospitals in the region were facing a "critical condition" due to the lack of medical supplies.

Protesters who had gathered in a rally shouted slogans against the "political administration and were demanding restoration of durable peace in the area," the piece added.

The residents of Parachinar complain that at a time when the world is supposedly at war with al-Qaeda and the Taliban, it is of great surprise that the very real stories of grief and horror from victims who are faced with violence from these groups on a routine basis goes unheard.

The call from Parachinar is not one to the "ears of humanity" per se, but one that returns to question the collective conscience of the "civilized world" and the double-standards at play in the so-called "war on terror".

Author of this article: AhlulBayt Islamic Mission
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