The Government tells us that by stopping the boats they are stopping the drownings. But does this really mean they are saving lives?
This story would suggest that the answer is a firm “no”.
We have been asked by a young man, who sought asylum in Australia but was in the first boat to be turned back by the Abbott Government in 2013, to submit his plea here. He is presently in Indonesia and lives in fear of his life. The following is his account and plea “for Asylum under UNHCR Humanitarian Assistance and Refugee Convention of 1951”.
I Haneef Hussain s/o Shah Wali and Mir abbas s/o Doulat Mir we are both cousins, solemnly declare that I belong to minority Shia community by faith and my place of origin is Pakistan administered disputed territory of Gilgit-Baltistan. The purpose of seeking asylum and refuge in Australia is well found fear of being persecuted for reasons of belonging to Shia minority. Since the rise of Taliban in Afghanistan and particularly after September 11, 2001, the Taliban and other religious extremist groups have made it hard to live in Pakistan for Shia minorities.
Religious extremism is prevalent in Pakistan. Members of the Shia community have been targeted in a number of attacks against the Shias in the country. There have been several incidents of killing of Shia Muslims and bomb blasts in the Shia mosque in Pakistan. The Sunni extremist groups allied to or inspired by al-Qaeda and the Taliban routinely attack government and civilian targets in north-west Pakistan. They also attack the religious minorities and other Muslim sects that they consider to be infidels. The Shias in Pakistan frequently complain that the Pakistani state does little to stop the attacks and has even released from custody notorious militants accused of carrying them out. Gilgit-Baltistan is geographically sandwiched between Pakistan, China and India. It is linked with Pakistan through Karakoram Highway (KKH).
In February 2012, sectarian gunmen ambushed a bus on KKH, killing 18 Shia minority Muslims after checking the ID Cards in the neighbours of the former Taliban stronghold of Swat. The rise of extremism and growth of unrest in Gilgit Baltistan shows that sectarianism is officially being promoted as a calibrated policy to keep people engaged in trivial issues. A systematic ethnic cleansing of Shia community is being carried out in the Pakistan administered Gilgit-Baltistan. In another accident, 6 buses were torched and more than ten Shia passengers were killed in Chilas in April 2012. Similarly in August 2012, a passenger van of our village was attacked with an IED killing one of our relatives. Similarly, in August 2012, at least 25 members of the Shia community were killed when armed men intercepted four buses en route to our hometown Gilgit, lined the people up and opened indiscriminate fire on the passengers in Kohistan district.
Haneef Hussain and his cousin Mir abbas belong to the very remote village of Haramosh in GB, Pakistan. Though the village of Haramosh is internationally known as ‘Haramosh Group of Mountains’, due to its beautiful valley with natural lakes, forests and snow covered high mountains and large glaciers it is like a heaven on earth. Haneef was a keen lover of all that and had used to arrange treks with friends of which he is too missed in the village expecting him to be successful in seeking asylum.
Keeping in view, our fears of being persecuted, we restricted ourselves to traveling to Islamabad Pakistan.
Therefore, I humbly requested Humanitarian agencies to provide asylum in their any peace full country. We do solemnly affirm that we will be abiding by all rules and regulations of that country government. We look forward to humanitarian response.
For why Haneef hussain and Mir abbas had to leave his country from Gilgit Baltistan, following story can help to imagine the situation at that time as immediate cause; the killing of about 15 passengers of the Shia community, after they were taken off the buses in the Chilas area, Diamer district, is a gruesome act of violence. The trail of sectarian unrest dates back to the radical Islamisation policies of former military dictator Gen Zia. The sectarian monster is raising its ugly head in the country. In Gilgit Batistan this menace emerged after the 1980s when fanatics from tribal areas, Kohistan and Diamer attacked Gilgit. The planned and organised settlement of non-locals from tribal areas, Kohistan, Kashmir and some parts of Punjab further deteriorated the situation. It totally changed the demography of the locals. In the 1990s the ratio of locals to non-locals was 4:1 but now it has been raised to 4:3. The consecutive trail of untoward incidents and growth of unrest in GB shows that sectarianism is officially being promoted as a calibrated policy to keep people engaged in trivial issues. Keeping in mind the sensitivity and geographical importance of GB, the divide and rule policy must be shunned, as India already claims that GB is its integral part. GB might be the second Balochistan if the grievances of this region are not entertained. GILGIT: All the six districts of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) remained in the grip extreme tension and mourning on Wednesday on the occasion of funeral of 18 members of Shia community who were killed in Kohistan on Tuesday. Collective funeral prayers of 11 victims of the tragedy were held at Imamia Jamia Masjid Gilgit and the bodies were later sent to their native areas for burial. To maintain law and order curfew was imposed in Gilgit after 12pm. Local residents were restricted to their houses while roads presented a deserted look. All the government and private offices, educational institutions and business centres across Gilgit-Baltistan remained closed on Wednesday as three day mourning has been announced. Security in the six districts of Gilgit-Baltistan was put on red alert. All exit and entry points to Gilgit were completely sealed on the directives of the Deputy Commissioner and Section 144 has also been imposed banning assembly of four or more persons and the display of arms. Educational institutions have also been closed in Gilgit for three days as a precautionary measure in the wake of a possible violent reaction by the victim community members. Ahmad Marwat, claiming to be the commander of the militant group, Jundallah, claimed responsibility for the attack. Survivors said seven to eight killers were involved in the attack. Violence erupted in Gilgit as a result of the sectarian attack, claiming at least one life. The deceased has been identified as Ubaidullah, who was shot dead near the public school roundabout in the Joeyal area. — INP APP adds: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned Tuesday’s attack in Kohistan in which gunmen killed 18 people after ordering them off a bus on the Islamabad-Gilgit route. The secretary-general extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of the ‘abhorrent attack,’ as well as to the government of Pakistan, according to a statement issued by his spokesperson. “The United Nations stands by Pakistan in its efforts to combat the scourge of terrorism and extremism, which continues to claim the lives of so many Pakistanis,” the statement added.
So how can we get justice from somewhere the Pakistani govt. also neglected us?
Due to political instability our lives are not safe throughout Pakistan. In big cities like Karachi, especially Shia people are being killed in the layer of ongoing target killings so we can not afford to exist even in other cities in Pakistan. In GB, people belong to the remote villages are left to die in natural disasters and road accidents. No rescue is offered from govt side. No health facilities at all. Women die in delivery cases and wrong medication. No investigation is made because of corruption. Mostly ministers are illiterate. Even chief minister of GB can not read and write English application . . . at this juncture poor people of villages engage in construction of flood affected roads and water channels whole the year round by their own. Lack of funds and unemployment leads them from indigence to destitution.
Given the disputed legacy of the area, it is still deprived of its basic constitutional rights and other rights even after more than 60 years . . . unemployment, disease, and unfair exploitation of resources had already worsened the socio-economic situation. Though the terrorist threat is a global phenomenon but in Pakistan minorities, specially Shia Muslims are brutally being killed. Witnessing a series of atrocities on Karakorum Highway, the only land line to link Gilgit Baltistan to the rest of Pakistan, Shias in GB were left helpless. PIA flight is rare in the area . . . in case of emergency poor people cannot afford the ticket as it is too costly compare to other cities in the country. Immediately this and many other issues led mostly Shia people of the area as well as from other parts of the country, to seek asylum in west so that they could earn for their families in Pakistan to make both ends meet.
Our village 76km. far from Gilgit city the Gilgit city also our district and Tehsil too. I am Haneef Hussain was live with my 3 younger brothers in Bagrote hostel Gilgit city for study we was studied at different colleges and schools i am student of economics unfortunately 23may 2009 attack on our hostel by luck and thanks God we safe but we lost our one friend. GILGIT: Police have nabbed four persons in Gilgit on Saturday in hostel attack case that occurred the other night, while in Ghanche district the man behind the bomb blast has been arrested along with one of his accomplices and explosive-making material early Saturday, police said. One man died while three others sustained injuries after unidentified armed men attacked a men’s hostel in Konodas, Gilgit at about 12:15 a.m. on Saturday. The assailants lobbed a grenade into a room of the “Bagrot Hostel” before opening fire on the inmates. The secretary home said that four people had been arrested and investigations were on. The IGP Khurshid Alam said that police had recovered remnants of 7.MM gun bullets and scratches of an explosive used in the ambush from the spot
So any time we need to come gilgit, for study for medical care etc. At the time on they way from our village to Gilgit many villages of Sunni community they attack on our passenger vans and killing us: The attack on the Shia passenger van occurred on Sunday near Minawar, Gilgit as an explosive device attached beneath a culvert was triggered when the passenger van, on its way to Haramosh, crossed over it. The attack had left one Shia passenger Shujat Abbas martyred and four severely injured.
The rising incidents of attacks on Shia Muslims and passengers in Gilgit-Baltistan province reflects the poor law and order situation in Shia dominated province of Pakistan, where the Wahhabi militants involved in the target killing of Shia Muslim.
In our religion not allow to kill any one our Islamic leader have not allow to take revenge any one we want peace around the world and another side the other extreme Sunni Muslim groups leader give free hand to kill Shia people and if they kill Shia they must go to heaven.
Sectarian violence again rocked the area with the assassination of Syed Agha Ziauddin Rizvi, a prominent Shia and prayer leader of Gilgit’s Imamia Mosque, in January 2005. On January 13, he succumbed to injuries sustained during an attack in Gilgit on January 8, 2005.22 One of the assailants killed by his bodyguards was later identified as a cadre of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. socially and economically, since the 1970s. Agha Ziauddin’s death in January 2005 caused widespread clashes leading to a six-month long curfew and emergency, and loss of more than two hundred lives. Allama Turabi, shot dead in Karachi on July 14, 2006, hailed from Baltistan and was the President of Tehrik Jafaria of Pakistan (TJP). His death has been termed as detrimental to Shia rights.
Every incidents after curfew & emergency imposed in the city and troops called in to control the situation.for a long time durable curfew even we can’t sitting our garden front of home all time we must stay in home when we outside they Pakistani army kill us, schools, colleges, hospitals everything closed for long time,, so how can we get a education or basic facilities?
When we need high education medical, engineering etc. So we move from Gilgit city to another cities of pakistan because of education and jobs too, so the way Gilgit to capital of Pakistan Islamabad during way the terrorist attack on our passenger buses and they check our id cards after they shoot us because we are Shia Muslims.
February 2012 Kohistan Shia massacre. The Kohistan Massacre refers to the massacre of 18 Shia Muslim residents of Gilgit-Baltistan travelling by bus from Rawalpindi, Punjab to Gilgit, Gilgit Baltistan in Pakistan. The buses were stopped in Kohistan and the victims killed based on their religious affiliation by individuals dressed in Military uniforms. The dead included three children while 27 other passengers on the bus were spared Sectarian violence in Pakistan, mostly Gilgit-Baltistan Religious extremism is prevalent in Gilgit. Members of the Shia community have been targeted in a number of attacks against the shias in the country. There have been several Incidents of killing of Shia Muslims and bomb blasts in the Shia mosque in Pakistan.
Evan not safe our security high officers because these offers security our passenger buses on they way so the also killed in this way, GILGIT, Aug 6: Suspected militants killed an army colonel, a captain and a senior superintendent of police (SSP) in an ambush on the latter’s vehicle in the remote northern town of Chilas, headquarters of Diamer district, on Monday night.
DSP Mohammad Navid says the attack had taken place at Ronai point near the residence of the deputy commissioner when the officials were returning after attending a meeting convened by him to discuss intelligence reports that high-profile personalities were likely to be targeted by militants.
This way is very dangerous for us mostly Shia minority Muslims, ISLAMABAD / GILGIT: Gunmen dressed as paramilitary forces killed nine foreign tourists in an unprecedented attack in the Himalayas of Gilgit-Baltistan, in a security failure bound to embarrass the new government just weeks after it took office. The gunmen stormed into a base camp, killing Chinese and Ukrainian climbers in an area of the far-flung north not previously associated with violence or militancy. The killings will jeopardise the only foreign tourism that remains in Pakistan – that of mountaineers – the few international tourists to still visit a country troubled by al Qaeda and Taliban violence. Officials said five Ukrainians and a number of Chinese were killed. One Pakistani also died and one Chinese survivor has been recovered, the government said. The climbers were staying at a first camp, around 4,200 feet from Nanga Parbat, one of the highest mountains in the world, in the Diamer district of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Ban Ki-moon ‘appalled’ by Gilgit-Baltistan sectarian killing Ban-Ki-moon UN leader Ban Ki-moon was “appalled” by the sectarian killing of 20 Shiite Muslims who were dragged off a bus in Pakistan on Thursday, “The secretary general expresses his outrage over such deliberate attacks on people due to their religious beliefs in Pakistan,” said a statement released by UN spokesman Martin Nesirky which strongly condemned the attack. Gunmen dragged the Shiite travelers off a bus in the northwestern district of Mansehra and killed them at point blank range, officials said. It was the third attack of its kind in six months.
More details can be found in the following links:
http://videos.sify.com/Tehrik-E-Taliban-Pakistan-[TTP]-vows-to-kill-shias-in-Gilgit-Baltistan–authorities-indifferent-ANI-watch-nlfvkcdbicasi.html DAWN.COM Attack on Gilgit hostel condemned