Fearing persecution, Afghan Hazara Shia Muslim families find refuge in Pakistan's Quetta
Among the thousands of Afghans, who have fled their country after the Taliban take over and entered Pakistan, are many ethnic Hazara Shia Muslim families that have reached Quetta’s Hazara town and are recounting horrifying stories of their escape and survival.
One such Afghan Hazara family, including husband, wife and their three daughters, managed to reach the town after shelling out thousands of rupees to human smugglers to take them into Pakistan's Balochistan province through the Spin Boldak and Chaman border route.
“We have been working in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 and were happy with our daughters also studying and doing well. We never expected the Taliban to enter Kabul so suddenly and swiftly it came as a shock to us,” he recounted.
Though Karachi remains the main second home for fleeing Afghans as the city is already host to around 600,000 Afghan refugees, Hazara town is home for the ethnic Afghan Hazaras who fear persecution at the hands of the dominantly Sunni Muslim Taliban and also because most of them have held government jobs in Kabul since the last 20 years.
Hazara town is home to thousands of ethnic Hazara Muslims in Pakistan who have also been the target of several suicide attacks, bomb blasts and targeted killings mainly carried out by extremist religious parties or terrorists in the past.
The year 2013 in particular proved deadly for the Hazaras as the outlawed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group carried out several bombings in and around Quetta, with a bomb blast killing some 91 people and injuring around 180 in a vegetable market in Hazara township in February and another in June killing 33.
“We had no other place to go except Quetta and we managed to come here after a harrowing journey through Kandhar,” he said.
“But at the airport, it was terrible with thousands having converged there to get out of Kabul. Even though we all had valid passports without visas, there were no commercial flights flying out,” he recalled.
“I managed to get in touch with a relative in Quetta who advised me to take the road route,” he added.
He said the families which arrived in Quetta mostly include government servants, professionals and a few media personnel who worked in Kabul.
Asked about his future, Khalid says it appears bleak because they don’t know what to do.
“We just managed to take our bare necessities and belongings when we fled from Kabul. If the Taliban do as they have promised and we as a community are not persecuted, we can think about going back but right now this is our home,” he stated.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)