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Quetta mob lynching: how we can heal as a city and community together

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I read friend’s posts and sat and reflected on the lynching of 3 Pashtun boys by a mob in the Hazara Town area in Quetta. I know it is a very difficult time for the family of the murdered boy, Bilal Noorzai, his badly wounded friends, the city and all of us. This should never have happened, whatsoever.

Many Pashtuns are angry and are blaming the entire Hazara community for the lynching. Anger in this moment of grief is understandable but vilifying an entire community for the violent action of a mob is not right and wise. Incidents such as this are perfect recipes for communal violence if sanity does not prevail over anger at the tragic incident.

Quetta city, specifically the Hazara community, has seen and born out so much violence in the past couple of decades. Many young men have grown amid the culture of death and violence. This mob lynching might very well be an expression of the pent-up frustrations and anger of Hazara youth and a way to make themselves visible. It is also a structural failure of the state, whose responsibility is to ensure the protection of all citizens.

This is high time the elders of both communities came together to show solidarity with the families of the victims. Specifically, the elders of the Hazara community must assist law enforcement in bringing the culprits to the book. Pashtuns must remain alert to the machinations of the Sunni sectarian outfits who will use this incident as an opportunity to fan religious and ethnic hatred and to promote their war against Hazara Shias.

Violence will breed more violence. Violence in incidents such as this is not the sanest answer. We saw this in Kosovo and in many other places. Quetta and its different communities deserve a chance for peace. This city needs to heal from blatant terrorist violence it has endured for so long. This city and its people need to come together to recover from their collective trauma of picking and burying their dead.

We need to revive the good, old memory of love and peace this city once had. While we grieve this sad loss, we should not forget to empathize with the Hazara community which has itself suffered the most gruesome violence in the recent past. We should use this painful experience as an opportunity to try to understand their pain and come and heal together. In the end, power lies in the unity of the people, not in the violence of a crazy and mindless mob.

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