Parachinar: The Silent Massacre

Truth Behind Bloody Clashes in Parachinar Kurram Agency P-4

Taliban’s attack on shia Muslims mosque and religious spots is very comman in Pakistan.We all have heard about mass killing of shia at parchinar pakistan in April 2007 and then in Nov. & Dec. 2007 and currently started in 6th April 2008 which is still not ceased.  . One man Mr jawad Published a beautiful article “Parachinar: The Silent Massacre” which i would like to  share.

Tucked away between soaring snowy-peaks and deep gorges in the fragile north-western region of Pakistan is the tiny town of Parachinar.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, one of the more charismatic leaders in the history of this troubled nation, is said to have called it Pakistan’s own “Switzerland”. Humbled by towering snow-tipped mountains and covered by endless fruit orchards, Parachinar’s natural charm is breathtaking. Its narrative for the last two years however, has been anything but reflective of the serene beauty of its surroundings.

Strangled by recurring sieges laid on the town, and a plight concealed from the consciences of the outside world by a silent media, the lives of Parachinaris have been a tale of untold suffering. Since early 2007, violence has gripped the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which holds Parachinar, and the surrounding North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) leading to the deaths of hundreds. Even more have been left homeless and without means of sustenance with homes and local businesses regularly torched down just because their owners happen to fall under the wrong “sect”. Despite the periodical nature of sectarian violence in these regions, the unrelenting wave of the recent outbreak has been by far the bloodiest in recent memory.

Tensions began in April 2007 when a procession of Shias came under fire from fanatical Wahhabis who view Shia Muslims as heretics. What followed on from that initial attack however, has been a systematic attempt to wipe out Parachinar of its’ Shia presence. Shias represent a majority of the population in Parachinar constituting over fifty-percent (50%) of the population. They also have a considerable presence in neighbouring towns in the north-west of the country with a strong and historic Hazara presence further north of the FATA.

During the rule of General Zia-ul-Haq, the Kurram Agency (which hosts the town of Parachinar) came under increased focus for its strategic location as it provided the shortest route from within Pakistan to the Afghan capital, Kabul. Jutting out into Afghanistan almost like an island peninsula, it was famously nicknamed the “Parrot’s Beak” by US forces during the Soviet-Afghan War and was regularly used as a launching-pad by American-backed “jihadists” to strike out at the Soviets. As a result of this strategic importance, towns in the FATA region were flooded by inflows of Wahhabist and Salafist anti-Soviet “jihadists” well-known for their hatred towards Shias.

Following on from the early and comparably minimal killings unleashed in April, armed Wahhabi groups have since caved in on the local Shias of Parachinar from all sides. The Shia residents of Parachinar have repeatedly claimed that Wahhabi elements from Afghanistan have joined in the attacks against the town’s Shias, but these cries have been met by deaf ears in Islamabad’s Pakistani central government.

An all-out attack against the Shias of Parachinar has been underway for a long time now; even Sunni locals seen to be “friendly” towards Shias have not been spared in this maelstrom of killing. Gruesome images of beheaded and mutilated bodies, with arms and legs chopped off from corpses, have surfaced on the Internet since the outbreak of violence. Such showings of utter barbarity are not altogether unique. The collective massacres of Hazara Shias in next door Afghanistan – more notably in Mazari Sharif in 1998 where during a 48-hour period over 8,000 Hazaras were mercilessly slaughtered – evoke similar images of ruthlessness. By the end of the killing spree then, corpses littered the streets of the city after express orders were given out by the Taliban government for the dead to be left unburied.

Eerily reminiscent of massacres conducted against Afghan Shias in the recent past, Riaz Ali Toori, a villager from Parachinar, protested in a letter to a Pakistani daily:

“Today Parachinar is burning: daily bodies of more than five beheaded persons reach Parachinar. The situation of Parachinar is getting worse day by day and so is the life of all people living there. It’s a matter of great sorrow and shock that Pakistan, in spite of bringing Fata into the mainstream of the country, has been pushed into fighting a continuous war and facing terror.” (Letters to the Editor, The Dawn, April 08 2008)

Surprisingly, at a time when the “civilized” world is on a so-called offensive against “terror”, coverage of the sorrow-filled plight of Parachinaris within western media has been periodical at best. The reasons for this are unclear. May be it is because Parachinar, fatefully, does not sit over barrels of oil; or perhaps our probing of the historical context behind these massacres will lead us to discover that Parachinar is yet another piece of anecdotal evidence of the much disregarded “blowback” stemming from the Soviet era.

In July of 2008, the New York Times ran a piece highlighting the rise of “sectarian conflict” in Parachinar. By then, the town had already been subject to a siege that had spanned for months; food and medical supplies had been in severe shortage after the main Thal-Peshawar highway leading to the town was blocked off by armed groups. The New York Times article carried the story of Asif Hussain, a Sunni driver, in a relief convoy headed for Parachinar; the convoy was ambushed, and its drivers taken captive. Asif Hussain was let off after convincing his captors that he was Sunni, the other eight drivers were not as lucky. (Power Rising Taliban Besiege Pakistani Shiites, New York Times, July 26 2008)

Today, the violence has spread out over a larger radius extending all the way through to the southern tips of the NWFP. Attacks on Shias in Hangu, Chakwal and as far south as Deira Ismail Khan have become a thing of the norm. Late in August of last year, a suicide bomber detonated himself inside the DI Khan hospital killing thirty-two Shia followers who had come to claim the remains of one of their leaders slain earlier in the day.

As recently as last week, another suicide bomber struck a Shia mosque in Chakwal instantly killing thirty and leaving hundreds more injured. The systematic targeting of followers of the Shia sect in various regions of Pakistan, more specifically in the north-west of the country, amounts to nothing other than a project of ethnic cleansing. According to a reputed scholar of the phenomenon of ethnic cleansing, Drazen Petrovic, he defines it as such:

“ethnic cleansing is a well-defined policy of a particular group of persons to systematically eliminate another group from a given territory on the basis of religious, ethnic or national origin. Such a policy involves violence and is very often connected with military operations. It is to be achieved by all means, from discrimination to extermination …”

The above definition provides an almost perfect fit to the present situation on the ground in Parachinar. If international silence continues as it has over the last two years, the same story will have repeated across many towns in the FATA and NWFP.

That the Pakistani government holds principal blame for its failure to restrain the killings is indisputable and goes without mention. Wider global apathy to an ongoing project of ethnic cleansing however, is certainly not comprehensible and deserves a great deal of mention.

Parachinar deserves better. And the people of Parachinar certainly deserve better. The least we can do is speak out and urge our leaders to press the Pakistani government to bring an immediate end to these massacres. Then, and only then perhaps, can it be said that we have extended a hand to the forgotten victims of Parachinar.

A report to the Iranian parliament has cited grave human rights abuses against Shias in the northwestern Pakistani city of Parachinar.

Lack of government control over the highly sensitive border areas of Kurram Agency, the capital of which is Parachinar, has lead to an increased Taliban presence in the area.

Local Pakistani media reported last week that Taliban-linked militants in Parachinar, Hangu district and much of the Kurram tribal agency have during the last six months been engaged in sectarian violence and have killed 25 to 30 people on a daily basis.


10 thoughts on “Parachinar: The Silent Massacre”

  1. I basically belongs to Parachinar , really it is very beautiful valley i request to all the people of parachiar to live in peaceful manner and to love their beautiful valley .


    By Nusrat Ali Bangash Islamian pakistan


  2. Really PARACHINAR the hidden Paradise on earth which is still hide from the other parts of world.
    Kurram Agency is the place of Beautiful lakes,
    Streams Water, Glaciers, Huge Mountains and remarkable traditions. Place where you can feel the beauty of Nature.

    An unforgettable place on earth which has to be more promoted is the hidden Paradise on Earth.
    But it is so said that since April,2007 ” Sectarian Voilence ” in Kurram Agency the main Thall,Parachinar Highway is still blocked due to the high brutality & militancy of so called Talibans & due to this,there is a great shortage of Life Saving Drugs & food in the upper parts of Kurram Agency. The 5 lacks population of Kurram Agency are still suffered of this bad Law & Order Situaution in Parachinar & the local Government is totally failed to impose the Government rate in the Lower Kurram Agency. The Shia population of Parachinar are using the danger route to Peshawar via Gardez, Kabul & Jalalabad to fulfill their requirements from Peshawar. this route is about 375 kms & 36 hours long journey including kidnapp & target killing like dangers.
    The Pakistani goverment & line forcement agencies should take the step of military operation in Lower & Central parts of Kurram Agency.


  3. actually the suni people in the lower kurram agency especially sadda are xxx i dont have any word for them in english.They grow up taliban or its because of them,that kurram is know one of the terro..area of pakistan.i grow up in lower kurram but still i have dirt in my heart for people over there especially (sadda),i like Israel but not the people of sadda,because they have too many good haibts which the people of sadda have not….its a very long story and the habbits of people over there,taliban and whose taliban are ..what kind of people join taliban…..


  4. Salam
    I belonged to parachinar upper kurram egency. I love with my village much but due to terrorist activities my beautiful village has converted into death valley. I want requests to all shiya and sonny tribal people who are living there since many years that now they should together and should support each other against the terrorist and criminal activities for their motherland protection. thus we can regain our motherland parachinar.
    From TGB sunni


  5. Salam
    I belonged to parachinar boshera dandar. This my humble request to all sunni and shia tribes who are living in parachinar for many years That now they should against the militants activities with consensus.They should finish the fundamental of
    militants and two numbers of Taliban.

    From Boshehra dandar


  6. jab taq khaffa shudda Parachinar k sunu ko dobara si yi shia parachinar mi Abad nahe karringi , apni in yar dust sunyu si Maafe nahe maangingi , jab taq yi apni in yar dust sunyu k garro ko dubara si Tamer nahe karringi , tu kabhe b shia upper kurram waali chin k nend nahe su sakti , even 100 years Q na guzzar jaai , Shia ni parachinar city mi apni Mihaman sunyu k saat zullam kar golyu k nishana bana dei hai , sunyu ke heseyat tu Mihmano ke the QK sune 5 fesad jab k 95 fesad ,


  7. PLAESE KHAN , yi jo tum xxx k bi Addab Alfaz use karti hu yi kisse Hussaini ka kaam nahe husakta , qk Hussaini tu Allama Arif Hussain jisi achi Lug huti hai jo apni shiat ka bal k puri kurram agency mi shia sunne k naam ko rushan karni waali khosh naseb huti hai , tum tu aik kam aqqal qissam ka wu shia hu jo shar pasand Aanasir mi pish pish hai , jinho ni khobsurat Waade ko Dihshat gardo k Hawali karni k muqi faraham kei . tum jisi lug na Hussaini hai na shia hai
    tum ko sharam Aani chahei xxx words use karni mi as a shia
    Ham ko tu har waqt dua mangne chahei k parachinar k khaffa shudda sunyu ko b is baat Raaze kar di k wu parachinar jani ka Irada kar li QK wu khaffa shudda sunne itni Mayus hu k naqqal makkane kar gai hai k wu kihti hai in shiau k saat rihni si bihtar k HINDUSTAN mi Rahhi wu Q wu tumhari jisi sheyu k ba barkat na k Allama ARIF HUSSAIN HUSSAINI MARHUM .


  8. Salam i belong to lower kurram agency i must say that from both sde we shiuld condeme those parties who are responsible for bringing terrorism in the region.we should try to be united and dont let these hands to complete there harmful wishes.


  9. Dear brothers Parachinar is a rigion of pure pathans includings Turis Bangash Maqbals etc which has been a phenomena of heaven since past because of its beautiful people gardens rivers flowers trees and more importantantly b/c of its beautiful culture and civilization.No one is shia or suni but a muslim.
    I humbly and kindly request to the people of kurram agency that for God sake let not make succeed those people in there mission who are trying to to destroy the peace,beauty and culture of the region.Lets be united and be against them.
    Pls join your hands together and make kurram agency a real scene of paradise.wasalam


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