Hazara People (Quetta)
Alan Johnson (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, Labour)
This debate is about the persecution of the Hazara community in Quetta city in the Pakistan province of Balochistan and its aim is to draw attention to their plight. The ultimate objective is to put pressure on the Pakistan authorities to do more to capture those who are responsible.
I sought this debate with my hon. Friend Dr Whitehead, who cannot be here this evening because of an engagement in his constituency, and Iain Stewart who, with your permission, Mr Deputy Speaker, will make a contribution. I know that others who have members of the Hazara community in their constituencies wish to intervene and with your permission, Mr Deputy Speaker, I am perfectly happy for that to happen.
Like many other right hon. and hon. Members, we have constituents who are part of the Hazara community in the UK. The constituent who drew this matter to my attention, Muhammad Younas, is a typical Hazara: passionate about education, law-abiding and committed to public service. He works for a social enterprise, teaching and assisting those who need his help and making an important contribution to community relations in Hull.
We are extremely grateful to the Minister for agreeing to meet us last December to discuss the issue and for being here for the debate today. As we discussed it, there was consensus that it needed to be aired on the Floor of the House of Commons, which is why I am so pleased that the debate was granted today.
There are about 600,000 Hazaras living in Quetta city and many fled there from Afghanistan, where they were a specific target for the Taliban. Hazaras in Quetta are being killed practically on a daily basis and it has been estimated that about 600 have been killed so far, yet not a single perpetrator has been captured and brought to justice.