The women in Iran are required by law to cover their heads. So accordingly we women prepared ourselves for the summer under long chaddars and scarves. My aunt borrowed some from another relative who had been to Iran earlier in the year, while my mum dug deep into her closet to find scarves and burqas from her trip to Saudia many years before.
Right on the border of Iran and Pakistan, the women each were handed a scarf or a chaddar, about to become our second skin for the entire month. And with our heads, forbidden to see the light of the day for a while, we entered Iran.
Reading this blog, some might think wow these people are religious. The truth I am ashamed to add is not quite so clear cut. It was the end of June when we set out on our journey. We kids saw it as a vacation ‘out of Pakistan’. The adults saw it as a way of bringing us, their hopelessly lost children a little towards the right path. And it was just that. A vacation ‘abroad’ with a little faith revival thrown in on a short budget.
What compelled me to share my story with you was the recent killings of Shias in Quetta who were on the same journey as I once was. Barely a week passed when another such incident occurred. Another group of people on their way through the same route were brutally massacred in Turbat. It is said that the notable humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi passed out after viewing the bodies of the deceased. Imagine the time for their families.
I made my journey sometime in 2003. I now wonder, what stopped these animals from this brutality then. Why now do they have such a free hand that they don’t hesitate killing dozens of people instantly? Who are these people and where are they hiding? What is making them kill another human being so mercilessly?
The saddest thing I have experienced while talking about the Shia Genocide is the generalization of the issue. Every time I talk about it, people tell me it is not just Shias who are being killed. No one is safe in Pakistan, everyone is being killed. I agree, but who is specifically being targeted? Who is being made to get down from a bus and shot point blank? And again who is being singled out for having slightly different beliefs. I agree no one is safe, but shoving the continuous ongoing massascre under the rug, will that help? The killers don’t generalize. They specifically target Shias, why cannot other people accept the fact that being a Shia in Pakistan is now almost a crime.
With absolutely no sense of accountability in Pakistan you get easily get away taking someone’s life. In fact it is now easier to kill someone and run away than getting your passport renewed. Dear reader, I ask nothing of you today. But if one day you hear of me being killed, at least have a heart and ask my killers what was my crime? Please do not think of it as just another loss of life in the deadliest countries of the world. And grant me the favor of recognizing the fact that I was killed because of my beliefs.