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    Millions of Hazaras fled Afghanistan: letter

    KABUL (PAN): In an open letter, 270 noted poets from 88 countries have asked world leaders, including US president Barack Obama and UN  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to take steps to ensure the Hazara minority community in Pakistan and Afghanistan was no longer subjected to genocidal acts.

    Drafted by a Hazara poet, Kamran Mir Hazar, the letter, also addressed to EU leaders, said for more than a century, the community in Afghanistan and Pakistan had been victim of systematic crimes such as genocide, slavery, sexual abuse, war crimes and discrimination.

    Those signed the letter include Nobel, Pulitzer, continental and national literary prize winners as well as presidents of international poetry festivals, presidents of PEN clubs, and writers associations from 88 countries.

    They declared their solidarity with the Hazara people, saying world must no longer ignore the ongoing ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Hazaras.

    In Afghanistan, despite thousands of international troops deployed, the Hazaras were regularly attacked by Afghan Kuchis, backed by the Taliban and the Afghan government, the letter alleged, saying roads leading to Hazara areas had been blocked by the Taliban gunmen, who stopped Hazara cars and murdered their occupants.

    In central Afghanistan, the letter said a huge Hazara population remained marginalised and denied basic legal rights. As a result, it claimed millions of Hazaras had fled Afghanistan, creating terrible and unnecessary refugee situations in countries like Turkey, Greece, Australia, and Indonesia.

    In Pakistan as recently as Thursday, (January 11),  more than one-hundred Hazaras were killed in an organised terrorist attack in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.

    The poets asked world leaders to declare a state of emergency on the Hazara situation in Afghanistan and mount pressure on the Afghan and the Pakistani governments to stop supporting terrorists groups involved in genocidal acts against the community.

    It called for asylum to Hazara seekers, establishing an international truth commission to investigate systematic crimes against the tribe. The letter also suggested opening cases in international courts such as the ICC concerning genocide and human rights violations to protect Hazaras in Afghanistan.