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Hazara Town (Urdu: ہزارہ ٹاؤن, Hazaragi: آزره ٹاون) is a lower- to middle-income area on the western outskirts of Quetta, Pakistan with a population of up to 70,000, of which an estimated one third are ethnic Hazaras and the remaining larger portion Pashtuns. "Most of Hazara Town's residents arrived as refugees in Quetta in 1996, when the Taliban regime in Afghanistan began to persecute Hazaras."
The earliest record of Hazaras in the areas of present day Pakistan are found in the Broad-foot's sappers company in 1835 at Quetta. This sappers company participated in the First Anglo-Afghan War. Besides this Hazaras also worked in the agriculture farms in Sindh and construction of Sukkur barrage.
Hazara Town, like the twin suburb of Mehr Abad, has built up over the last century due to chronic food deficiency in the Hazarajat region of Afghanistan and the persecution of Hazara people by Abdur Rahman Khan, Amir of Afghanistan in the late 19th century.
In his seminal book War and Migration, Alessandro Monsutti classifies the Hazara migration to Balochistan in the following phases:
Following the second Anglo-Afghan war, the first Hazaras came to Quetta to seek employment in British-run companies under the Raj. They are thought to have worked on the building of roads and the Bolan Pass railway as well as enlisting in the British army of India. At that time, there could have been no more than a few hundred Hazaras in Balochistan. The subjugation of Hazarajat by Afghan emir Abdul Rahman, between 1891 and 1893, triggered a mass exodus of Hazaras to Turkistan, Khorasan and Balochistan.
From 1901 to 1933
The situation in Afghanistan returned to normal under Habibullah (1901–1919), the son of Abdur Rahman. He offered amnesty to the Hazaras but this proved to be of little help in improving the lot of the Hazara in Afghanistan. Many Hazara were reluctant to return to Afghanistan and determined to rebuild their lives in Quetta. In 1904, the 106th Hazara Pioneers, a separate regiment for the Hazaras formed by the British, offered greater careers prospects, social recognition and economic success.
The regiment of Hazara Pioneers was disbanded in 1933. Deprived of this social and professional outlet, Hazaras went to settle in Quetta between the 1930s and 1960s, although the process of migration never completely dried up.
Following the 1971 drought, Hazaras settled in Quetta or went to Iran in search of work. Between 1973 and 1978, conflict over the Pushtunistan issue between Pakistan and the Afghan regime, was another factor of Hazara migration to Pakistan, since President Daud Khan of Afghanistan saw the Hazara as Pakistan's allies. Following the Communist coup in April 1978 and the Soviet intervention in December 1979, the migratory movement assumed hitherto unprecedented dimensions.
"The area was established in 1982 by Haji Ali Ahmed (an ethnic Hazara) who bought the land from a Kirani Baloch family and built housing there. Many ethnic Hazaras from Afghanistan who were living in different areas of Quetta moved to the settlement, attracted by cheaper land and the security of the scheme."
The population of Hazara Town is approximately 70,000, who are mostly Afghan refugees. "The community is a distinct minority in Quetta, which is dominated ethnically by Pashtuns and is predominantly Sunni Muslim." Ethnic Hazaras are a minority, at about one-third of the total population. They speak Hazaragi as their mother tongue and practice Shi'a Islam. Smaller number of other ethnic groups of Afghanistan may also be found among the Afghan refugees.
In Pakistan most of the Hazara live in two neighbourhoods around the city of Quetta, Hazara Town and Mehrabad. Saira Batool a Hazara girl became one of the first female pilots in the Pakistan Air Force. Other Hazaras are politically active in Pakistan and are represented by Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), a political party headed by Abdul Khaliq Hazara.Hussain Ali Yousafi, chairman of the HDP, was killed by unknown gunmen in 2009, in the city of Quetta. General Muhammad Musa, an ethnic Hazara, served as Commander in Chief of the Pakistani Army between 1958 to 1966. He also served as Governor of West Pakistan.
See also↑Jump back a section
- "Case Study Series: Afghans in Quetta: Settlements, livelihoods, support networks and cross-border linkages". United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 1 January 2006. p. 9. Retrieved 2010-12-13. "Hazara Town is divided into nine blocks, and almost all the houses are made of concrete. Afghan residents are Persian-speaking Shias, originally from various provinces in central Afghanistan – including Hazaras who migrated to Pakistan well before the war in Afghanistan as well as those who fled as refugees over the recent years of conflict. The community is a distinct minority in Quetta, which is dominated ethnically by Pashtuns and is predominantly Sunni Muslim."
- Blind chickens and social animals: creating spaces for Afghan women's narratives under the Taliban, by Anna M. Pont, Mercy Corps (COR), 2001, Link ISBN 1-9315-7300-X, p.95.
- Qurat ul ain Siddiqui (Thursday, 7 May 2009). "We are not separatists". Dawn.com. Retrieved 2010-12-13.
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