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Protecting the Vulnerable: Pakistan

In the last several decades, extremism has steadily risen across Pakistan with non-state actors specifically targeting vulnerable communities including:

  • Health workers and humanitarian organizations
  • Women
  • Religious groups including Christians, Ahmedis & Shia Muslims

Advocating for Protection

Since our inception, IMI has been providing services for victims and survivors of violence in Pakistan including emergency and continuing medical care, as well as fostering public awareness of the targeted killing of health workers and our membership and advocacy to challenge the religious intolerance and human rights abuses faced by vulnerable communities in Pakistan.

Over the years, IMI Pakistan has regularly provided medical care, disaster preparedness and emergency assistance for victims of anti-Shia violence across the country including hotspots such as Parachinar, Quetta, DI Khan and Karachi. These programs continue today, with intensive work done as necessary.

In the 90’s IMI professionals met with Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi to highlight the economic and social loss to Pakistan (as well as the vulnerable Shia Muslim community) because of the targeting of health professionals.

On Friday, October 8, 2010, IMI lead community members to discuss health policy as well as issues of the targeted violence against Shia Muslims globally with offices of their elected representatives on Capitol Hill. Approximately 75 attendees of IMI’s 11th National and 4th International Conference participated in the limited capacity Advocacy Day activities.

More recently, on February 16, 2013, IMI representatives along with the central committee of the 10,000 Souls March met with the Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Council General Mr. Faqir Hussain, the Permanent Representative of the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations, Ambassador Masood Khan, the Vice Council General and others to emphasize the need for immediate and urgent action to protect the vulnerable community as well as prosecute those involved in the killings of thousands of Shia Muslims in Pakistan.

Prior to this, just two weeks after the 10,000 Souls March in NYC, a delegation of IMI and Souls March representatives met with Consul General Faqir Syed Asif Hussain for almost 2 hours at the Consulate of Pakistan to discuss the targeted killing of Pakistani Shia Muslim and constructive ways through which these crimes within Pakistan can be stopped.

In each meeting, delegates emphasized the need for the Government of Pakistan to protect ALL of its citizens and to:

  1. Provide accountability: urgently investigate and prosecute those responsible for recent attacks, and the increasing violence against Shia Muslims and all vulnerable communities in Pakistan;
  2. Provide reasonable compensation and increased livelihoods development for injured survivors and victims’ families;
  3. Ensure active protection for those facing attacks from militant groups;
  4. Remove land-mines from the country-side and roadways leading to Khurram Agency designed to particularly target and impede the movement of the Shia Muslim community;
  5. Maintain the ban on terrorist groups within Pakistan including the Sipah-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Tehrike-e-Taliban, as well as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat; and
  6. Actively investigate allegations of collusion between militant groups and military intelligence and paramilitary forces, as well as members of the judiciary, holding personnel responsible if found to be involved in such acts.

MI HQ continues to reach out to appropriate entities including the Pakistani government officials, US government officials, United Nations agencies, and human rights organizations to urge them to investigate the increasing violence against vulnerable communities in Pakistan, and ensure the prosecution of the perpetrators of these crimes so that every person, including Shia Muslims in Pakistan, may enjoy the fundamental human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Most recently Dr. Shabih Zaidi, IMI’s Global President, met with Baroness

Fostering Awareness

In addition to advocating against terrorism in meetings with various government officials IMI coordinates programming in collaboration with many entities to raise awareness and act on this critical issue.

IMI, Mohsena Memorial Foundation, Pakistan Students Association at New York University, Islamic Center at New York University, and the Muslim Law Students Association at NYU School of Law co-sponsored a public event, Pakistan in Crisis: A Discussion on Gender Rights, Minority Persecution and Shia Genocide.

IMI Pakistan collaborates with many entities on the ground including Al-Khadija Foundation, Bazme Amina, Hilal-e-Ahmer, Imamia Education Board, Imamia Students Organization, Jafferia Alliance, Jaferia Disaster Cell, Shaheed Foundation, SHARE, Shia Ulema Council (TNFJ) and Majlis-e-Wahdatay Muslemeen.

IMI global chapters have also been active with regional collaborations to enhance assistance. In Europe, IMI Ireland was instrumental in organizing a rally and spoke at the Shia Ulema Council (UK) meeting to further progress to protect the community. In South

Africa, much work has been done through the Ahlul Bayt Foundation of South Africa. IMI India members worked diligently to get more than 1000 signatures from a diverse community to support protection for vulnerable communities including our membership in Pakistan.