Muhammad Danish Baltistani, 32, left his home in Nawan-Killi (Quetta) for University of Balochistan, where he taught in the Computer Science Department on November 29 only to be carried back home by several men. He was killed. His crime: being Shia.
Quetta is house (not home) to a small Balti Community – a maximum of 2000 – all of whom are Shia, and who have migrated from Baltistan and settled in the city over many decades. Unlike the Hazara Shia population in Quetta that is relatively larger and concentrated mainly in two localities, the small Balti population is scattered in various parts of the city.
Danish Baltistani was the 6th Balti to have been killed in Quetta. This figure might seem modest by Pakistan’s standards and can easily be ignored by Pakistanis who are accustomed to a culture of violence and remain indifferent unless either dozens of ordinary citizens or one or more army men are killed. But on a pro rata basis, this small figure which makes up 0.3% of the total Balti population in Quetta, is equivalent to 540,000 deaths in Pakistan (population assumed to be 180 milion).
While Danish’s assassination is another example of state failure (and its direct or indirect complicity in the continuing Shia killings), it also proves that only Hazaras are not being targeted in Quetta, but all Shias are being attacked irrespective of their ethnic affiliations. Danish was not a Hazara, but a Shia, and that crime was sufficient to label him a target and take his life.
Danish achieved martyrdom and will find place in Ganj-e-Shaheedan, Behesht-e-Zainab (s.a) Graveyard (Quetta) on November 30 when he shall be buried there. But as expected, his death couldn’t find space in the corporate media. The state doesn’t care, the government doesn’t care, and the ‘independent’ judiciary wouldn’t bother occupying its time dealing with the death of a lesser-Muslim and lesser-Pakistani.
Rest in Peace Danish