Mehzar – Pakistan's Youngest Victim of Violence Against Shias

Syeda Mehzar Zahra is one of the youngest victims of the ongoing assault on Shia Muslims by terrorists and extremists organizations in Pakistan. The 12 year-old girl – who has been called Pakistan's Anna Frank – was shot while her father, Syed Nazar Abbas, was taking her to school.

It was the morning of November 30, 2012 when bullets were fired at their car reportedly by the radical-sectarian militant organization Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan. Her father died on the spot and Mehzar survived with severe bullet wounds.

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Mehzar Zahra – screenshot from a video courtesy

Mehzar Zahra was rushed to the doctors, and now she is battling for her life at a local hospital in Karachi.

Ali Mehdi tweets:

@dosra_janum: #Mehzar: Spinal cord damaged, stomach ruptured, one kidney failed. She is completely paralyzed and cannot move her legs. Please pray for her!

Syeda Afrin Abbas tweets:

@Afrin_Abbas: Next 24 hours are very critical for #Mehzar. Doctors are losing hope! #PrayForMehzar @>Darveshh < @AbdulNishapuri @TahirImran

It was unfortunate that Pakistan's broadcast media did not make this a trending story. This important issue was not even discussed in the days following the horrendous attack. Many twitter users were upset and shocked by the silence from the broadcast media (as well as print media) about the incident:

Yusra Askari tweets:

@YusraSAskari: Where are the media and the so-called civil society and human rights activists?  #Mehzar  #ShiaGenocide

Also, social activism for Mehzar was close to zero when compared with the world-wide support Malala's shooting managed to gain. (See this Global Voices Report ) from October.

A Shia Hazara girl tweets:

@ShiaHazara1: If not equal important to, an inch of sympathetic wishes to #Mehzar should have been forwarded. She is not #Malala, because of her faith!

Mahwish Raza complains:

@jkitsmawish: “Much as the #Malala […] #Mehzar was also doing the same […] where are the #media&the so-called civil society& #humanrights #activists?”

It was mostly prayers and sighs that were registered at twitter. That's simply what can be done if terrorists are running free without being punished. Pakistan's Ambassador for the United States Sherry Rehman, tweets:

@sherryrehman: Praying for the little girl @MehrTarar: Humbled,F @faisalsubzwari: Hats off 2 ur passion abt the issue n poor #Mehzar (Link)

Mehr Tarar tweets:

@MehrTarar#Mehzar in ICU. Please pray for her.#Mehzar needs prayers of the entire#Pakistan. She is 12; she is fighting for her life. #PrayforMehzar

Recently, President of Pakistan, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, traveled to visit Malala, who is currently under treatment in an UK hospital. A similar presidential visit was demanded for Mehzar Zahra in Karachi.

Abdul Nishapuri tweets:

@AbdulNishapuri: “Prez Zardari to visit Malala in UK on Saturday.” That's good news. Also please visit #Mehzar in Karachi when you return to Pakistan.

Ali Natiq and Ali Abbas Taj started a new hashtag[ur] called #iammehzer. Unfortunately, it could not become a “buzz word” in the community. Only 113 people shared it across the community this month.

Shia muslims make up about 10% to 15% [pdf] of Pakistan's total population. While sectarian violence is a longstanding problem in Pakistan, attacks against Shia muslims have increased in recent years. According to the Human Rights Watch, in 2012, at least 320 members of the Shia population in Pakistan were killed in targeted attacks.

Brad Adams, the Asia director at Human Rights Watch recently said:

Deadly attacks on Shia communities across Pakistan are escalating. The government’s persistent failure to apprehend attackers or prosecute the extremist groups organizing the attacks suggests that it is indifferent to this carnage.


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