Social Science Research Council Research AMP Mediawell

“We are the Walking Dead”: Killings of Shia Hazara in Balochistan, Pakistan


On September 20, 2011, near the town of Mastung in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, gunmen stopped a bus carrying about 40 Shia Muslims of Hazara ethnicity traveling to Iran to visit Shia holy sites. After letting the Sunnis on the bus go, the gunmen ordered the Hazara passengers to disembark and proceeded to shoot them, killing 26 and wounding 6. Later that day, gunmen killed three of the Hazara survivors as they tried to bring attack victims to a hospital in Quetta. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a Sunni militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack. The Mastung shooting marked the first time—but not the last—that the LeJ perpetrated a mass killing of Hazara after first separating them from Sunnis.