When Jalila Haider, a Hazara lawyer and human rights activist, returned to her hometown Quetta in southwestern Pakistan last month, her mother thrust a video in front of her.
In it, two Hazara shopkeepers, Jaffar and Muhammad Ali, had been gunned down and family members were wailing around the corpses. In an act that would gain national attention, Haider, gripped by anger, announced a hunger strike on Facebook to protest the wanton killings of Hazaras, a Shiite minority community spread between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The post marked the beginning of a four-day hunger strike by Haider. She ended the strike when Pakistan’s chief of army staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, took the rare step of visiting Quetta personally. The army is widely seen as the primary institution maintaining law and order in Balochistan province, and Hazaras asked the army chief to guarantee the safety of the beleaguered minority.