I took that same bus trip to Iran and back with my parents and brother in 2001, maybe 2002. A pilgrimage, a visit to shrines of saints sacred to Shia muslims. Even ten years ago, when things weren’t nearly as bad as they are now, we realized right away how ridiculously unsafe the highways in the Balochistan desert are. We realized it was a bit of a miracle we’d gotten there and back safely.
Fast forward ten years, and of course today you don’t just face the threat of bandits stopping your bus and looting you; if you’re Shia, you face the threat of your bus simply being blown up - or the men being forced off the bus, lined up and shot one by one while the children and women watch. Yet people continue to make the journey because their faith compels them, and they continue to be massacred at their most vulnerable.
Can we even realistically hope that someday the Shias, the Ahmadis, the Christians, the Hindus of Pakistan will be afforded some reasonable measure of safety and freedom? It’s sickening to think that the government will probably make a meaningless statement of condemnation, the culprits will never be brought to justice despite everyone knowing the parties responsible because they openly claim responsibility, and the general public will stay quiet out of fear, out of apathy, or at worst, because they agree that anybody who doesn’t agree with their brand of faith is an infidel and deserves whatever punishment can be dished out.