Quetta: Hazara sisters turn danger into an opportunity

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Quetta: Hazara sisters turn danger into an opportunity

Manan Khan, Web Desk 

Three ethnic Shia Hazara sisters turned danger into an opportunity while opening an online pastry shop amid increasing acts of targeted killings in Quetta’s Alamdar road. Threats and intimidation forced their father to shut down his 35-year old bakery in Kuchlak, located some 25km north of Quetta.

Hazara sisters, Urooj Fatima, 22, Sumaiya Batool, 23, and Aneesa Batool, 25, launched their online pastry shop, Plates of Flavor, less than two years ago after their father was forced to shut down his 35-year-old bakery because of looming threats.

Threats force Fida Hussain to shut down his shop

Threats: “We all were studying when terrorists forced our father to shut down the bakery”, Urooj Fatima told Quetta Voice. In 2013, repeated attacks at the Hazara community forced my father to abandon his established business, she said.

Fida Hussain was running a successful business when received a threatening letter from religious bigots. “Taliban threatened me to shut down the shop or face the consequences”, Mr. Hussain recalled as his voice cracked.

The mother sold her jewelry and asked her daughters to keep continue their studies. The whole family put their heads together and decided to launch an online pastry shop to overcome the financial crisis.

“We used to request people to taste bakery items in a tray”, Sumia Batool stated.

Stalls established:

“We established a stall in the holy month of Ramazan to attract customers”, Urooj mentioned. She said initially, people were reluctant to buy our product. “We used to request people to taste bakery items in a tray”, Sumia Batool stated.

“Some would taste and others would refuse, but we never gave up”, Sumai mentioned. The demand for buying our cakes increased. Gradually, dozens of daily orders turned into hundreds of orders.

Increasing attacks against the community

Militants in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta have repeatedly targeted the ethnic Shia Hazara community during the last two decades. On January 3rd, 2021, the armed accused brutally murdered 11 Hazara coal miners in Balochistan’s Mach area.

In 2019, all four sisters participated in a festival in Marriabad and introduced a fusion of food and bakery items to attract cake-lovers.

Hazara sisters with their patents: Photo provided by Urooj Fatima

In Quetta, Hazara businessmen sold their properties due to repeated incidents of targeted killings. The community is currently confined to Marriabad and Hazara town areas of the city

Quetta: Hazara sisters turn danger into an opportunity

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