Hazaraz killing: Complete strike observed in Quetta
April 20, 2012
Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) on Friday took out a protest rally and staged a sit-in on GPO Chowk over increasing target killings of their community members after three people gunned down by unidentified armed men on Thursday were laid to rest.
After killing of three persons belonging to Hazara community, the HDP activists observed a mourning day on the call of the party leadership. The deceased were buried at their native graveyard amidst tight security. On the occasion, heavy contingent of police was deployed in the area.
After burial, a large number of people belonging to Hazara community took out a massive rally; they wanted to go towards Governor’s House to record their protest, but the police stopped them.
The protesters staged a sit-in at GPO Chowk for many hours. They blocked the main roads. Two provincial ministers, Ali Madad, Minister for Food, and Babu Ameen Imrani, Minister for Excise and Taxation, came for negotiations with the protesters, but they rejected the talks.
According to protesters, the ministers have no power. After Friday prayers, the protesters ended their protest with a vow to continue protest demonstrations until their demands were fulfilled.
Meanwhile, security personnel have increased their patrolling in Quetta to restore order. However, panic and fear continued to plague the city as people preferred to stay indoors and most of the streets and roads presented a deserted look, with very thin traffic plying on roads.
Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani presided over a high-level meeting to review the law and order situation in the aftermath of targeted killings of Hazara community members.
Provincial ministers, inspector general police (IG) Balochistan, home secretary and other senior officials attended the meeting, which was convened to devise a strategy to deal with the situation. The meeting was underway when this report was filed.
Meanwhile, the HDP Chief Abdul Khaliq Hazara in his statement said his community was being compelled to pick up arms to protect its members from the targeted attacks.
At least nine persons, including seven belonging to Hazara community, were killed and another injured in separate firing incidents in different localities of Quetta on Saturday.
Ten platoons of FC were called in to maintain law and order in the area.
According to police, unknown gunmen opened fire at a car on Brewery Road, near Wahdat Colony in Quetta. As a result, seven persons were killed on the spot while another sustained injuries. The injured was rushed to hospital where, according to hospital sources, his condition was serious. The deceased belonged to Hazara community and they hailed from the same family.
Heavy contingents of police and security forces cordoned off the Brewery Road and launched search for the attackers but the murderers managed to escape.
Hazara community has expressed grave concern over these targeted killin and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.
Meanwhile, two persons including a policeman were killed in a separate firing incidents at Sabzal Road and in Shalakot area.
Violence gripped different areas of Quetta including Brewary Road, Garani Road, Hazara Town and Alamdar Road areas after the target killings.
Violent protest demonstrations were held in different areas. The protestors ransacked Bolan Medical Complex (BMC) and set a vehicle on fire. Brewary Road was blocked by burning tyres, and putting hurdles and heavy firing was also witnessed in various areas.
The police and security forces continued search operation and raids in different areas of Quetta after the targeted killing of nine people and arrested more than 100 suspects. The detainees were being interrogated.
The citizens expressing concerns over the role of security forces to maintain law and order in the city, and have demanded the provincial and federal governments to take solid steps to stop such incidents.
Former Balochistan MPA Sardar Saadat Hazara has said that government has failed completely to bring a halt to target killings and demanded imposition of governor’s rule in the province. He said unbridled violence against the Hazara community could not be tolerated any further.
Awami National Party (ANP) Chief Asfandyar Wali, MQM Chief Altaf Hussain and leaders of other political parties have expressed deep grief over loss of precious lives.
With eight more Hazara community members killed in Quetta on Saturday, the while community seems in mourning. In one incident, assailants ambushed a taxi on Brewery Road, killing the six occupants, in an eerie repeat of an earlier such ambush on a vehicle carrying Hazara community members. Minutes after the first incident, the assassins killed two more members of the community in a rickshaw in the same area. Virtual riots broke out in the city in reaction, with arson and violence against the police and authorities.
Rioters resorted to firing in the air, which wounded a student. The authorities responded by deploying police as usual and calling in 10 more Frontier Corps (FC) platoons to beef up security.
Quetta in particular has become the theatre of this sectarian genocide. It must be stopped before the peaceful Hazara community loses patience and decides to protect and defend itself by force of arms, given that the Balochistan government and the FC have apparently failed to do their duty. The ‘absent’ Chief Minister Aslam Raisani made the usual announcement of doing all within the government’s power to bring the sectarian mayhem to an end. Balochistan Home Secretary Nasibullah Bazai offered a mealy-mouthed response, saying the government could not provide complete security to citizens. Let alone “complete” security, what security has the provincial government provided to any citizen? He goes on to assert that a comprehensive security plan has been devised that would be implemented after approval by the higher authorities. Nobody takes these ‘declarations’ seriously any more.
Amidst the announcement of days of mourning, the Shia community in Quetta has called for the inept Balochistan government’s resignation. Governor Balochistan Zulfikar Magsi, a frequent critic of the provincial government’s (lack of) performance, warned the other day that if the provincial authorities could not handle the situation, the army may have to be called out. What would remain of the tattered credibility of the provincial government if this were to come to pass?
The Shia community is under attack in the country from Khurram Agency to Gilgit-Baltistan and to Balochistan. The sectarian terrorists aligned with the Taliban and al Qaeda are seeking to sow the seeds of sectarian strife to such an extent throughout the country, from north to south, that a sectarian civil war breaks out to destabilise the country as a whole. While the Shia tribes in Khurram Agency are under the pressure of the Taliban and their mentors, the intelligence agencies, to allow safe passage to the Taliban for attacks in Afghanistan, the Shias of Gilgit-Baltistan are being massacred. Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s proposal of a judicial commission on sectarian violence in Gilgit-Baltistan is a non sequitur. It does not take a judicial commission to know the facts on the ground when Shias are picked off en masse every other day.
Protests of solidarity with the Hazara community in Balochistan and Shias throughout the country were held on Saturday in Islamabad and even Washington. The purpose of the sectarian terrorists should leave no one in any doubt. Pakistan is to be reduced to rubble through a sectarian civil war that could destroy democracy and the country itself. They must not be allowed to succeed in their nefarious designs by pussyfooting authorities or inept law enforcement. It is in the interests of the system and all governments, federal and provincial, to rise to the challenge and conduct an effective campaign against these mad fanatics.