LAHORE, Dec 31: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has condemned the gruesome killing of Shia pilgrims in an attack on Iran-bound buses in Mastung on Sunday and called the government to put an end to the appalling bloodshed.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Commission said: “It is unfortunate that on this last day of 2012, the HRCP once again finds itself sympathizing with families mourning the cold-blooded murder of their loved ones for the sole reason that they subscribed to the Shia belief.”

The press release notes that Iran-bound buses were attacked in Mastung in 2012 more than one time. This year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also expressed concern over the killings of Shia citizens in Pakistan. In 2012, execution-style killings of Shia citizens escalated dangerously, says the HRCP.

“Things appear all but certain to aggravate further fast and the fact that multitudes of Shias, including the Hazara Shias of Balochistan, sense that is apparent from their reliance on the most desperate of measures by many of them to escape from the country at all cost,” reads the press release.

“Granted that the buses on Sunday had security escorts, but those did not prevent the attack. The HRCP has no claim to expertise on security issues but it must unambiguously emphasise that many measures could have been taken to prevent this latest bout of bloodshed; it could not be prevented because none of those steps were taken,” says the HRCP press release.

More than anything else, says the commission, ending sectarian violence in Pakistan is a question of priority and commitment.

Neither has been in evidence much as the toll in sectarian violence continues to spike. In its place one sees nothing but rhetoric, which does not do anything for the grieving families, for a whole sect that can be forgiven for believing that the state has abandoned them and indeed for all those who value humanity, human life and human rights.

In this day and age, how do people who claim responsibility for one attack after the other remain untraced? Without taking the hate campaigns head on, putting an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these attacks and denying them space to operate, the security escorts for pilgrims’ buses are little more than vehicles waiting to take dead bodies to morgues after every attack.

It would be naïve to think that those behind the killing sprees, and those acquiescing by refusing to take action, would voluntarily stop the pursuit of bloodshed. It is also about time to investigate and expose any and all support the death mongers enjoy inside the security agencies, concludes the HRCP.

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