Desperate Hazaras want army rule in Quetta

Published Jan 11, 2013 10:11pm

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Bodies of the victims of the blast on Quetta's Alamdar road at an imambargah, Jan 11. — Photo by Online

QUETTA, Jan 11: Hundreds of people belonging to the Hazara Shia community staged a sit-in on Alamdar Road on Friday and refused to bury the dead till the army takes control of Quetta. The death toll from Thursday’s three blasts rose to 104 after nine more people died of their wounds.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned the barbaric acts of terror and urged the government to take immediate measures to control the situation.

“Of the 92 people killed in the car bomb and suicide attacks on Alamdar Road in Quetta, 86 belonged to the Hazara Shia community,” Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Durrani told Dawn.

The burials were to take place after Friday prayers, but the bodies remained unburied till late in the night. The Hazara community called for removal of the provincial government and handing over the city’s control to the army for an operation to arrest the attackers.

“We will not bury the bodies of our loved ones until the provincial capital is handed over to the army,” Qayyum Changezi, a leader of the Qaumi Yakjehti Council, said. He said the provincial government should resign because it had failed to protect the life and property of citizens.

The Hazara people staged the sit-in on Alamdar Road, along with the bodies. Despite a severe cold and continuous rain, they did not leave the place.

Government officials held negotiations with leaders of the Hazara community and requested them to end the protest and bury the bodies, but they refused to do so.

The home secretary told Dawn that further negotiations were under way. He confirmed that the leadership of the community was seeking resignation of the provincial government and handing over of Quetta’s control to the army. Sources said Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani was abroad on a private tour. He is expected to return in a couple of days.

Meanwhile, the bodies of seven police personnel, including two senior officers, who had lost their lives in the Alamdar Road blasts, were buried on Friday. Thousands of people attended the funeral. The body of one officer was sent to Karachi.

The Namaz-i-Janaza of three media personnel who were killed while covering the first blast was offered on Friday. They were laid to rest in graveyards of their native areas.

The cameraman of Samaa TV, Imran Sheikh, was buried in Muslim Town graveyard.

The body of Saifur Rehman Baloch, a reporter of the same TV channel, was sent to Karachi for burial as members of his family were there because of winter vacation.

The body of Iqbal Hussain, a computer operator in NNI news agency, could not be buried as it was taken to Alamdar road where people continued their sit-in.

Former PTV news producer Murtaza Baig, who was working as a spokesperson for the Frontier Corps in Balochistan, was also killed when he came out of his house in Alamdar road area to ascertain the situation after the first blast in a snooker club.

Mr Baig was also seriously injured in May last year in a suicide attack on the residence of the deputy inspector general of Frontier Corps.

COMPENSATION: The Balochistan government has announced Rs2 million as compensation for each of the heirs of police personnel and Rs1 million for the families of other people killed in the blasts.

The families of journalists killed in the blast would be given Rs1 million each. The government said it would also bear the expenses of injured people who are under treatment in the Combined Military Hospital. It said seriously injured people would be sent to Karachi.

Our Staff Reporter adds from Lahore: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) condemned the bomb and suicide attacks in Quetta and Mingora and killings in Karachi. It called upon the government to take immediate steps to clamp down on terrorists.

In a statement on Friday, the commission said: “In the first few days of 2013, the HRCP finds itself lamenting, for the second time, the large-scale sectarian bloodshed in the country. The callous targeting of members of the Hazara community in Quetta in two of those bombings on Thursday has caused the highest death toll for any sectarian attack in a day in Pakistan so far.

“Lack of any apparent distress at these brutal attacks and absence of urgency to nab the killers has understandably prompted human rights organisations in the country and abroad to accuse the state of looking the other way, if not of downright complicity, as more and more citizens of the Shia faith are mowed down in appalling attacks.

“If the government has any remorse over its failure to stem the horrific spike in sectarian killings or the utter absence of its own writ, it has certainly done a good job hiding that. It defies belief how in a city like Quetta the attackers can manage to get through security checks and strike at will.

“A bombing in Mingora and the brazen bloodshed in Karachi on Thursday only demonstrate hastened descent into chaos as the general election approaches. The people expect much more from police and security forces than mere information on the nature of the explosions that claimed citizens’ lives.

“An ostensibly banned organisation has claimed responsibility for the Quetta bombings. The network and sanctuaries of that and other banned outfits must be taken apart across Pakistan, including Punjab, and the killers apprehended and tried.

“Until that happens, the charges of the state being soft on the terrorists would not go away. That is also the only way to restore the faith of the citizenry in the state’s ability to safeguard their lives and well being.”

MEDIA WORKERS: The HRCP further said: “Reflections are also in order on what could have been done to avoid fatalities among media workers in Quetta who were at the scene to cover the first bombing when the second explosion occurred.

“With escalating sectarian violence and the election-related violence that is almost certain to be the worst in Pakistan’s electoral history, because of weaponisation, brutalisation of society and the high stakes for all concerned, we might see journalists being caught up more frequently.

“The HRCP hopes that the government, media organisations and journalists’ bodies will invest in safety of journalists by developing SOPs, safety gear and training on conflict reporting.”

Reuters adds: In a rare challenge, a Shia leader publicly criticised Army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani on Friday over the bloodshed.

“I ask the army chief: what have you done with these extra three years you got (in office)? What did you give us except more death?” Maulana Amin Shaheedi, who heads a national council of Shia organisations, said at a news conference.

The bodies would not be buried until the army comes to Quetta, he added.

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Comments (35) (Closed)


Iran
Jan 13, 2013 08:28am
I think Iran is safer place for Shias than Pakistan.
ali
Jan 12, 2013 04:16am
army does not seem to be interested in bringing peace to Quetta as such no point in handing over the city to them .As the UN charter of human rights is being violated and people are being slaughtered on the basis of their religious belief it is best to hand over the city to the UN and ask them to bring peace.
Owais
Jan 12, 2013 04:21am
May Allah guide muslims to distinguis right and wrong and enable us to identify our real enemy(ies). If we Pakistanis specially and Muslims wont wake up even after seeing such brutal acts and such heart touching pictures then we have to wait even the worst situation to come ahead.
Syed from Australia.
Jan 12, 2013 04:39am
Pakistan Government must do something before it is too late.
Syed from Australia.
Jan 12, 2013 04:43am
Only Pakistan Army can do the job no one else. I have strong believe in my Armed Forces. Inshallah they will act and bring the culprits to book.
teddy
Jan 12, 2013 04:45am
why only muslims should wake? why not entire humanity?
Syed from Australia.
Jan 12, 2013 04:53am
Well said teddy!!
Rizwana
Jan 13, 2013 11:22am
Shame on this Government that cant save the people of his own country
akhlaqlaw
Jan 12, 2013 05:10am
Why nobody address the grivances of those people sitting for 18 hours on the roads with dead bodies and asking to listen their questions. Is there any any government? Who is to check the provincial government. The members of provincial assembly and national assembly from the province are dead or looking for money for next election. Shame Shame
Marina
Jan 12, 2013 05:20am
Quetta, infact, the whole province is already in Army's control. Frontier Corps and Law enforcement agencies work under Army.
Husain Jan
Jan 12, 2013 05:40am
Syed you are right, but this blood shed is going on in Quetta for some time now. When will the army take action ? How many more to be killed ? waiting for what ?
khanm
Jan 12, 2013 05:42am
Depends..... what is in it for them......................Why we always depend on army. their track is equally bad........
Ali
Jan 12, 2013 05:43am
The Chief Minister of Balochistan is on a "private tour" and isn't expected back for the next two days? Where exactly is he? Is he on vacation or on private business? He should have taken the first flight back to Quetta and at least visited the bombing site on Alamdar Road. If the private tour is more important to the Chief Minister than condoling the victims of this great tragedy, then quite frankly, there is no room for such a person in the Chief Minister's House. In any other country, and I repeat *any* other country, the government would have resigned. Not just the provincial government, but the federal government would have resigned. The state and society have grossly failed in their paramount duty to protect the lives of the country's citizens.
Ali Kh
Jan 12, 2013 05:46am
We dont want UN interference! The aim of terrorist (funded by foreign agencies) is foreign boots on our Land! Only Pakistani Army can achieve the results if we support them. Our democratic government is of no use.! Live Long Pakistan Army.
Tony Braganza
Jan 12, 2013 05:52am
the army itself is the culprit
Kamran
Jan 12, 2013 05:52am
In poll for voting make question about handling control of quetta to army.
Umer
Jan 12, 2013 05:55am
Army or someone has to step in. This carnage cannot continue.
rez
Jan 12, 2013 05:58am
The irony is, all our spy agencies, police and every one including ordinary citizens know of the whereabouts of these so called banned outfits.Why no one is interested to do any thing about them is a million dollar question.The southern Punjab is infested by them yet the Sharif brothers are patronizing them as their financing is being done by the Saudi govt and rest every one has their own vested interests and poor innocent humans are being slaughtered every day.The question is really very pertain ant that what has the Army chief done with his Zardari gifted 3 years extension ?
Naved
Jan 12, 2013 06:01am
Neither power hungery politicians/government nor the confused institutions on the issue of terrorism are interested to take a clear cut and agressive line of action to solve this problem. I don't understand they are waiting for what? What type & level of havoc they are waiting for, to move on this grave problem. All people at the helm of affairs are hopeless, just useless & hopeless. May Allah guide them.
Voice of D.I.Khan
Jan 12, 2013 06:15am
I read many Articles today and most of the Media Called us(SHIA) MINORITY in Pakistan. I thought MUSLIMS are Majority in Pak… Am I wrong ????????
Bilal
Jan 12, 2013 06:17am
Shame on CJP for release Malik Ishaq, head of LeJ on bail for lack of evidence. A common man can find evidence against him on the internet bu our Judiciary is blind...
peter
Jan 12, 2013 06:25am
Muslims killing Muslims, this started to look like the 70's again. Are we getting ready for another Bangladesh?
Zaina
Jan 12, 2013 06:49am
The Armed forces along with the police and rangers are a target to these taliban as well. If there's any hope, it lies in the masses raising their voices against them. The army and other security agencies also need a mass support.
ash mirza (USA)
Jan 12, 2013 07:02am
I think for the time being Army shoud take care of Quetta, and get rid of all terrorist from Quetta, no matter what it takes. People of Quetta also citizen of Pakistan. they have right to ask government of Pakistan for HELP. People of Quetta are effected mentally, and most kids are effected too. Only way they feel peace of mind, if GOVT OF PAKISTAN must provide them help and secure the whole town. Please keep one thing in MIND, Islam is a peaceful religion, Islam teach us LOVE and HELP OTHERS. God never gave us right to kill shia, ahmadi, or non muslims, All parents must teach their kids not to hate any one, Love others, and HELP others if you can. my heart go out to victims and victims families. I am sunni Muslim, my mom and family members never tought us HATE. God bless u all. Sincerely, Ash Mirza (USA)
Rafi
Jan 12, 2013 07:19am
Where is the Chief justice of Pakistan who took notice of a political leader's slapping of a party worker, can't he see these killings? The Army has to come to this city and take control as the banned outfit which only understand one language, which is of weapons. Once the army start operation against those culprits, everything will be under control Insha Allah.
umar
Jan 12, 2013 07:33am
Army is and should always be under democratic government. But I am wondering why our government is not acting? I think its time for us to wake up from deep slumber and work hard to bring true democracy, which is not possible without our sincere efforts. My point is that since we all love Pakistan so we have to act immediately before its too late. Think about it..
Shahid
Jan 12, 2013 07:38am
Thanks to over zealous media and judiciary, the Army, FC and int agencies have laid their hands off the security situation. This coupled with the indifferent federal and provincial governments, have made the lives of ordinary people worthless. Can any one recall that SC ha already declared this provincial governement null and void on moral grounds. Thanks to political reconciliaition, we the people of pakistan will keep paying price for this democratic arrangement.
Marina
Jan 12, 2013 07:39am
Minority sect.
nouman khan
Jan 12, 2013 08:13am
plz dnt gve it a political debate, just thnk that what wil b those people going through whom belovd ones are martyred in these attacks. i feel ashmed of being a muslim. is ths wht our religion tel us.....
NM
Jan 12, 2013 08:33am
It is already too late...
Cyrus Howell
Jan 12, 2013 12:53pm
Then take a vote to see if people believe the army can control Quetta.
ZINDA BHAAG...
Jan 12, 2013 04:30pm
I dont think pakistani army thingking to go into this...because they will not be able to handle this terrorist...because taliban is strong than pakistai army at this time..
ZINDA BHAAG...
Jan 12, 2013 04:31pm
I dont think pakistani army thingking to go into this...because they will not be able to handle this terrorist...because taliban is stronger than pakistai army at this time..
HC
Jan 12, 2013 05:13pm
Is there a government in Balochistan? If not please tell us if the government there and at the Centre is functional or not? If the CM is dysfunctional, where is the Federal Government? Is anyone responsible for safety of the people of Pakistan? Why are politicians crying hoarse that Democracy is functioning?
mansoor
Jan 12, 2013 07:15pm
Its unfortunate and awful, no one should die in such a brutal way, however, I always remember year 1985 when insurgents of one community created a war like situation, killing number of police officials and civilians. I think it was Marshal law period or Army rule.