ISLAMABAD: Almost all political and religious parties are united in expressing solidarity with the protesting Hazaras, but most of them are not supportive of the demand that army should be called out to deal with the situation in Balochistan.
When contacted, leaders of various parties, mainly from the opposition, termed the protest by the angry Hazaras “justified”, but said they believed that their demand for the army’s role in the province was not feasible because it could aggravate the already volatile situation there.
Leaders belonging to the PML-N, PML-Q and Jamaat-i-Islami were of the view that the protesters had made the demand without realising the repercussions of any such move because they had perhaps become emotional.
Almost all of them called for sacking of the Balochistan chief minister and removal of his government, but some of them, including the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI), suggested imposition of governor’s rule, whereas the PML-N and JI demanded an immediate announcement of elections in the province.
The PTI announced that party chief Imran Khan would visit Quetta on Sunday.
Talking to Dawn, PTI spokesperson Ayla Malik said Mr Khan was going to Quetta to show solidarity with the families of blast victims. Asked about the demand for the army’s assistance, she said Mr Khan wanted imposition of governor’s rule and army’s role only if the governor so desired. Chairman of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights Riaz Fatiana of the PML-Q called for imposition of governor’s rule in the province.
He said that not only the chief minister but also the entire city administration of Quetta and senior officials of law enforcement agencies should be sacked immediately.
When contacted, PML-N’s Information Secretary Mushahidullah Khan stressed the need for keeping in mind the past “bitter experiences” of giving a free hand to the military in Balochistan. He said that giving any role to the army in the province just a few months ahead of the general election would not be acceptable to the nationalist parties.
Without making any demand for imposing governor’s rule or holding fresh elections in the province, the PML-N leader, however, called for an immediate removal of the chief minister.
Amir of the Balochistan JI Abdul Mateen Akhunzada opposed the army’s deployment in Quetta, saying “it will not resolve the issue since the army is already present in the province”. He said that only an “honest” civil and political leadership could resolve the Balochistan crisis.
He alleged that the people of Balochistan were being ruled by the most “corrupt” government.
Speaking at a religious gathering, chief of Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Fiqh-i-Jafria (TNFJ) Agha Syed Hamid Ali Shah Moosavi said that “instead of democracy, ignorance and terrorism are ruling Pakistan and the Balochistan government should resign for its failure in providing protection to the people”.
Terming the government’s apathy towards the bloodshed “a national tragedy”, he asked the government “not to force us to take any harsh step”.
He said the demands of the bereaved families should be met, the Quetta city should be handed over to the army and a targeted operation should be carried out against banned terrorist organisations.
He urged the chief justice of Pakistan to set up an inquiry commission on the issue.