Pakistani Shiite Muslims women mourn the death of relatives as they gather with coffins of bomb attack victims during a protest in Quetta on February 17, 2013.
Shias mourn the death of relatives as they gather with coffins of bomb attack victims during a protest in Quetta on February 17, 2013. — Photo by AFP

•Death toll tops 84 •Army deployment sought: Outrage across country at Quetta carnage

Outrage over Quetta massacre erupted all over the country on Sunday with people expressing solidarity with the Hazara community and demanding immediate steps to punish the culprits.

Demonstrations and sit-ins were held in most cities and towns in the country. There were calls for handing over Quetta to army to protect the life and property of the people, particularly of the Hazara Shia community.

Quetta and several other towns in Balochistan closed in protest and in Karachi a call was given for a strike in the city on Monday. Traders and transporters supported the strike call. Schools in the city will remain closed.

Saleem Shahid adds from Quetta: The Saturday carnage toll rose to 84 on Sunday but the bodies of the victims were not buried and some Shia organisations said the burial would take place only after Quetta was handed over to the army.

At least 169 people, including women and children, were injured in the massive explosion that rocked the entire city and destroyed four markets and 100 shops. A further rise in the toll is feared as, according to hospital sources, over 20 men and women with critical injuries are battling for their lives.

Leaders of the Shia community criticised the federal government and the Balochistan administration under the governor’s rule for having failed to act effectively against the terrorists involved in attacks on the Hazaras.

Tehrik Nifaz-i-Fiqa Jafria chief Agha Syed Hamid Ali Shah Moosvi, in a statement issued in Rawalpindi, urged the government to admit that it had failed to provide security to people.

The TNFJ leader said things were going from bad to worse and if the government was not able to protect the Hazara people from terrorists, it should provide them weapons and military training and enable them to defend themselves against the onslaught of sectarian terrorism.

“The toll has risen to 84 after some seriously injured people died at the Combined Military Hospital,” DIG Wazir Khan Nasar told Dawn.

But unofficial sources put the death toll at 96.

Over 70 bodies were handed over to families of the victims. But around a dozen bodies, charred beyond recognition, are lying in the morgue of the hospital.

“DNA test would be conducted to establish their identity,” hospital sources said.

Twenty people were missing, according to leaders of the Hazara community.

Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen, Balochistan Shia Conference and Milli Yakjehti Council failed to reach an agreement on burying the victims.

The Majlis leadership said no burial would take place until the army was deployed to protect the Hazara community and a targeted operation was launched against the banned organisation behind such attacks.

But leaders of the Milli Yakjehti Council wanted the dead to be buried but supported the demands made by the Majlis. Sources said a final decision would be taken on Monday.

The bodies have been kept in Imambargah of Hazara Town and in an open place adjacent to the graveyard in the town.

Meanwhile, about 2500 women of the Hazara community took out a procession and held a demonstration in protest against the carnage. Later, they held a sit-in with coffins of the bodies. They said they would not allow the burial until the city was given army’s control.

The Majlis leaders took part in the sit-in. Addressing a news conference, Majlis leader Daud Agha said the community had been pushed against the wall.

Also on Sunday, a gathering was held in connection with the Chehlum of the victims of Jan 10 Alamdar Road terrorist attacks.

Talking to reporters on the occasion, Allama Sajid Naqvi of the Islami Tehrik-i-Pakistan said: “Killing of Shia people in bomb blasts and other terrorist attacks has been continuing unabated for several years because of the government’s abject failure to act decisively to punish terrorists.”

He called upon the government to expose the sponsors of terrorism and uproot their network.

Abdul Qayyum Changezi of the council urged the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take notice of bomb blasts and other heinous crimes in Balochistan.

Around 100 people were killed in the Jan 10 twin blasts and their bodies were not buried until Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf reached Quetta and announced dismissal of the provincial government and imposition of governor’s rule in the province.

Chief Secretary of Balochistan Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad visited the hospital on Sunday and enquired after the health of the injured. He said arrangements had been made to take seriously injured people to Karachi.

Heavy contingents of Frontier Corps, Balochistan Constabulary and police patrolled the city. A large number of law-enforcement personnel was deployed in and around Hazara Town, Alamdar Road and other areas.

Roads leading to Alamdar Road and Hazara Town were blocked with containers and barricades.

Updated Feb 18, 2013 12:10am

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Comments (26) (Closed)


AHA
Feb 19, 2013 02:37am
Keep dreaming.
Salman Rizvi
Feb 18, 2013 07:36am
Why isn't Chief Justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, taking suo motu notice of the genocide in Quetta? Doesn't the government's failure to protect civilian lives call for an inquiry?
asgher
Feb 18, 2013 12:56pm
Where exactly would you suggest shias to make this new Country?
MUHAMMAD RAMZAN
Feb 18, 2013 08:48am
Pakistan is going through hell last five years. Pathetic management causing country a huge losses, Human life worth nothing, terrorism become a disease in our culture. I am overseas Pakistani, watch and read about Pakistan but end of the day leave with painful exhaling sound with breath. Think as a Pakistani but nothing else. My deepest condolence to the family of those who lost their loves one. God bless Pakistan and people of Pakistan
Raza
Feb 18, 2013 08:18pm
Ali Hyder! We can't leave the rest of the Pakistanis behind. Do you think that these animals who are behind the killings will then not target the Sunni peace loving people or the Christians, Hindus, Sikhs etc in Pakistan? They certainly will be the next targets!! They are our sisters and brothers too and we can't just cut ourselves loose from the rest and carve out a new homeland and let the rest of the country suffer the chaos. Our souls are tied together and cannot be separated, no matter whether we have differences of opinion in our beliefs. The fragmentation of Pakistan is exactly what these animals want and I don't want to name the countries that are supporting them. Imran Khan has named one such group in his speech today. I would say that we fight these enemies staying within the framework of the nation. Yes, the shias are grieving but let the grief not turn out as destructive for the nation. Looking at the comments, you can see that shias, non-shias and all the other non-Muslim people in Pakistan are in grief. Long Live Pakistan!!!
alivazir
Feb 18, 2013 11:47am
Today it us, tomorrow it will be you. Don't you know what they have been doing and will do in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Saudia, Egypt. When they will not find the shias, they will crush the peace lovings Sunnis. Long live shia-sunni unity.
watsinaname
Feb 18, 2013 11:35am
chickens are coming home to roost
BRR
Feb 18, 2013 11:31am
R.I.P !!
ac1960
Feb 18, 2013 11:35am
There is no unity and political will in the country to fight the terrorism and criminals, poor people will continue to suffer. Blaming this or that service/agency is just throwing away responsibility which first and foremost is political, then enter into the scene the agencies or whoever has to do the job on the ground.
Raza
Feb 18, 2013 08:03pm
Long live Shia-Sunni unity and would like to add the other religious people in Pakistan (notice I did not say minority since that to me does not somehow elevate them to the same status) long live Muslim-Christian-Hindu-Sikh and all other religions and believers. They are all our brothers and sisters in Pakistan with equal status. Amen!
Ali
Feb 18, 2013 09:06am
where is Human Rights...
imtiaz Hydari
Feb 18, 2013 08:19am
I hear about outrage, sit ins, refusal to bury the dead, condemnation, asking for the army to take control, etc etc BUT i DO NOT HEAR a demand to wipe out the known perpetrators of this henious crime who have the gall to accept responsibility, or are the law enforcement forces including the armed forces simply not capable? How many more have to die for this weak and ineffective Government to act? Shame on those who are in control of our destiny!
Alisha
Feb 18, 2013 08:25am
why is pakistan restless....do people really know what they need in the so called PURE land
Faisal
Feb 18, 2013 07:35am
If India can neutralize the militants in Kashmir, Why can't Pakistan do the same with lashkar-e-janghvi??
Touseef
Feb 18, 2013 07:04am
May God shower his blessing on these Martyred souls.. Inshallah God will fulfill his promise to grant the reins of his kingdom to the weakest and the most oppressed.
vjaiswal35
Feb 18, 2013 06:45am
What to say ? no words can ever express the sorrow, grief and suffering of thousands of innocent family members of those who have been killed for no reasons at all. We can only helplessly watch and pray for the dead and alive both. A small seed of hate planted by our fore fathers propagating that people of different faiths can not live together has today grown into such a huge wild tree that the roots have gone unfathomable and we see only dead, blood, destruction, helpless masses of human beings sobbing.... beating their breasts. Today I bow my head in memory of all the sufi saints who were showing us a glorious way to live together.
Ali
Feb 18, 2013 05:58am
Shame, shame, shame to all intelligence and administrative agencies of Pakistan.
rohan
Feb 18, 2013 05:29am
Pakistan will never learn from mistakes.
kafantaris
Feb 18, 2013 05:26am
The one that has the most power to stop the cycle of revenge is the one who has been wronged last and whose turn it is to act. He could use his turn and continue the cycle or he can forego it -- both now and the next time until it stops. Such is the wisdom and utility of turning the other cheek that nobody thought of before Christ. It is wrong for Muslims to kill Muslims. They should figure out a way to stop these sectarian killings -- even if it means resorting to the ideas of Christ to do so.
Voice of D.I.Khan
Feb 18, 2013 05:19am
It's crystal clear who's behind the attacks and why Army is not being deployed..... May Allah save Shia from this inhumanity and callousness....
Marium
Feb 18, 2013 04:41am
Shameful. THIS is what Islam teaches you. Blow up innocents.
Shajid Ahmad (India)
Feb 18, 2013 04:36am
Muslims killing Muslims in the land sepcifically created to protect Muslims.....What an Irony......I thank my Grand father 100 times everyday for migrating to India from Lahore in 1947.......Though a Muslim he knew the fate of Pakistan.....Thank You Grand Pa..
Ali Hyder
Feb 18, 2013 03:58am
Only a separate country for all Shias of Pakistan, where shia community can survive themselves otherwise their genocide cant be stoped, Ali Hyder
Rashid Sultan
Feb 18, 2013 09:49am
How can this continue and be allowed to happen! Where are the law and order agencies?
Usman
Feb 18, 2013 10:15am
We all with you Hazara. Time has come to hit terrorists and hit them hard.
Irfan
Feb 19, 2013 08:02am
Chief Justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry where the hell are you???What is your job??? Never an arrest and you do not think to question, ask for investigation, demand removal of failed investigators???just political intrigue is your speciality??