ISLAMABAD: Leaders of the Shia Hazara community said in the Supreme Court on Tuesday that any knee-jerk reaction by the authorities in Balochistan could cause segregation of communities which might further fan sectarian violence in the country.
“We are not interested in taking revenge but want that culprits involved in the gruesome Hazara Town bombing be sternly dealt with in accordance with the law,” former senator Abbas Kumaili told a three-judge bench which rejected as unsatisfactory a report submitted by the Balochistan government on measures taken to ensure peace in Quetta.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had taken suo motu notice of unabated killings of the Shia Hazara community.
“We are not interested in any compensation; we want peace,” said Agha Nasir Ali Shah, a PPP MNA.
Abbas Kumaili regretted that the Feb 16 Hazara Town bombing was not an isolated incident; the killing of Shia leaders had begun in 1993, but the successive governments had failed to take any action despite repeated appeals and warnings.
He said he feared that such incidents might spread to other cities and towns if the root cause was not identified and real culprits were not arrested. Only a Swat-like operation in Balochistan could ensure restoration of peace in Quetta.
“We are not asking for handing over Quetta to the army,” Mr Kumaili said, adding that in curbing terrorist activities the prolonged silence of and negligence on the part of law-enforcement and intelligence agencies were meaningful.
He submitted a list of incidents that have taken place since 1993 in which a large number of people belonging to the Shia community were ruthlessly killed. Even pilgrims going to Iran were butchered and their buses burnt on return, especially in Mastung area.