QUETTA: A strike was observed in the city on Monday in response to the call of Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) and Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) to protest against Sunday’s killing of five people belonging to Shia Hazara community.

Shopping plazas and trade establishments in the main bazaar remained closed during the strike which was also supported by different political parties.

The HDP and MWM in separate statements thanked traders and general public for heeding their call for strike. They called upon the government and security forces to arrest the killers and provide protection to their community.

The Hazara community held a rally on Alamdar Road which was addressed by their leaders, including Syed Reza Agha, a member of the Balochistan Assembly, Haji Qayyum Chengezi and Tahir Ali Hazara. A large number of women participated in the rally.

They criticised the government and security forces for what they called their poor response to terrorism and extremism which, they said, encouraged terrorists to kill innocent people at will.

They deplored that neither the terrorists involved in previous incidents of sectarian killing had been arrested nor had the Hazara community been provided protection.

They said it was difficult to comprehend how armed terrorists reached a busy commercial area, carried out the attack and managed to escape despite the presence of security forces at nearby checkposts.

Meanwhile, in a strongly-worded statement, the HDP accused law-enforcement agencies of “patronising terrorists and providing shelter to killers of Hazara people”.

The statement said that assailants must have been provided safe exit, else they could not have escaped because thousands of people had gathered at the scene of attack and checkposts of security forces were located at a short distance.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2015

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