Hazaras on hunger strike in Quetta want assurance of security, justice from Gen Bajwa

Updated April 30, 2018

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Hazara women participate in a hunger strike at a camp outside press club in Quetta. —AP
Hazara women participate in a hunger strike at a camp outside press club in Quetta. —AP

The hunger strike being carried out by the members of persecuted Hazara community in Quetta to bring attention towards the killing of Hazaras in the city entered its third day on Monday.

Lawyer and activist Jalila Haider, who is leading the hunger strike camp set up outside Quetta press club, said on Monday that she will continue the strike until the army chief visits the city and details concrete steps to bring the killers to justice and protect the religious minority.

Haider says Gen Qamar Bajwa should come and console the thousands of widows and orphaned children left by the killing of Hazaras in Pakistan over the past two decades.

In recent months, at least 30 Hazaras have been gunned down in Quetta, however, police have still not arrested any suspect.

Know more: The exodus of Quetta’s Hazaras

The protest against the unabated killings of Hazaras started on Saturday following the targetted killing of two members of their community.

The protesters have repeatedly criticised law enforcement and security agencies for their inaction and failure in preventing Hazaras from being murdered with impunity.

Sectarian terrorism in Balochistan has disproportionately targeted people from the predominantly Shia Hazara community, easily identifiable because of their distinct physical attributes.

A report by the National Commission of Human Rights (NCHR) released last month stated that 509 Hazaras were killed in various incidents of terrorism in Quetta in the last five years.

Narrating heartbreaking details about the plight of Hazara community, NCHR official Fazeela Alyani said, "All these precious lives were lost only in Quetta city."

However, the regional head of Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) places the figure much higher than what was being quoted by NCHR.

"More than 200 Hazaras were killed only in two suicide attacks in this period," Bostan Ali Kishmand said.

Targeted killings, suicide attacks, and bomb blasts have inflicted harm to daily life, education, and business activities of ethnic Hazara community members in Quetta, read the NCHR report.