ISLAMABAD: People gathered outside the National Press Club on Tuesday for a candlelight vigil in memory of the victims of the terrorist attack in Quetta last week.
Nearly 20 people were killed and dozens more injured in a suicide bombing at a vegetable market in Quetta’s Hazarganji area on April 12.
One of the mourners at the vigil, Fatima Atif, said she could not remember how many times she has mourned the loss of Hazaras outside the press club.
“A large number of Hazaras have been martyred in terrorist attacks in Quetta during the last 19 years,” she said. “Those martyrs include women, children and elderly people. Now the issue of lack of space has arisen in the Alamdar Road graveyard, and there are more graves of those who died unnatural deaths than natural ones.”
“It is unfortunate that terrorist groups accept responsibility after every incident but state institutions never take action against them. Even FIRs are registered against unknown individuals. Are those terrorists aliens,” Ms Atif asked.
Former senator Farhatullah Babar said it was unfortunate that the National Action Plan (NAP) could not be implemented.
“The government should try to understand, otherwise we will be blacklisted [by the Financial Action Task Force]. I suggest that the premier go to Quetta and meet the Hazara community,” he added.
Senator Sherry Rehman said it was condemnable that the Hazara community has faced more than 100 attacks.
“You are an equal citizen and it is the responsibility of the state to protect you. We will take up your issue and demands in Parliament House. No one is paying attention to NAP and it is unfortunate that we have no choice but to give the example of the prime minister of New Zealand,” she told those at the vigil.
Rights activist Tahira Abdullah asked where NAP was, adding that it would not protect the people, particularly minorities.
“Why were Afzal Kohistani and Mashal Khan killed? I believe that every citizen should get the same protection that is given to the premier. I demand that Balochistan should be cleared of banned outfits. There cannot be good or bad Taliban,” she said.
Sajid Hussain Malik, the former registrar of companies at the Securities and Exchange Commission, told Dawn that NAP should be implemented and banned outfits should not be allowed to move freely.
Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2019