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Sit-in continues in Quetta; HDP says provincial govt has failed

January 12, 2013

The portrait of a bombing victim is seen during a demonstration by Hazara Shia Muslims in Quetta, Pakistan on Jan 12, 2013. —AFP Photo

QUETTA: The sit-in at Quetta's Alamdar Road staged by hundreds of people from the Hazara Shia community was ongoing on Saturday after the passing of nearly 24 hours since it started, DawnNews reported.

The participants of the sit-in have refused to bury the dead until the army takes control of the provincial capital.

Police in Quetta had earlier said that the protest had ended, but Shia leader Ibrahim Hazara said Saturday that it would continue until the city was handed over to the army and the provincial government dismissed.

Some 50 coffins remain on the provincial capital’s Alamdar Road, the Associated Press reported.

Moreover, the Qaumi Yakjehti Council has announced that it would expand the perimeter of its protest to the cantonment check post.

Also on Saturday, the Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) took out a protest rally in Quetta against terrorist attacks in the city.

Participants of the rally held banners and placards condemning the recent unrest in Balochistan, including incidents of targeted killings, bomb blasts and other unrest.

The rally took various roads and routes and concluded near the office of Inspector General Balochistan Police.

The protesters said the provincial government had failed in establishing peace and law and order in the city and demanded that Quetta be handed over to the army.

The sit-in and protest comes in the wake of multiple bomb blasts in Quetta which claimed at least 104 lives. Eighty-six of those killed in the attacks were from the Hazara Shia community.

Policing powers delegated to FC

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Saturday issued directives to delegate policing powers to the Frontier Corps in Quetta.

The premier issued the directives after a meeting with Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

The FC has been directed to assist the Balochistan government in maintaining peace and controlling the law and order situation in the province in the wake of the multiple bombings that have claimed the lives of over 100 people.

PM phones Governor Magsi

Prime Minister Ashraf telephoned Governor Balochistan Zulfikar Magsi and the two discussed the situation in Quetta in the wake of the multiple blasts.

The premier, in his call, directed the provincial governor to take all steps necessary to ensure the protection of the citizens' lives and properties.

He added that the federal government was ready to assist the provincial government to ensure the citizen's security.

Prime Minister Ashraf moreover said that those wounded in the wake of the attacks should be treated with maximum care.

PM directs CM Balochistan to return to Quetta

Prime Minister Ashraf on Saturday directed Chief Minister Balochistan Aslam Raisani, who is reportedly abroad, to return to Pakistan immediately.

The prime minister also directed Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira to travel to Quetta without delay.

Altaf calls for protesters' demands to be met

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain on Saturday stated that the federal and Balochistan governments should immediately accept the demands put forth by the grieving relatives of those killed in the explosions in the provincial capital.

He added that not only should the governments pay heed to the demands of the protesters, they should also accept them and take steps to resolve their issues.

Hussain said it was "highly unfortunate" that "all political leaders and political parties were silent" when the relatives of those killed had been holding a sit-in with the bodies of their loves ones for the past 20 hours.