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Protesters carrying the bodies of their relatives awaiting burial, who were killed in Thursday’s deadly bombings in Quetta. — Photo by AP

KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Saturday pledged support for the sit-in protest by the Hazara Shia community in Quetta, calling on the federal and Balochistan governments to accept the legitimate demands of the grieving relatives of victims of Thursday’s blasts in the city.

Hundreds of people belonging to the Hazara Shia community were staging a sit-in on Alamdar Road, refusing to bury the dead till the army takes control of Quetta.

The death toll from the three blasts on Thursday – two targeting Hazara Shias claimed by the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) – has risen to 104.

In telephonic conversations with Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Saturday, MQM chief Altaf Hussain condemned the ‘continued apathy’ of the Balochistan government despite protests by the Hazara community in Quetta and their refusal to bury the bodies of the blast victims.

Hussain said that the Hazara community was being repeatedly massacred in Quetta, however no protection was being provided to the persecuted minority. He also protested against the fact that no prominent official from the government had visited Alamdar Road to express their solidarity with the victims.

The MQM chief urged the PM and interior minister to immediately take notice of the legitimate demands of the demonstrators, and to make arrangements for the burials of the victims.

Meanwhile, deputy convener of the MQM’s Rabita Committee, Farooq Sattar spoke to the chairman of the Hazara Qaumi Jirga, Haji Abdul Qayyum Hazara, and expressed his party’s solidarity with the relatives of the victims, and the MQM’s support of the protesting members of the community.

MQM is the largest political party in Karachi and an ally of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) coalition in the National Assembly.