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Target killing in Quetta

February 04, 2009

THE assassination of Hazara nationalist leader, Hussain Ali Yousafi of Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), was not an ordinary one. He was chairman of the HDP, a nationalist and secular party which does not have anything to do with religion. Hazaras are the most educated and peaceful tribe in the area belonging to Shiite and Sunni sects, and also have a few Buddhist families.

With a population of over 0.2 million in Balochistan, the majority of Hazaras live in Quetta, and thousands of others reside in Loralai, Khuzdar, Sibi, and Mach towns in the province. Unfortunately, Hazaras are being repeatedly targeted and persecuted at the hands of religious extremists.

The perpetrators targeted Yousafi in broad daylight in a crowded commercial area of the city. Undoubtedly, the incident had signs of a well-thought-out plan. There is sadness and disappointment among the Hazara tribesmen and they need healing, because the government has failed to provide protection to the Hazara people in the area.

It is time the government took serious initiatives for curbing religious militancy which has become a tumour in our society. It should find out the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks and bring them to justice in order to maintain conditions of peace and tranquillity in Quetta. For this a few steps should be taken immediately such as ethnic militancy should be resolved politically through a reconciliation process, rehabilitation of internally displaced people of Dera Bugti and Kohlu districts and recovering of missing people of Balochistan should be followed up.