Besieged by Violence, Pakistan’s Hazara Shias Demand Action
By Written by Omid Bidar from Global Voices
In the latest attack against Pakistan’s Hazara Shia minority, a bomb ripped through a busy market in the southwestern city of Quetta in Pakistan on February 16, claiming as many as 63 lives and injuring at least 180 others, including many women and children.
The bombing occurred in Hazara Town, a territory home to the Hazara community of Shia Muslims, who were also the target of an attack last month that left 96 people dead. In that incident, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives inside a billiard parlor, killing several people. Shortly afterward, as people rushed to help the victims, a car bomb outside the parlor went off.
As the sectarian violence against Pakistan’s Hazaras continue unabated, many across the country have accused the government of deadly inaction, demanding that authorities move off the sidelines and step in to halt the mass killings.
Human Rights Watch noted in its World Report 2013 that the LeJ has ties to the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and other intelligence services, writing that ”Pakistan’s government has failed to act against abuses by the security and intelligence agencies, which continued to allow extremist groups to attack religious minorities.” Hasan also asked:
Arif Hussain Hazara warned that inaction would have tragic consequences:
Following the attack on Hazara Shias in early January, thousands of Pakistani protesters attended a four-day vigil, demanding an “operation cleanup in Balochistan against serial killings of Hazara people.” They also called for the removal of provincial government officials and a handover of the city to the army. Although the army has not yet been called in, a state of emergency was declared in the province.
Imran Ali of the BBC noted that the government has yet to arrest those responsible for the bombings:
After the last bomb attack in Quetta, and the ensuing protests by the Hazara community, the Pakistan government sacked Baluchistan’s chief minister, Nawab Aslam Raisani, but has yet to arrest the culprits behind the attack. This came as no surprise to the Hazara community, who have yet to see the Pakistan government take action against the Sunni extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
@YousufNazar: A joint army/commando/police operation against TTP/LeJ is the only solution. They don’t even spare women & children; U can’t talk to animals