Black Thursday: Bloodbath in Quetta

Published: January 11, 2013

Security personnel examine the site of a bomb explosion in Quetta. PHOTO: AFP

QUETTA: 

A string of bombings left at least 93 people dead and over 150 wounded in one of the bloodiest days of violence that Balochistan has seen for years.

“A suicide bomber detonated the explosives inside a crowded snooker club on Alamdar Road, a Shia-dominated neighbourhood of Quetta,” Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani told The Express Tribune.

“Fifteen minutes later, another explosion went off outside the club as police, mediapersons and rescuers rushed to the site,” Durrani added.

A senior police official said 81 people were killed and 121 injured – some of them critically. “The fatalities include a television journalist and cameraman, eight police officials and five Edhi volunteers,” Mir Zubair Mehmood, the capital city police officer (CCPO), told a news conference.

The two media men were identified as Samaa TV reporter Saifur Rehman Baloch and Imran Sheikh.

Hamid Shakeel, the deputy inspector general of police (Investigation Branch), said the snooker club was situated in the basement of a four-storey building which collapsed with the impact of the blast.

Moments before the blast, the home secretary said, a man was seen carrying a bag into the crowded snooker club. The man is suspected to be a suicide bomber.

As soon as mediapersons, police and rescue officials reached the site, the second blast went off. Television channels counted the two explosions as suicide attacks. But the home secretary later described the second as a time device that was planted in a car. Most of the casualties were caused by the second blast.

The bombings disrupted power supplies and plunged the Alamdar Road neighbourhood into darkness. The area is dominated by the Hazara community, who are Shias by sect. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the blast and said their target was the Hazara community.

A spokesperson for the militant group told Quetta-based journalists in a phone call that the first one was a suicide blast and the second was a planted bomb.

The casualties were driven to the Civil Hospital where a state of emergency was already declared. Dozens of injured are in critical condition, medics said, adding that the death toll could rise.

“We have enough life-saving medicine to treat the injured,” Health Department official Dr Saleem told The Express Tribune.

blast-photo-afp

An old man cries over the death of his relative in the Quetta blast. PHOTO: AFP

After the Alamdar Road blast, there were two more blasts on Prince Road, which is part of the commercial district of Quetta, whipping up fear and panic among residents.

Earlier in the day, a massive bomb went off near a paramilitary checkpoint at a busy roundabout of Quetta, killing around a dozen people, including a paramilitary soldier, and injuring 40 others.

The United Baloch Army (UBA), an insurgent group, claimed responsibility for the blast which took place in Bacha Khan Chowk, the commercial district of the provincial capital.

“It was a time device,” Quetta police chief Mir Zubair said.  “The bomb was planted underneath a vehicle parked near a picket of the Frontier Corps (FC),” he told journalists as investigators sifted through the rubble for more clues. “FC personnel were the target,” said police investigator Hamid Shakeel.  The explosion destroyed at least 15 vehicles, three of them belonging to the FC, and 10 nearby shops. One of the FC vehicles was turned into a heap of mangled metal. An explosives expert said the bomb weighed 20 to 30 kilogrammes.

After the blast pools of blood, shattered windows, charred pieces of metal and merchandise from street vendors littered the roadside. Home Secretary Captain (Retd) Akbar Hussain Durrani confirmed 11 fatalities. “Among the dead were an FC soldier, a naib tehsildar and a Revenue Department official.” However, an Edhi rescue official added that one of the injured died while being driven to a hospital.

“One FC personnel was killed and 10 were injured – two of them seriously,” said Murtaza Baig, the spokesperson for the paramilitary force.

Most of the casualties were shifted to the Civil Hospital where medics told The Express Tribune that they have received 35 injured – some of them with critical wounds. Another 15 injured were shifted to other hospitals of the city.

The UBA claimed responsibility for the blast in a phone call to Quetta-based journalists. The group’s spokesperson said the paramilitary force was the target. The UBA is one of many groups fighting a bloody insurgency in the province.

The group had earlier kidnapped John Solecki, former chief of UNHCR in Balochistan, who was later set free.

It was the deadliest day in Quetta since a suicide bomber blew himself up at a 2010 mourning procession, killing around 50 people. (With additional input from Agencies)

(Read: Are we serious against terrorism?)

Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (57)

  • Islamabad Bulls
    Jan 11, 2013 - 3:37AM

    Pak has every week the black since the US forces migrated in Afganistan. I like the Pak before the US expedition of Afganistan. Than there was Pakistani blood was not so cheap

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  • sabi
    Jan 11, 2013 - 3:40AM

    When there is martial law these terrorists go for hibernation process,but only in martial law time!!

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  • numbersnumbers
    Jan 11, 2013 - 3:59AM

    Expect more of the same slaughter until the Government and the Army gets their collective heads out of the sand!
    This is now Pakistan’s war, and no amount of Denial/conspiracy theory crap/Foreign Hand fantasies will change that!
    Time to send all captured terrorists/TTP/militants to military tribunals where (hopefully) the usual “lack of evidence” will no longer exist!
    Time to send all convicted terrorists/TTP/militants to military jails (on secure military bases) or to summary execution where warranted (hopefully posted on YouTube) for all the see JUSTICE at last!!
    Time for all the political parties to explicitly state their positions on this mess AND WHO THEY BLAME!
    Time for the “6th largest army in the world” to EXTEND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF PAKISTAN TOTALLY IN THE WAZIRISTANS, giving the enemy no quarter (no prisoners has a nice ring to it, since non-uniformed combatants do not get Geneva convention protections)!

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  • SJL
    Jan 11, 2013 - 4:17AM

    What happened to the beautiful country of my childhood days? I wish I had never grown to see these days.

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  • Jan 11, 2013 - 5:39AM

    @Islamabad Bulls:

    Be it ethnic separatist militants or religious sectarian extremists, these groups have always existed and spilled blood cheaply in Pak, albeit a little less atrocious frequency, even before the US moved in next door. Pak didn’t do anything about them then, won’t do anything now, and probably never will even after the US leaves.

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  • Sudheer
    Jan 11, 2013 - 5:50AM

    If my calculation is right, then, at least, 150 people have been killed by the terrorists during the last 24 hours. But, what saddens me more is that, not a whine of protest did I hear from any corner of Pakistan against these horrendous acts. Political class, civil society, media, intelligentsia or even common people seems to have gone numb and forgotten the basic human trait known as compassion.
    Pakistan has lost the right to call itself a nation.

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  • stevenson
    Jan 11, 2013 - 5:57AM

    @sabi: All of the current problems can be traced to dictators and martial law. Think of how cheaply Musharraf sold the country and how he destablized things before he was kicked out. These anti state criminals are cowards who take money from foreign agencies to harm Pakistanis! The army should show them the meaning of punishement for killing innocent civilians in a snooker hall. How shameless can these cowards be!

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  • Ali Baloch
    Jan 11, 2013 - 6:01AM

    @Sabi check your facts these insurgents got more strong in Musharraf’s reign AKA “Mini Martial Law”.

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  • lionheart
    Jan 11, 2013 - 6:02AM

    Each and every Pakistani national is responsible for this. You forgot to teach your sons and daughters the virtues of harmony, peace and universal love for another human being.You taught them to look at everything from the prism of religion. You taught them to hate Hindus. You taught them to hate Americans. You taught them to hate everything that is not Islamic. YOU DROVE THE IDEOLOGY OF HATRED.

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  • Iron hand
    Jan 11, 2013 - 6:18AM

    Last comment did not make it through the censors so I’ll try again – why is anyone surprised by this sectarian violence? Religious hatred has been spoon fed to Pakistanis for over two decades. This attack will be excused, denied, justified, etc., just like all the others. No getting through to the brainwashed, I’m afraid. Sorry for the minority who oppose the murderers and their philosophy who are stuck in this shooting gallery of a country.

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  • sabi
    Jan 11, 2013 - 6:31AM

    @stevenson:
    “All of the current problems can be traced to dictators and martial law.”
    That’s what I mean.

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  • Bahlool
    Jan 11, 2013 - 6:36AM

    All I know is that my Shias are getting killed so regularly and majority is sleeping. I hate you all.Recommend

  • Harshvardhan Sharma
    Jan 11, 2013 - 6:36AM

    What u sow so u reap.Period

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  • Polpot
    Jan 11, 2013 - 6:50AM

    “A string of bombings left at least 93 people dead and over 150 wounded in one of the bloodiest days of violence that Balochistan has seen for years.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Sadly, Pakistan’s future has arrived !

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Jan 11, 2013 - 6:52AM

    The day Pakistan forgets Kashmir is the day Pakistan achieves peace.

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  • Jan 11, 2013 - 7:11AM

    On behalf of the people, I would like to thank security forces and emergency response teams for their swift actions in the wake of this tragedy. One can only imagine the horrors they witness on a day to day basis and the immense emotional toll it must have on their psyche’s. We would not be able to recover and return to our lives without them. Salute

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  • Indian
    Jan 11, 2013 - 7:50AM

    Dear Pakistani people, at least now realize that we Hindus are not bad people and not your enemies, but rather these radical groups that your army created are your actual enemies. All the best for Pakistan for 2013.

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  • Supersequelp
    Jan 11, 2013 - 8:00AM

    This is our war now! Invade the waristan regions and assassin those outside the borders who support them. I am so sad because my brother in Quetta who loves snooker could have been one of them.

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  • Rizwan
    Jan 11, 2013 - 8:07AM

    Will our PM and President visit the affected families or do they only take time out to visit Malala and the likes…

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  • Anon
    Jan 11, 2013 - 8:16AM

    I agree with Sudheer…
    If ONE person of some political party had died, we would have observed a day of mourning. Yet over 150 innocent people have lost their lives in this terrible incident, and there has been little to no reaction. Its sad.
    This event has send shivers down my spine. These terrorists should be found and bought to justice.

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  • Mubashir
    Jan 11, 2013 - 8:23AM

    I wonder if it is our “National Responsibility” to be killed for making US safe…? O God How long do we have to endure this hardship?

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  • M. A. Changezi
    Jan 11, 2013 - 8:24AM

    @stevenson:
    Couldn’t agree more Stevenson. This all mess started during Musharraf’s time when he was secretly supporting the extremist groups to scare and extort money out of the US. He played a double game for his own interest.

    I have personally ran out of patience. My people are being killed on daily basis and yet nobody from the international community stands for us. A Hazara dead never makes it to the mainstream media. It has to be 10+ dead to make it to the international news!

    Like me, I am sure a lot of my people have ran out of patience. It’s about time they pick arms up and defend themselves. The impotent/imbecile and corrupt government of Pakistan (local and federal) has failed to give protection to its citizen. It is now up to the citizens to defend themselves.

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  • abbas
    Jan 11, 2013 - 8:29AM

    How distorted news it is. 80 Shias were not quoted in the news but 11 victims of FC blast were. Pakistan disintegration is sure because a society can live with moral corruption but not without justice.

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  • the truth
    Jan 11, 2013 - 8:52AM

    @Islamabad Bulls:

    You reap what you sow. You cheapen the blood of your Muslim neighbors. You take advantage of them in their time of weakness to establish unjustified control. You even accept, tolerate and support brutal militants within the confines of your own borders. You see the ultimate radicalization and utilization of the great faith of Islam for that of thuggery and criminal intention. And then, once you’ve reaped what you’ve sowed. You still point your finger and deny responsibility. Well, soon, it won’t matter who you blame.

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  • Eddie dex
    Jan 11, 2013 - 9:03AM

    When will Pakistanis understand that this violence has nothing to do with Americans in Afganistan…it is Pakistans war with the enemy within…

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  • shahid
    Jan 11, 2013 - 9:15AM

    Pakistani Nero’s are playing with fiddles while rest of the country is burning …

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  • Eskumar
    Jan 11, 2013 - 9:48AM

    and Pakistanis think India is their number one enemy..!

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  • afzal
    Jan 11, 2013 - 10:19AM

    pakistan RIP

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  • True Picture
    Jan 11, 2013 - 11:01AM

    ET stop all those comments by Indian trolls who are disrespecting the victims.

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  • Jan 11, 2013 - 11:06AM

    happy new year

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Jan 11, 2013 - 11:25AM

    @shahid:

    Pakistani Nero’s are playing with
    fiddles while rest of the country is
    burning …

    Looks like 99% of Pakistanis are Neros. Only difference is that most of the Neros are burning and playing the fiddle at the same time.

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  • Jai
    Jan 11, 2013 - 11:26AM

    116 people killed in a single day in multiple terrorist acts is too much to bear for any country..I offer my condolences to the families of the sufferers and also to the country as a whole. The whole of Pakistan must be mourning for this senseless act. Hope your leadership can act in a strong manner to prevent such tragedies in future.

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  • Pakistani
    Jan 11, 2013 - 11:31AM

    @Indian:
    These all radical groups are funded by indains through out… since india has established its 16 consulates and embassies in Afghanistan near Pak border under the umbrella of America. Now you people are trying to misguide people by giving you humble suggestions.

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  • Moz
    Jan 11, 2013 - 11:36AM

    @Islamabad Bulls:

    “Pak has every week the black since the US forces migrated in Afganistan. I like the Pak before the US expedition of Afganistan. Than there was Pakistani blood was not so cheap”

    I don’t know about your Pakistan, but my Pakistan has every day blacked since the cold war. Trying to save your Taliban Friends from drones isn’t going to solve the problem.

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  • Megatron
    Jan 11, 2013 - 12:08PM

    Black water

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  • yasmin eliaz
    Jan 11, 2013 - 12:34PM

    Wow….. i know how it feels…. we all from Israel sending u guys hugs and hope u all feel better.
    we know how it feels. im so sorry for you. during the last decades we lost many ppl due to the terror attacks. hope u all feel good

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  • Gulzar Kandrani
    Jan 11, 2013 - 12:51PM

    Unfortunately, Murtza Baig, spokesperson of FC and PTV News Producer, also died in deadliest attack took place at Almadar Road after morning blast
    .

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  • Alex
    Jan 11, 2013 - 1:01PM

    @lionheart:
    100% right!!!!! Each of those who identifies himself with religion first rather than human being is responsible for this!! Murderers grow on the soil that allows them to grow and breed. It is Pakistan society and its religious priorities that have allowed these terrorists to breed like mosquitoes!!! All those religious honor badge holders and islamic flag holders in society who pride in religion rather than being a genuine compassionate human being should hang their heads in shame!! There can no religion or god greater than human life. As long as muslims kill muslims it seems ok for many in Pakistan. But the loud speakers will be erected if anything happens in Burma or India. I am appalled at the lack of concern and response from the society? Where is Mr.Confused Imran khan and his supporters????

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  • numbersnumbers
    Jan 11, 2013 - 1:01PM

    @Pakistani:
    And of course you can give us credible proof to support your comment that “these all radical groups are funded by Indians…..”!! NOT!!
    As for Indian embassies and consulates in Afghanistan, the FIVE are located in Kabul, Jalalabad, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kandahar!
    Please provide us with the locations of the other ELEVEN that you claim exist along the border with Pakistan!!!

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  • Indian Wisdom
    Jan 11, 2013 - 1:11PM

    Very Unfortunate and sad!!!
    Our heart goes for the families of victims……

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  • DarKnight
    Jan 11, 2013 - 1:18PM

    “The world is a Dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who do not do anything about it.”

    Albert Einstein

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  • ravi
    Jan 11, 2013 - 1:46PM

    @Pakistani

    The oft repeated allegation of indian complicity does not cut ice.

    Even if you try to convince ur self, no one else is getting convinced.

    Whereas, we Indians can always reject all allegations, the same way u people do.

    Finally, even if some one influences or finances the people who undertake the blasts, it is your own people killing your own, which is very extremely bad situation.

    Forget fighting India, find some solace in overcoming your own monsters

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Jan 11, 2013 - 1:51PM

    Absolutely terrible. Condolences.

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  • gujranwala789
    Jan 11, 2013 - 2:25PM

    I am more than 100% sure that india is behind the attack that was carried out by so-called united baloch army on FC personnel, it may be a response to the brutal beheading of indian soldier on the LOC few days ago. All these so-called baloch millitant organizations are funded and guided by india. As far as the other attacks are concerned , there needs to be a through investigation to determine their master minds as I doubt it was a sectarian attack since most of the people who died in these blasts seem to be pashtuns rather than hazaras.

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  • Feroz
    Jan 11, 2013 - 2:26PM

    Are the people able to now clearly see who the enemy is or are they still lost in fantasies ? From some of the comments I can see that some are so far gone that they are simply not able to accept reality. Do a thousand people need to die every day before the country decides to go after the bad guys ?

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  • mohd
    Jan 11, 2013 - 2:46PM

    Now which ambassador pakistan government going to summon?????????

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  • Pakistani
    Jan 11, 2013 - 4:06PM

    @ravi:

    Dear… Indians have got freedom only 64 years back and we lost our dinasty in 1857 but regained in 1947 just after 90 years. we ruled you people over 1000 years while islam inaugrated 1400 years before. Just think…
    there are approx 56 Muslim countries or more and only 2 Hindu states wherein india can’t declare it as hindu state but have extremists group like BJP, Shev sina etc.. you can not eradicate muslims from the world by your mischieves but you have limited choice.. so if you live peacefully and let others live you will be survived otherwise we shall give no gurantee for your going concern in future.
    dont crap your new born freedom of 64 years by your over confidence which is only backed by others. we have long history to regain every thing and you people only rely on others to help u ( erlier british then USSR and now America). If you loose your freedom now, then you will need another 1000 year to regain.. just think

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  • Milind
    Jan 11, 2013 - 4:31PM

    @gujranwala789 – “I am more than 100% sure that india is behind the attack that was carried out “

    Dude… The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has already owned this bloodbath… Its time to grow up my boy…
    When will you guys face the truth rather than ducking reality all the time.

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  • Antanu G
    Jan 11, 2013 - 6:39PM

    @Pakistani:
    Cut this 1000 year crap..it was a myth propagated by Pakistan text books..nobody except British ruled India fully..FYI, all the most Muslim countries except Pakistan are friendly with India..stop acting like leader of Islamic world when no one gives a hoot about you..

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  • Syed
    Jan 11, 2013 - 7:41PM

    Over 100 people were killed. This attack was on Shia Muslims of Pakistan. This isn’t the first huge attack on Shias in Pakistan. There are about 40 million Shias in Pakistan but please tell me the last time Shias attacked Sunnis like this. Have you seen a shia suicide bomber attacking a sunni mosque during tarawi? I mean whats wrong with you people?????Recommend

  • observer
    Jan 11, 2013 - 11:16PM

    @Pakistani:

    These all radical groups are funded by indains through out

    Since you know that what stops you from eliminating Indian Agents like Malik Ishaq? Who has provided him armed escorts?

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  • Jan 12, 2013 - 12:45AM

    It is sad to see hundreds of innocent people dying at the hands of terrorists. We strongly condemn these attacks and our condolences go out to the families of all those killed in these senseless attacks. Our prayers are with them and those injured. May they heal quickly! The people of the region have suffered enough at the hands of these ruthless terrorists. We hope that all who are behind these heinous crimes are brought to justice so the suffering people of the region get some closure.

    Abdul Quddus
    DET-United States Central Command
    http://www.centcom.mil/ur

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  • Jan 12, 2013 - 1:50AM

    @gujranwala789:
    @Pakistani:

    Such twisted insincere denials, delusions and moronic conspiracies will not fly any more. Such Pakistani majority citizens are simply excusing their co-religionist extremists and insensitive to the reality of minorities’ plight out of prejudice. Sorry, but these militants and terrorists are Pak’s own citizens, if not creations. Time to recognize the criminals and radicalization amongst the Pak population. The area L-e-J bombed was pre-dominantly known as a Shia Muslim community area, regardless if it was Pashtun or Hazara (though the latter were targeted as seen among the evidenced bodies). Claiming otherwise is dishonest and biased. Here’s an updated BBC link on L-e-J and what most researchers and sane folks already know. Or would you ridiculously claim the Taliban and Al Qaeda are also Indian proxies?
    Profile: Lashkar-e-Jhangvi

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  • Nauman
    Jan 12, 2013 - 5:23AM

    Zardari and Kayani……what are you gong to do? What are you going to do? Where is your conscience? You have both failed the nation. Don’t let them turn this into another Iraq.

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  • pork
    Jan 12, 2013 - 8:38AM

    hafis saieed is blaming India

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  • observer
    Jan 12, 2013 - 10:04AM

    @Pakistani:

    we lost our dinasty in 1857

    You may have lost your dinasty in 1857, but you continue to be nasty all the same.

    while islam inaugrated 1400 years before

    And who cut the ribbon at the inauguration?

    there are approx 56 Muslim countries or more

    Normally approx takes care of less as well as more, but then, you are not normal.Are You?

    have extremists group like BJP, Shev sina etc

    BJP I know, but who is Shev Sina? Some cousin of Ibn Sina or what?

    you can not eradicate muslims from the world by your mischieves

    Yes certainly, not by mischieves alone.

    so if you live peacefully and let others live you will be survived

    I think then both will be survived

    otherwise we shall give no gurantee for your going concern in future.

    Thank you for giving gurantee now.

    dont crap

    You mean become constipated for ever?

    which is only backed by others

    Like by NATO, CENTO,SEATO and Higher Than Mountains friends?

    just think

    Well someone has to,as you refuse to think at all.

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  • UncaJim
    Mar 1, 2013 - 6:49AM

    bad

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