ISLAMABAD: In a change of plans, Prime Minister Imran Khan will not be flying to Quetta to mourn with the families of victims of the Hazar Ganji market blast.
The premier was scheduled to arrive in Quetta today [April 18] to visit bereaved families of the victims. However, Special Assistant to PM on Media Affairs Yousuf Baig Mirza told Express that PM Imran has canceled the trip and ‘might’ visit the Balochistan city tomorrow or day after. It may be mentioned here that the premier is scheduled to leave for an extended trip to Iran and China on Sunday.
At least 20 people were martyred and 48 were injured when an explosion went off at a vegetable market in Quetta early April 12. The bomb detonated near a site where produce was being loaded for distribution around the market. Majority of the victims belonged to the Hazara community. One Frontier Corps soldier was also martyred.
Following the attack, the Hazara community staged a four-day long sit on the western bypass demanding implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP), the arrest of the perpetrators and an earnest effort by the state authorities to fulfill their responsibility of providing security to its people. They asked PM Imran to visit the southwestern city and make assurances.
The sit-in was called off after Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan promised the minority community that justice will be served.
President Arif Alvi, Minister of State for Interior Sheryar Afridi, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri and Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari are among the prominent personalities who visited the Imam Bargah to condone the attack and grieve with the victims’ families.
Hazaras have been frequently targeted by militant groups in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Since 2012, attacks against the ethnic Hazara community, have been on the rise. Hazara casualties include everyone from students and government employees to sportsmen.