Hundreds of members of the Hazara community protested at D-Chowk in Islamabad on Friday to express their outrage at the target killing of ethnic Hazaras in Quetta.
At least 19 people including a woman were killed in a sectarian attack in Quetta last week when gunmen opened fire on a passenger vehicle loaded with predominantly Shia.
The protestors were carrying banners and placards with anti-government slogans like “Stop target killing of innocent people”, “Failure of provincial government”, and others condemning sectarian violence.
They criticised the provincial government for what they called “failure to protect the lives of the Hazara community” and demanded the resignation of Balochistan’s Chief Minister Aslam Raisani. PPP Member National Assembly (MNA) Nasir Ali Shah was also at the protest.
“I am here to express solidarity with my brothers who were killed in Quetta last week... I condemn the target killing of innocent Shias,” said MNA Ali.
The protesters felt that the Shia community in Quetta was continuously targeted and the provincial government is not doing enough to address the problem.
“The attitude of the provincial government is shocking. It is unable to arrest the people behind the killing of hundreds of innocent people in Balochistan,’’ said Ammar Rizvi another protester.
Speaking at the occasion, Rahim Jafri, a leader of the Shia community, said it is unfortunate that target killings had increased in Quetta, while identifying sectarianism as the root-cause. He said that the time has come for the federal government to take practical steps to overcome the issue.
“Despite the presence of Frontier Constabulary, in Quetta, the lives of common folk are still unsafe, which can only be called failure of the government,” he said.
He threatened to launch country-wide protest if those responsible for the killings in Quetta are not arrested.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2011.
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