In another targeted attack on the Shia community, six ethnic Hazaras were shot dead by gunmen in Quetta on Monday – a day which also saw the killing of four people in violence elsewhere in the restive Balochistan province.
Police said some Hazara community members were sitting at a shop on Prince Road when gunmen on two motorbikes opened fire on them, killing six people on the spot and injuring two others. The attackers managed to escape soon after.
“All the victims belong to the Hazara community. It appears to be a sectarian attack,” Qazi Wahid, the DIG Operations, told The Express Tribune.
Police and security forces cordoned off the area, while the casualties were shifted to Sandeman Hospital.
The sextuple murder whipped up tension in the neighbourhood as people from the Shia community took to the streets to protest against the government and law enforcers.
Protesters blocked Jinnah Road and forced shopkeepers to pull down shutters. Some weapon-wielding protesters harassed doctors and journalists near the hospital.
A reporter of Express News was injured during the chaos, while a passerby was hit by a stray bullet.
Four killed in separate incidents
In another incident, four people, including two settlers from Punjab, were shot dead in Turbat and Jaffarabad districts.
Police said armed men on a motorbike opened fire on two people standing at a bus stop in the Mand area of Turbat. The murderers managed to escape.
Police said it could be a case of targeted killing as the victims belonged to Lahore and Sargodha and were waiting for a Karachi-bound bus when targeted. The bodies were sent to their native towns after legal formalities.
Separately, two people were killed in an armed clash between two groups in Usta Muhammad town of Jaffarabad district. The clash occurred over the chopping of trees.
Two bodies found
Two bodies were found in Kalat district, about 145 kilometres away from Quetta.
Some passersby spotted the bodies dumped in a desolate place and informed the Levies force. The victims were taken to a nearby state-run hospital. “The bodies had multiple bullet wounds,” a source added.
Identities of the victims could not be ascertained by the time this report was filed.
Meanwhile, a human rights group, Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VFBM), staged a rally outside the Quetta Press Club to condemn the dumping of bullet-riddled bodies and non-recovery of missing persons.
Sister of Zakir Majid, a missing Baloch student, said she has been on strike for the past several months for the recovery of her brother. “I went to Karachi and Islamabad to protest, but my brother is yet to be recovered.”
“All I want is justice from the Supreme Court and other human rights organisations,” said Doctor Din Muhammad Baloch’s daughter.
They alleged that all Baloch missing persons are in illegal official custody and must be produced before the court if they are involved in any crime.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2012.
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