Growing intolerance: Sectarian killers mow down seven in Quetta

Published: September 2, 2012
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Relatives mourn the loss of their loved ones killed in Saturday’s sectarian attacks. PHOTO: AFP

Relatives mourn the loss of their loved ones killed in Saturday’s sectarian attacks. PHOTO: AFP

QUETTA: 

Bloody sectarian violence continues unabated in the volatile Balochistan province.

On Saturday, seven members of the Hazara community were killed in two apparently coordinated drive-by shooting incidents on the outskirts of the provincial capital.

“Gunmen riding on motorcycles fired a volley of gunshots at a bus stop in the Hazar Ganji neighbourhood near a vegetable market,” Haji Khan, an officer at the Shal Kot police station, told The Express Tribune.

Five people – all vegetable sellers – were killed on the spot, he added. The victims belonged to the ethnic Hazara community who are Shias by sect.

Wazir Khan Nasir, the deputy inspector general of police (DIG), put the number of attackers at four and said they were riding on two motorcycles. He confirmed that it was a targeted attack against the Hazara community.

Earlier reports suggested that the gunmen intercepted a bus, pulled five Hazara vegetable sellers off the vehicle and shot them dead.

One and a half hour later, gunmen riding on a motorbike sprayed bullets on another bus stop in the same neighbourhood. “Two intending pilgrims from the Hazara community were killed,” Haji Khan said.

According to him, the victims were waiting at the bus stop to catch a bus for the Pak-Iran border town of Taftan.

Soon after the first attack, a heavy contingent of police and paramilitary Frontier Corps cordoned off the area and mounted a manhunt for the killers.

The victims were driven to the Bolan Medical College Teaching Hospital for medico-legal formalities before the bodies are handed over to their heirs for burial.

The victims were identified as Ali Baba, Jawad, Nauroz Ali, Muhammad Raza, Nauroz, Muhammad Ali and Aziz Ali.

Violent protests

The senseless killings sparked violence in some neighbourhoods of the city where members of the Hazara community took to the streets. Protesters went berserk, allegedly barged into houses and harassed residents.

Residents said irate protesters made their way into residences in Rasiani Town, Faisal Town, Bugti Street, Railway Housing Scheme, Qilla Muhammad Hassani, A-One City and threatened the occupants.

At least two persons were killed and nine others, including a police official, were wounded in protest. “We were caught up in violent protests. We were terrified and feeling insure in our own houses,” Azhar Khan, a resident of Faisal Town told The Express Tribune.

“It was anarchy-like situation – police and administration did not come to control the situation,” he added.

The Hazara Democratic Party staged a sit-in outside the IG office and condemned the targeted killings of their community members. They demanded immediate arrest of the killers.

Chief of Hazra tribe Sardar Sadat Ali called a shutter-down strike in Quetta on Sunday to protest the killings. The Hazara Democratic Party and Thahfuz-e-Azadari Council supported the call.

Alarmed by the recent surge in target attacks, the provincial government has delegated police powers to the paramilitary FC in an attempt to stem the tide of violence.

This means now FC troops can make arrest, search houses and detain people for questioning, an official told The Express Tribune.

In one month, at least 20 people have been killed in sectarian violence in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan which is a flashpoint for sectarian violence that has left thousands of people dead since the late 1980s.

LeJ claims responsibility

Late in the night, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) sectarian extremist group claimed responsibility for the gruesome killings.

A purported spokesperson for the LeJ said that his group was responsible for the killing of seven Hazara community members.

“From tomorrow (Sunday), we will start our campaign against the police. Top police officials will be targeted during the campaign,” the spokesperson, identifying himself as Abu Bakar, told Express News in a phone call from an undisclosed location.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Pakistani Pakhtoon
    Sep 2, 2012 - 4:20AM

    RIP,, so sad to hear that. they were human beings Recommend

  • Ali Zaid
    Sep 2, 2012 - 4:30AM

    Enough is enough. If state can not fulfill its responsibilities and is incapable of handling the terrorists, than the civilians have full rights to defend themselves.
    I request Hazaras and other Shia brothers not to let the blood of your loved ones’ spilled for no reason. Rise up, get united and do the justice yourselves.

    Recommend

  • Zeta
    Sep 2, 2012 - 4:56AM

    Since this incompetent government is never gonna help them. May Allah these people . I’m Sunni and i am sick and tired of what scums like LeJ and SSP do in the name of my religion and faith.

    Recommend

  • Jihad Bil-Qalam
    Sep 2, 2012 - 6:04AM

    The only way to come out of this vicious circle of religious terrorism and sectarian violence is to purge the constitution of all religious references. The experiences in Turkey, Pakistan, and Iran have taught us that we must uphold secularism above democracy. It is possible to transition from a secular dictatorship to a secular democracy, but it is extremely hard to go from an Islamic democracy to a secular democracy. I pray to Allah to send us a Kamal Ataturk in Pakistan. Ameen.

    Recommend

  • Kumail
    Sep 2, 2012 - 6:11AM

    The Taliban are animals I tell you animals

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  • Thinker
    Sep 2, 2012 - 6:38AM

    Our Shia Muslim brothers form a major part of bureaucracy and military.
    They sit in corps-commanders meetings; they are major part of cabinet and high ranking bureaucracy. If they are unable to convince state to protect their community; what should we, the weak and powerless expect?

    Recommend

  • Iftikhar Khan
    Sep 2, 2012 - 6:50AM

    The LEJ must be destroyed. completely. For all of us survival

    Recommend

  • Raw is War
    Sep 2, 2012 - 8:11AM

    picture tells it all.

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  • Macho
    Sep 2, 2012 - 9:32AM

    Government ! please act, this is not the issue of writing a letter where your corruption will be exposed. It is a matter of life and death for scores of innocent people.

    Recommend

  • Naqi Hazara
    Sep 2, 2012 - 11:10PM

    It will be wrong if poeple think that Hazara nation cant defend themselves or cant kill anyone but the fakt is that who shall we kill? those pakhtoons who are our nabours? no. those panjabies who lives some street away from our place? no. then who should get those bullets which we have loaded in our arms?
    Shall we kill like those assasins who kill us just infront of the people in bazar and no one rasists? those who have made a hideout for them and when ever they wash their hands with any Hazara´s blood they recieve them with respect? who do you think that we should target????????? I personaly have alot of pashtoon friends so why the people just look at them when they shatter the innocent blood og Hazaras?? Are the not equaly involved in these assasinations? Almighty GOD says that :
    the person who helps or stays silent for a crime is equally involved in the crime as the subject was.
    And the time changes its side. we will not be like this for ever..

    Recommend

  • Hassan
    Sep 3, 2012 - 10:51PM

    Can the police or some govt agency not apprehend this miscreant Abu bakr
    Almost guarantee that had he made such a phone call in any western country he
    Would have had his shoulder felt by now. Only in Pakistan can this happen.
    My heart goes out to the innocent victims of this tragedy.

    Recommend

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