‘Soft spot for LJ’: ‘Govt must stop backing anti-Shia groups’

Published: February 19, 2013
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A file photo of Shia women stage a sit-in protest against twin bomb attack in Quetta, in Karachi January 14. PHOTO: REUTERS

A file photo of Shia women stage a sit-in protest against twin bomb attack in Quetta, in Karachi January 14. PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: 

The Punjab government must stop supporting extremist groups that target Shias and quickly bring to justice the murderers of a prominent Shia doctor, demanded the participants of a sit-in protesting against violence against the community here on Monday.

The protest outside Governor’s House organised by the Majlis-i-Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM), which began around noon on Sunday after a bombing targeting Quetta’s Hazaras that killed over 80 people, was called off briefly late on Sunday night amidst reports of a deal with the government.

But the protesters regrouped on Monday morning as, MWM Punjab Information Secretary Mazhair Shigri said, the government failed to meet the group’s demands. Hundreds of people participated in the protest and they were determined to continue until the government accepted their demands, Shigri said.

An eight-point agenda, issued by MWM Central Deputy Secretary General Allama Ameen Shaheedi, included the demands that the army take control of Balochistan, particularly Quetta; that targeted operations be carried out against the perpetrators of the attack, believed to be Laskhar-i-Jhangvi; that the government issue arms licences to members of the public for their protection; that extremists be uprooted from the security apparatus and law enforcement agencies including the police and the army; that immediate action be taken against banned organisations still functioning in Balochistan; that anti-Shia walk-chalking in Quetta and support of extremist groups by local print media be stopped; that supporters of former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani be removed from the provincial administration; and that elements in the provincial government with a “soft spot” for extremist groups like Laskhar-i-Jhangvi be ousted.

‘Direct attack’

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Shigri termed the killing of Dr Ali Haider in Lahore on Monday morning a targeted assassination. “Let there be no mistake: this was a direct attack on the Shia population with the aim to harass and corner us,” he said.

He said that the protest outside Governor’s House sought justice not just for the killings in Quetta, but also that of Dr Haider. “The Punjab government must stop backing extremist outfits,” he stated.

“We are not afraid of death,” said Ghazal Bukhari, a member of the MWM women’s wing volunteering for security work at the women’s section of the sit-in. “We have a right to life and this right must be respected by the government,” she added.

Huma Taqvi, a mother of three who joined the protest since it began on Sunday, said that despite the government’s failure to provide security, the Shia community could not be scared off by extremists.

“It is quite clear that they want to wipe us out, but we have resolved to make ourselves heard,” said Taqvi. “The real question is, will Lahore change into Quetta? And what is the government doing about this situation?”

Shigri said that protests had also been staged at Imamia Colony, Thokar Niaz Beg and Chungi Amr Sidhu, where the protesters briefly held up a Metro Bus.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Saleem
    Feb 19, 2013 - 1:50PM

    The only effective solution is for the Shia to forcefully hit back these terrorists. The corrupt politicians and generals are not going to do anything.

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  • Haydar Taqawi
    Feb 19, 2013 - 2:17PM

    Violence is never the answer, neverRecommend

  • A - No.1
    Feb 19, 2013 - 2:59PM

    The N league’s patronising of right wing groups is the cause for the emergence of TTP.

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  • Dr. A.K.Tewari
    Feb 19, 2013 - 3:59PM

    Right wing is trying to give political shelter to TTP members by offering unconditional talk with them on one hand and also protesting against them on the irher hand . This duelity is no more acceptable .

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  • Arif
    Feb 19, 2013 - 4:24PM

    The Only Solution Is Tit For Tat.

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  • goggi
    Feb 19, 2013 - 5:46PM

    People of Pakistan were never mentally prepared, neither they are now, to acknowledge and address Violence (psychic and physical) as the most deadly social disease, be the fists turned towards others or turned towards oneself.

    “Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law.”…..The Principles of Karma

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  • Enlightened
    Feb 19, 2013 - 7:23PM

    It is a matter of great concern that Punjab govt is giving refuge and even monetary help to sectarian outfits. PMLN is the main culprit who is dreaming to run the next govt however this exposure should be taken notice of by the people before voting for this party. It has been proved time and again that no militant organisation is a friend of govt or military and friendship with them for short term benefits shall prove to be suicidal in the long run. Therefore, those parties who are aligning with the sectarian forces for getting additional votes need to review their stand and should be shunned by the people as people of Pakistan are totally fed up of violence and insecurity for the past five years and want a stable govt who protects all sections of society.

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  • Stranger
    Feb 19, 2013 - 9:22PM

    Please Arid / Saleem and many more like them – dont talk about tit for tat. its not the answer.

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  • Saleem
    Feb 20, 2013 - 1:59AM

    @Stranger:
    So what is the answer. Tang amad bajang amad. The corrupt politicians support these terrorists as do the corrupt generals for selfish purposes. Demonstartions and protest have not achieved anything.

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