Hazara Town carnage: Amidst continuing outrage, SC takes suo motu notice

Published: February 19, 2013
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A large number of Hazaras gather during a sit-in in Quetta against Saturday’s brutalities. PHOTO: AFP

A large number of Hazaras gather during a sit-in in Quetta against Saturday’s brutalities. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD / QUETTA: 

While the Supreme Court and the federal government decided on Monday to take some steps on their part, Shia Hazaras protesting against a devastating attack on their community on Saturday refused to budge until the army was deployed in the city.

The Supreme Court announced to take suo motu notice of the killings of the recent attacks on the Hazara community in Quetta.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry fixed the case for hearing today (Tuesday) and has issued notices to the Balochistan advocate general as well as the attorney general of Pakistan.

Thousands of protesters have been staging a sit-in against the attack, which left 89 people dead and around 200 injured, at a local Imam Bargah, along with the bodies of the victims of Saturday’s blast in Kirani Town of Quetta.

They have refused to bury the dead until Quetta is handed over to the army and a targeted operation launched against the culprits.

Saturday’s blast came over a month after a massive attack on the Shia Hazara community in Quetta left over 100 people dead. Families of the victims had staged a sit-in at the site of the attack and demanded the imposition of Governor’s Rule in the province, which the government has conceded to. Banned outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for both the attacks.

A statement issued by the SC’s public relations department stated that Saturday’s incident as well as last month’s has created a furor amongst the Shia Hazara community not just in Quetta but across the country.

On the other hand, the prime minister has formed a six-member committee to visit Quetta and “assess the situation.”

Meanwhile, a delegation of the Hazara community met Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi on Monday but no significant result was achieved during the meeting, a source said.

Central vice president of the Majlis Wadat-ul Muslimeen Allama Amin Shaheedi said that they would not bury the dead bodies until the city of Quetta is handed over to the army.

During a press conference in the Imam Bargah of Hazara Town, he claimed that 110 people were killed in Saturday’s blast, which he added, exposed the failure of the administration.

Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani, on the other hand, said that the situation in Quetta is under control and there is no need to call the army.  Addressing a press conference here on Monday, he said that 89 people had died in the tragic bomb blast at Kirani Road, while 204 were wounded. Around 32 of the injured have been shifted to Karachi.

He insisted that the government had taken serious steps to curb incidents of targeted killings and bomb blast, and argued that kidnappings for ransom had declined to a great extent.

Protest continues

In Quetta, the areas of Hazara Town, Eastern Bypass and Alamdar Road were in a state of mourning on Monday.

Public transport was largely halted in areas of Quetta, while Hazara Town virtually became a no-go area.

The Balochistan Bar Association and Balochistan Hight Court Bar Association boycotted the court proceedings and condemned the attack.

Some residents of Hazara Town kept themselves locked in, in fear of their lives despite tight security arrangements.

Akhter Muhammad, a resident of Faisal Town said, “It looks like a curfew has been placed in our area.”

A young participant of the sit-in, Durdana Batool, whose uncle was killed in the blast said, “We did not even observe a chehlum (40 days of mourning) for our relatives killed in Alamdar Road and they targeted us again,” she said.

Another protester Haleema Ikram, 28, demanded that the Pakistan Army take charge of Quetta and that the injured be shifted to the Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi.

Zara Ali, 35, told The Express Tribune that her five-year-old nephew, Ali Haider, was missing since Saturday. The only thing they found was his shoe from the blast site.

PM’s committee

According to a press release issued by PM House on Monday, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has constituted a six-member parliamentary delegation to visit Quetta tomorrow to assess the situation. The delegation comprises Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Inter Provincial Coordination Minister Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Chairman Public Accounts Committee Nadeem Afzal Gondal, Senator Sughra Imam, Yasmin Rehman (MNA) and Maula Buksh Chandio.

The team will meet the affected families, representatives of security and intelligence agencies, and the provincial administration.

The committee will compile a comprehensive report containing its assessment and recommendations.

Prime Minister Ashraf has also called for a comprehensive report from intelligence agencies regarding a breach of security by an explosives-laden truck used by terrorists during the attack.

He reiterated his resolve that the government would take all possible measures to identify those involved in the terrorist attack.

The premier has also spoken to the Balochistan governor and chief secretary regarding the incident, according to the statement.

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

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Umer
    Feb 19, 2013 - 4:47AM

    Nothing will happen; only civilian government will be blamed as usual while everyone knows Baluchistan is being run under FC. Real culprits will not be brought to trial.

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  • D Azad
    Feb 19, 2013 - 5:30AM

    THE SITUATION IS UNDER CONTROL??? does not look like its for the hazaras though.

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  • H. Khan
    Feb 19, 2013 - 5:53AM

    Right step but why was Suo Moto notice not taken when the first mega carnage took place in Questta about a monthback

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  • Sonia
    Feb 19, 2013 - 6:45AM

    An utter failure of so-called ‘intelligence’ agencies. There is no point in wasting our money on their boots and bungalows! When will we understand that the enemy is within us. It is us. It is the ‘experience’ gut feelings of salt and pepper haired gentlemen who cannot think beyond rhetoric and cannot comprehend the complexities and certainly lack any courage to do something. They forget that it is their JOB to do all this for which they should not expect thank yous and yes sirs!

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  • Jibran
    Feb 19, 2013 - 6:46AM

    Its a shame that it had to be the senseless slaughter and bloodbath of thousands of innocents to shake the conscience of the state machinery (judiciary and bureaucracy).

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  • Ak47
    Feb 19, 2013 - 9:06AM

    United Nations should send its peace keeping force in Pakistan to safeguard the religious and non-religious minorities.

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  • Muneer
    Feb 19, 2013 - 9:43AM

    The SC suo motu is not appropriate.Its interference is likely to further aggravate the problem.The solution lies in change of policy as to how to deal with such a situation and elements indulging in such henious crimes and then in effective and coordinated implementation of the policy at National and Provincial level.

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  • Yasmin
    Feb 19, 2013 - 9:54AM

    Home secretary is sound sleep as yet he has not even realized that the security situation in Quetta is under control or not. The day he looses his son in any attacks in Quetta, he will be awaken.

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  • Ghaznavi
    Feb 19, 2013 - 10:34AM

    This is Democracy’s BEST revenge!!

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  • Waseem Sarwar
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:08AM

    Oh supreme court, when they can set free Malik Ishaq who’s “love” for religious minorities can be found on Youtube then what exactly they will do for the betterment for Hazzars? Perhaps appoint Arslan as the new governor of province?

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  • Baba Ji
    Feb 19, 2013 - 11:11AM

    to be honest, I am getting fed up of this SOU MOTU !!! can we practically do something ?

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  • Stranger
    Feb 19, 2013 - 10:06PM

    Its happening again . A few weeks back we had this same situation -bomb blasts, death , revenge attacks, relatives refusign to buy the dead , infection caused by rotting bodies to vulnerable children , wailing and cursing , the government sending emissaries, some TALKS then silence , and now again in a matter of weeks its repeating . will it happen again in a matter of few weeks ? Does any one care ?

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