High-level huddle: Quetta won’t be handed over to the army

Published: February 20, 2013
Children display signs during the third day of protests in Quetta. PHOTO: AFP

Children display signs during the third day of protests in Quetta. PHOTO: AFP


The government has decided not to call in the army in Quetta in spite of demands made by the targeted Hazaras and is also likely to lift Governor Rule from the province next week.

The decision was taken at a high-level huddle, attended by President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, on Tuesday, official sources said.

The troika met amid countrywide protests by Shias seeking decisive action against the groups involved in the target killings and bomb blasts.

On Saturday, an attack on the Shia Hazaras in Quetta left almost 90 people dead. The attack came just over a month after the minority was targeted in a massive bomb blast which killed over 100 people and triggered unprecedented country-wide protests. Following the attack, the government imposed Governor Rule in the province in compliance with the Hazara demands.

The people are now demanding the government hand over the security of the provincial capital to the army.

Although the government has ordered a targeted operation in Balochistan, the meeting at the Presidency on Tuesday decided not to call in the army.

Law Minister Farooq H Naek confirmed the development and said the president, prime minister and army chief had also discussed the possibility of lifting Governor Rule from Balochistan.

“Calling the army is not a solution to the problem,” Naek argued.

The law minister told a private news channel that the federal government was considering the restoration of a provincial administration with the appointment of a new chief minister. A decision would be taken very soon, he added.

A security official disclosed that the army would, however, remain on standby during the targeted operation that would be launched against the outlawed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has claimed responsibility for both attacks.

The official confirmed that the army would not directly take part in the ‘intelligence-driven, integrated’ operation against militants.

He added that General Kayani assured the federal government that the army was ready to take action if the civilian administration felt the need for it.

“Under Article 245 of the Constitution, the federal government can call the army for assistance in Balochistan,” another official pointed out.

“The army will remain on standby in Quetta and is ready to assist the civilian authorities if its help is sought.”

Though the army is not directly taking part in the targeted operations, its intelligence agencies will provide the main input to attack the hideouts of militants.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Roni
    Feb 20, 2013 - 9:40AM

    This is the only way army is supposed to help the civilian administration. They have to help the authorities and not create a situation to take over the govt.


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Feb 20, 2013 - 10:00AM

    don’t kill me I am also a muslim

    — Sorry lady, but that’s how all this started.


  • Imran
    Feb 20, 2013 - 10:01AM

    Government should destroy and eradicate Lashkar e Jangiri and Kaladam Tanzeem. If Government feels responsibility.


  • Xero
    Feb 20, 2013 - 10:31AM

    Its tragic, very tragic. All should be done to stop this madness, though the message on the poster in the boys hand should maybe not be used.


  • S.Raj
    Feb 20, 2013 - 10:46AM

    ‘intelligence-driven, integrated’ operation ??

    Now we all know where this ‘targeted’ operation is heading towards !


  • Raj - USA
    Feb 20, 2013 - 11:16AM

    Easiest thing to do would be to hand over Quetta to China. Entire Parliament and Army would wholeheartedly support it and pass an unanimous resolution immediately. Army would say that they respect the supremacy of the civilian government and Parliament would say that this represents the collective wisdom of all Pakistani citizens. Not sure, if China would go for it.


  • Mary D'costa, Goa,India
    Feb 20, 2013 - 11:31AM

    I feel unfortunately, the lady protester is also very communal. Her message says, “Dont kill me, I am also Muslim”. In other words, if she was non-muslim (kaffir) , she could be killed. What a shameful thinking!!!


  • stars
    Feb 20, 2013 - 12:17PM

    the placard reads “don’t kill me I am also a muslim”…its unfortunate that the little girl holding the placard has not been taught that even non muslims have a right to live.


  • Feb 20, 2013 - 12:20PM

    “don’t kill me I am also a Muslim” —
    the logic / argument/ feelings in the minds itself is wrong and misleading. Doesn’t this placard signals a deep impression among the Muslims that had I been non Muslim ( do not subscribe to your faith ) you can kill me or with another angle precisely you have aright to kill me or then I am a person wazib ul katal but why you Muslims kill me another Muslim ?

    i have all the sympathy with the victims and their kins who are deeply mourning the loss of their loved one.
    Can we become human first to live with others happily, this beautiful life, we have been given by almighty..


  • Advice
    Feb 20, 2013 - 12:37PM

    Restoring the Provincial Govt.? Zardari is only trying to fullfil the demands of his allies Fazul Rehman and not that of the hazara community.The only benificiary will be the Fazul rehman ppl who only wants to loot the country as much as possible. As the election is near so they must need funds and Power for their election campaign. and this can only be done if all the Members of balochistan assembly could be restored and came in to the power

    Yes this is targeted operation but in other terms. The objective may be different…


  • Paindoo
    Feb 20, 2013 - 1:01PM

    Security establishment must launch an all-out operarion against the culprits. Situation is still controllable.


  • Peace
    Feb 20, 2013 - 1:06PM

    “Don’t kill me I am also a Muslim” misunderstood !

    It means I have the same rights as another Muslim does, It in no way means it is allowed to kill non Muslims, There are some savage animals out there killing the loved ones of that innocent girl and you blame her very ideology based on a mere misunderstanding hence taking the side of oppressor instead of the oppressed !
    You are supposed to condole with her.

    P.S If someone says I have the right to live it does not necessarily mean others do not !


  • Shah
    Feb 20, 2013 - 6:44PM

    @Raj – USA:

    a very pathentic statement….i can see the fire in you regarding Gwadar..but for once atleast stand quietly to pay the people who passed away respect rather than Pakistani Bashing…


  • Raj - USA
    Feb 20, 2013 - 9:57PM

    “If someone says I have the right to live it does not necessarily mean others do not !”

    Whatever twist you may give, it is a very loud and clear communal message. The killings were sectarian and she is talking of muslims and only muslims, even without realizing that Shias are not considered as muslims in Pakistan. Has ever any hindu in India or christian in any western country held a placard with such a message? Even when Hindus were raped, killed and victimized they all said that they are Pakistanis. So, did Sikhs and Ahmedis and Christians. You can say this is so because Pakistan is an Islamic country. That exactly is the point. Non-muslims have no rights even to live there and these Shias and Hazars do not realize that they themselves are non-muslims in Pakistan so want to call themselves muslims to avoid being killed. No one is a Pakistani. For over 90% of the sunni population, everyone is a sunnis, shias or belong to some other religion. Just see primetime TV talk shows between the last mass massacre of Shias in Pakistan and the recent one. Hardly 5% every devoted their time to discuss the Shia killings after the shia massacre in January 2103. They devoted 5 or 6 times more air time to discuss Afia, Ajmal, and Afzal.

    Nothing, as you say is misunderstood. The lady is just trying to save her sect by claiming to belong to the larger muslim group and there is nothing as a larger muslim group as such.


  • Peace
    Feb 21, 2013 - 7:47PM

    @Raj – USA:

    There is no twist in what I said.
    With your recent response you are really alienating and parting yourself from the mainstream readers and sympathizers, think about it,
    Firstly your comment is biased since it seems your are an Indian otherwise you would not post such a long and aggressive response.
    Secondly Shias are considered Muslims since there is no Article in Pakistani Constitution negating it, the perception of a few ill-minded people does not represent an official statement.
    Thirdly they are not trying to prove that they are part of the mainstream because they ARE the mainstream.
    You don’t know the Hazara people otherwise you had not blamed the innocent girl, they are the most peaceful people in Pakistan.

    P.S While commenting on internet try to be unbiased since it is read throughout the world and can cause your own alienation……
    I say no more, leave it to you…….


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