Civil society activists demanded the government to take immediate action against the outlawed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) for killing Hazaras in a press conference on Thursday.
Quetta bore the brunt of the worst terrorist attacks in the beginning of this year with over 200 Hazaras killed so far. Addressing media persons at the National Press Club (NPC), representatives of civil society asked the government to act against the LeJ who have claimed responsibility for killing the Hazara under the banner of Insani Huqooq Ithehad Network, a coalition of rights organisations. Activists also asked the government to compensate the victims’ families and provide medical treatment to the injured.
“I’m surprised the government is reluctant to take action against the LeJ despite the fact that they have claimed responsibility for the terror incidents,’’ said Sajjad Ali Changezi, a representative of Hazaras. In the first two months of this year, over 200 innocent Hazaras were killed and the government still seems helpless against militants groups, he added. “LeJ militants kill innocent civilians and attack them in the streets in Quetta.”
“Militarily intervention in Balochistan is not the ideal situation and Hazaras are not in favour of it at all, but military interference is essential for their survival,” said Fatima Atif, another activist of the Hazara community.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Chairperson Zohra Yousuf, however dismissed military intervention as undesirable and urged all political parties to play their role in promoting tolerance. “I believe that military interference is not the solution; all political parties should make it their top priority to bring peace to Balochistan,” she added. Condemning the killing of Hazaras, she criticised the government for its failure to ensure security for its constituents.
Protest outside NPC
After the press conference, dozens of students of the Hazara community held a protest against the sectarian killings and announced the launch of a campaign called the “Wear Humanity Campaign.” Wearing white shirts inscribed with slogans like “Neither violence nor silence” and “We love peace and humanity”, they expressed solidarity with the victims’ families. They will wear white shirts with slogans to promote peace and tolerance under the campaign. The students also said they would donate blood in differant parts of the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2013.