From January 10, when 93 people were killed in bomb blasts in Quetta to February 16, when 89 men, women and children died in a massive bomb blast in the same city, bringing the Quetta toll of death to 182, and all in the space of one month and five days — was this not time enough for a government to act in some manner, considering that the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) proudly claimed that they were the murderers, as they now have done? Their targets were poor Shias of Quetta, who have lived in fear and trepidation of their lives for long.
Since the LeJ are getting away with murder and mayhem and the governor of Balochistan, who presides over a pathetic governor’s rule, has admitted that “there is chaos everywhere and the state does not seem to be effective” (“does not seem to be” is ridiculous, it ‘is not’), therefore, we can expect more killings of Shias.
The federal government and all the petrified pillars of state have abdicated, done a Pontius Pilate, washing their hands off the entire matter of murder. The law minister has declared that “the situation is not so bad that the army should be deployed in [Quetta]”. The Supreme Court pronounced that the prime minister should bear responsibility for the carnage. Well, as everyone knows, he can take responsibility for nothing.
And the head of state is far more involved in the election process — approving symbols, trying to galvanise his party, plotting the caretaker set-up, and so forth — than he is in dwelling upon the safety and welfare of the citizens of the country. Since he runs the government and all else, other than the awkward judiciary and the overweening military, the responsibility for law and order and the lives of mainly the poor and deprived (high profile victims there have been but low in proportion to the rest) sits firmly on his head.
However, he and the others, who form the so-called ‘leadership’ can do nothing but ‘condemn’ all terrorist attacks and that too anonymously, as they avoid mention of the perpetrators, even though their identities are plastered all over the press — the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the Lashkar-this and the Lashkar-that, or whoever it may be who deals in death.
What is it with these people who sit, or rather cower, in high chairs? Are they all too frightened out of their skins that they dare not name names, or act in any way to prevent the dance of death that extends from Balochistan, over to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and down to Karachi? The sole security they are worried about is their own. Security arrangements involving the dual head of state and political party co-chairman are a joke as they cross all boundaries of logic and smack of cowardice. The same applies to the hundreds of minion ministers, to the chief justice of Pakistan, and somewhat disgracefully, even to the military top brass — the guardians paid to guard the nation.
Reported in the national press on February 19 was a news item detailing how the Rawalpindi roads are ‘cleared’ for the COAS to pass on his daily voyages. On February 18, a lawyer was clobbered by a soldier’s rifle butt when he parked his car in an area that had been ‘cleared’. And in September 2012, two police officers were manhandled when they attempted to cross a road on the COAS’s route. This is utter nonsense, as is the size of the motorcades that accompany the corps (sometimes mistakenly written corpse) commanders (at least he of 5 Corps) when they travel from point to point on roads that are ‘cleared’ for them.
So, these men, paid to protect the lives and livelihoods of the common citizens of Pakistan, have no will or intent to so do. That being so, Hazara Shias and other Shias and all other citizens will continue to be at the non-mercy of the militant groups who have a free hand to murder and maim in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2013.
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