Quetta on edge: Amidst street protests and strike, police make arrests

Lawyers boycott courts to protest suicide attack on Fazlur Rehman

Our Correspondent October 25, 2014


As protesters took to the streets against Thursday’s wave of deadly violence, the police claimed to have rounded up several suspects from different neighbourhoods of the city. Nine members of the Hazara community were mowed down in two shooting incidents on Thursday – the day when JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman escaped a suicide attack in the provincial capital.

“The police and security forces raided at different premises in the city and detained some suspects in connection with the suicide attack,” SPP Operations Aetezaz Guraya told The Express Tribune. However, he wouldn’t say how many suspects have been taken into custody.

The raids were conducted in different neighbourhoods, including Saryab, Pashtunabad and Killi Kamalo. “We believe the detained suspects could give us important clues to the perpetrators of the attack,” he added.

The police also claim to have found body parts of the suicide bomber. “We have sent the bomber’s body parts to Lahore for DNA test,” Aetezaz said, adding that it was premature to comment on the nationality of the bomber. The cases of the bombings and targeted killings of the Hazaras were registered against unknown persons.

Meanwhile, a complete shutter down strike was observed in Quetta in protest against the targeted killings of the Hazaras.

The Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) had given the strike call. Dozens of activists from Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen blocked the Eastern Bypass road, suspending vehicular traffic for a couple of hours.

The banned sectarian extremist group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has claimed responsibility for the targeted killings of the Hazaras.

JUI-F workers also staged a rally to protest the suicide attack on their leader and marched through different neighbourhoods.

Addressing the marchers, JUI-F’s provincial chief Faiz Ahmed, Hafiz Hussain Ahmed and MNA Amir Zaman demanded Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik resign, if he could not protect the life and property of the people in Balochistan.

The provincial government is sitting idle while people are being killed, they said, adding that if the CM could not maintain law and order in the province, he should step down.

They demanded the government thoroughly investigate the incident for which outlawed extremists outfit Jandullah claimed credit on Thursday.

The legal fraternity also boycotted court proceedings in Quetta in protest at the suicide attack on the JUI-F chief. Lawyers affiliated with the Balochistan Bar Association didn’t appear before different courts creating problems for litigants who had travelled to the provincial capital from remote areas of the province.

The AJK chapter of the JUI-F also staged a demonstration in front of the Central Press Club. Participants were carrying party flags and banners inscribed with slogans in favour of Maulana Fazl.

Speaking on the occasion, speakers said that the attack on the populist politico-religious cleric was an attempt to sow sectarianism hatred in the country which the JUI-F would never allow to happen. They asked the federal government to investigate the matter and expose the culprits.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 25th, 2014.


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