ISLAMABAD: Civil society and political activists held a demonstration protesting the killings of Ismailis in Karachi on Wednesday and insisted that the state had failed to protect citizens.
Hundreds of civil society members including Ismalilis from the twin-cities assembled in front of the National Press Club (NPC) and demonstrated against the attack.
At least 43 people were killed and 15 others injured when armed men opened indiscriminate fire inside a bus carrying members of the Ismaili community near Safoora Chowk, Karachi.
Carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans like “stop killing of most peaceful, educated, progressive community of Pakistan”, “protect minorities in the country”, the protesters condemned the incident and demanded the government bring the attackers to justice.
“We cannot pin all the blame only on the federal or provincial government, it’s a failure of the state which has completely failed to protect its citizens,” said Dr Farzana Bari, vice-president of the Awami Workers Party (AWP). She urged the government to choke funding of the terrorist groups.
“It is disheartening that the most peaceful and educated community is being targeted which has great contributions to the society,” Bilal Raza, an Ismaili student of a local university, said.
The participants demanded the government formulate a comprehensive policy to eliminate terrorism in the country.
Activists from Majlis-i-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, led by Hassan Askari, a local leader of the Islamabad chapter, also held a separate protest.
Speaking at the occasion, Askari condemned the incident and demanded that the provincial government arrest the culprits. “We are here to express solidarity with the Ismaili community as we believe it’s a failure of the government which could not protect its citizens,” he added.
Members of the AWP also condemned the attack and said it has become clear that strengthening the military establishment following the Peshawar attack did not bear any fruit.
In a statement, the party also criticised the mainstream political forces, who, the party believes, are engaged in opportunistic political ‘point-scoring’ by blaming the Sindh government for the bus attack.
Member National Assembly and minorities’ leader Asfanyar Bhandara also condemned the incident and said it was a great loss for the country. He said our enemies were incapable of fighting us on our borders which is why they are trying to fight in our cities and towns but as always they will never be able to defeat us because, he said, “every single Pakistani is ready to fight against terrorism and our will is unconquerable”.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2015.