–IS claims responsibility for attack that killed at least 18 people
–Minister visits Quetta, says NAP will be implemented at all costs
QUETTA: The Hazara Shia community sit-in against the persecution of the minority group at Quetta’s Western Bypass entered the second day on Saturday.
A call of protest was given by the Hazara activists and civil society on Saturday after at least 18 people, including eight belonging to Hazara community, were killed in a suicide bombing in Quetta’ Hazarganji market.
The attack that ripped through a vegetable market on Friday, killing at least 18 people was claimed by the Islamic State through its official news agency, Amaq, on Saturday.
The protestors gathered at the bypass are demanding an effective security plan from the government to implement for the protection of the Hazara community. Qadir Nayil, a Hazara community leader, asked the government for provision of better protection.
“Once again our people were the target and once again we will have to bury our dear ones,” he said. “We demand more security from the government and all those involved in today’s act of terrorism should be found and punished.”
Hazara community leader Jalila Haider also hinted at a long march to Islamabad if the government and relevant stakeholders failed to address their grievances.
According to a VOA [Voice of America] Deewa report: “Protesters in
#Quetta condemn terrorism with slogans of “stop terrorism”; “stop massacre of #Pashtuns”; “stop massacre of #Hazaras”. Members of minority Shia/Hazara Muslims r holding the protest sit-in after another suicide attack killed about 20 of their community members yesterday.
Protesters in #Quetta condemn terrorism with slogans of “stop terrorism”; “stop massacre of #Pashtuns”; “stop massacre of #Hazaras”. Members of minority Shia/Hazara Muslims r holding the protest sit-in after another suicide attack killed about 20 of their community members y’day. pic.twitter.com/f82PonlHSa
— VOA DEEWA (@voadeewa) April 13, 2019
‘NAP WILL BE IMPLEMENTED’:
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi also visited Quetta to show solidarity with the beleaguered Hazara community.
The minister reiterated the government’s full commitment towards the National Action Plan (NAP), saying the programme will be implemented at all costs.
“We will fully implement NAP and no terrorist will be spared — no matter which organisation they belong to,” Zaidi said while speaking to the media at Hazarganji in Quetta.
The federal government will fully cooperate with the Balochistan government in any way necessary,” he said while speaking about the terrorist attack, which left 20 people dead in Hazarganji bazaar yesterday.
“Terrorism has no religion, it has no faith. People who conduct such heinous acts are just terrorists,” he said, while adding that he believes that people who carry out such acts are mentally unstable. “Anyone in their right mind would not go around killing people or making plans to kill people.”
“Terrorism can be eliminated through education. We will have to improve the state of health, education and security in the country, or development will not be possible in the country,” he added.
Zaidi further said that to fix the country, its financial model needs to be fixed first, “in the eyes of the world we are a country that has security [issues], we need to change that and show the world that we are a state that has economic prosperity.”
The chief minister, Jam Kamal, also visited the protest site as reported by INP news agency. During the visit, he said vowed that terrorists involved in deadly Quetta blast on Friday will be brought to book.
Kamal said the provincial government shared the grief of those who lost their loved ones in the blast. He said terrorists were “collective enemy” of Pakistan, not just a ‘particular tribe or a province’. The Balochistan CM said those involved in terror activities countrywide would be dealt with an “iron hand”.
HAZARAS FACE PERSECUTION BY MILITANT OUTFITS, ISIS:
Hazaras have been frequently targeted by Taliban and Islamic State militants and other Sunni Muslim militant groups in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. They have been heavily targeted in Afghanistan in attacks claimed by an affiliate of Islamic State.
Friday’s bloodshed came two days after authorities freed Ramzan Mengal, a top leader of a banned sectarian group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Cheema said.
Mengal had been detained for three months under maintenance of public order regulations, he said.
The LeJ has worked both with al Qaeda and Islamic State in Pakistan and has claimed several coordinated attacks in Baluchistan against what it terms Shi’ite heretics.
In 2013, three bombings killed more than 200 people in Hazara neighborhoods, prompting security forces to escort Hazara buses to the market. The same practice was followed on Friday, but the blast took place in the market.
“Targeted for their religion by sectarian armed groups, (Hazaras) have suffered many such tragedies over several years. Each time there are promises that more will be done to protect them, and each time those promises have failed to materialize,”
Omar Waraich, an official of rights group Amnesty International, said in a statement.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government has made important commitments to protect all religious groups. Those commitments must translate now into policies to effectively protect the Hazaras of Quetta, ending more than a decade of bloodshed.”