QUETTA: Two senior aides of Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday succeeded in persuading the protesting Hazara Shia community members to end their four-day-long sit-in against the Hazarganji suicide bombing in which at least 20 people were martyred on Friday.
The sit-in protest on Western Bypass continued on Monday despite heavy rain in the city.
The protesters demanded immediate arrest of the perpetrators of the Hazarganji attack and improved security measures for the community. They had also demanded that Prime Minister Imran come to Quetta and console them. Although Imran ‘condemned’ the Hazarganji attack and sought an inquiry report from the officials concerned, the PM has not found time to visit the grieving community.
Hazaras are disproportionately targeted by sectarian violence as they are easily identifiable due to their distinctive physical appearance.
A report released by the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) last year stated that 509 members of Hazara community were killed and 627 injured in various incidents of terrorism in Quetta from January 2012 to Dec 2017.
On Monday, State Minister for Interior Sheharyar Afridi and PM’s Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Zulfiqar Bukhari visited the Imambargah located in Hazara town to condole with the bereaved family members.
Addressing reporters later, Afridi said that the federal government stands in solidarity with the Hazara community and was taking steps to end violence against them.
“I stand with the community and I assure you that the government has been working to ensure that such crimes end. That is why this was the first such incident to occur over the span of nine months.
“The question is, who is it that wants to create these differences between Pakistanis? Who wants to create a situation of conflict within Pakistan?
“I am saying these things and asking these questions because Pakistan’s enemies want that this country be added to the [Financial Action Task Force] blacklist. They want that at every level, including the economic level, such blows be dealt that Pakistan — God forbid — breaks apart,” the minister said.