With eight more Hazara community members killed in Quetta on Saturday, the litany of the sorrows of the community seems unrelenting. In one incident, assailants ambushed a taxi on Brewery Road, killing the six occupants, in an eerie repeat of an earlier such ambush on a vehicle carrying Hazara community members. Minutes after the first incident, the assassins killed another two members of the community in a rickshaw in the same area. Virtual riots broke out in the city in reaction, with arson and violence on display against the police and authorities. The sky was punctuated by aerial firing, which wounded a student. The authorities responded by deploying the police as usual and calling in 10 more Frontier Corps (FC) platoons to beef up the security presence. That may have helped defuse the immediate violent reaction, but whether this post-facto response is the answer to what is by now clearly a pattern of attacks on the Hazara community is shrouded in doubt. Quetta in particular has become the theatre of this sectarian genocide. It must be stopped before the peaceful Hazara community loses patience and decides to protect and defend itself against the sectarian terrorists by force of arms, given that the Balochistan government and the FC have signally failed to do their duty. The ‘absent’ Chief Minister Aslam Raisani made the ritual announcement of doing all within the government’s power to bring the sectarian mayhem to an end. Balochistan Home Secretary Nasibullah Bazai offered a mealy-mouthed response, saying the government could not provide complete security to citizens. Let alone “complete” security, what security has the provincial government provided to any citizen? He goes on to assert that a comprehensive security plan has been devised that would be implemented after approval by the higher authorities. Nobody takes these ‘declarations’ seriously any more. Amidst the announcement of days of mourning, the Shia community in Quetta has called for the inept Balochistan government’s resignation. Governor Balochistan Zulfikar Magsi, a frequent critic of the provincial government’s (lack of) performance, warned the other day that if the provincial authorities could not handle the situation, the army may have to be called out. What would remain of the tattered credibility of the provincial government if this were to come to pass?
The Shia community is under attack in the country from Khurram Agency to Gilgit-Baltistan to Balochistan. The sectarian terrorists aligned with the Taliban and al Qaeda are seeking to sow the seeds of sectarian strife to such an extent throughout the country, from north to south, that a sectarian civil war breaks out to destabilise the country as a whole. While the Shia tribes in Khurram Agency are under the pressure of the Taliban and their mentors the intelligence agencies to allow safe passage to the Taliban for attacks in Afghanistan on pain of death, the Shias of Gilgit-Baltistan are being massacred without let or hindrance. Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s proposal of a judicial commission on the sectarian violence in Gilgit-Baltistan is a non sequitur. It does not take a judicial commission to know the facts on the ground when Shias are picked off en masse every other day. Protests of solidarity with the Hazara community in Balochistan and Shias throughout the country were held on Saturday in Islamabad and even Washington. The purpose of the sectarian terrorists should leave no one in any doubt. Pakistan is to be reduced to rubble through a sectarian civil war that could destroy democracy and the country itself. They must not be allowed to succeed in their nefarious designs by pussyfooting authorities or inept law enforcement. It is in the interests of the system and all governments, federal and provincial, to rise to the challenge and conduct an effective campaign of suppression against these mad fanatics. *