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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

EDITORIAL: Rampant killings in Balochistan

Why should the unabated slaughter of innocent members of the Hazara Shia community not be taken as genocide committed by the gunmen of the sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) with impunity. Since the last one year, reports of killings of a number of Hazaras have been surfacing regularly. Every time they are targeted, the government makes tall claims against the saboteurs and about its (unseen, perhaps yet to be started) efforts to bring them to book. The authorities’ response towards the frequent atrocities is inadequate. Had it considered the matter serious enough to ensure the security of the Hazaras, the situation would not have worsened to the present extent. Again on Monday, the Hazara community was targeted as six of its members busy at work were mercilessly sprayed with bullets by unknown armed assailants on two motorbikes in Quetta.

The lethal sectarian phenomenon against the Hazaras that emerged last year has so far taken a large number of precious lives of innocent and peaceful members of this community of Balochistan. LeJ, a notorious sectarian militant banned outfit, has claimed responsibility for the latest outrage to add to last year’s deadly attack on Hazara pilgrims in Mastung. Unfortunately, sectarianism seems to be rampant in a province already under the constant grip of violence due to an ongoing nationalist movement against the atrocities committed by the Frontier Corps (FC) in Balochistan since many years. On the same day, four other killings were reported; including two bullet-riddled bodies found lying in a dump, taking the tortured-to-death toll to a new level, and the murder of two Punjabi men by unknown armed motorcyclists at a bus stand in the Mand area of Turbat. All these killings indicate a constantly deteriorating law and order situation in the volatile province. Where the finding of tortured bodies seem to have become an almost daily tragedy in Balochistan, the trend of killing people belonging to other provinces commonly known as settlers seems to have been revived after a lull. Punjabis mainly bear the brunt of the nationalists’ angst, who do not realise that killing innocents only undermines their just cause. Killings of innocent Punjabis, perceiving them as their real enemy, is a totally wrong tactic, which is bound to bring failure.

It is time the government wakes up from its deep slumber and arrests the culprits of the Hazara carnage. It has to provide security to them. Otherwise, the fire of sectarianism might spread to other areas and against other groups. *

Daily Times

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