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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Uninterrupted death


By Editorial
Published: August 28, 2012


If the current trend continues, it will take Quetta and the rest of the province closer to the breaking point. PHOTO: AFP

Quetta has turned into a city of death. Targeted killings based on sectarian and ethnic factors take place without an end in sight. Entire communities live in fear and people hesitate to leave their homes. When they do, they can never be certain whether they will return safely or not. The three Shias who were shot down in the latest sectarian attack in a drive-by shooting, certainly did not make it back home. It is unclear who their killers were but it can be assumed that the men wielding guns had been sent out by one of the Sunni extremist forces which have set up base in Quetta over the last decade or so. Thousands of sectarian deaths have occurred in the province since the 1990s due to their actions, with Quetta’s small and traditionally peaceful Shia Hazara community most frequently beingtargeted in recent months.

On August 27, sectarian killings alone did not bring death to the province. A day of mourning had been called by the Balochistan Republican Party, led by Brahmdagh Bugti, to mark the death anniversary of his late grandfather, Nawab Akbar Bugti. Other nationalist parties supported the call with strikes observed across towns in the province. Sadly, there was also violence, with five bus passengers shot dead in Bolan. Whatever motives may underpin the killings, the end result is the same: death and agony.

Is there any way to end the murders in Balochistan, restore sectarian harmony and dampen rage? Certainly, right now there appear to be no answers in sight. The question for the province is whether these answers can ever be found. If this does not happen, there can be no guarantee for what the future will hold or how things will develop in our largest territorially federating unit. The sectarian strains running through Quetta alongside other kinds of violence have destroyed the once harmonious flow of life that existed there. If the current trend continues, there will only be a worsening in the situation, taking Quetta and the rest of the province closer to the breaking point.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2012.

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