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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Balochistan govt urged to evolve strategy on targeted killings

By Safiullah

QUETTA: Expressing concern over the incidents of sectarian targeted killings, Senate’s Standing Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday urged the Balochistan government to evolve a comprehensive strategy to curb such incidents.

The meeting of the committee was held with Senator Afrasiab Khattak in the chair. The committee’s members, president’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, Senator Mushahid Hussain, Farhat Abbass and Balochistan government officials were present on the occasion.

During the meeting, the notables of Hazara community, religious scholars and the relatives of people killed in sectarian targeted killing incidents briefed the committee that more than 700 people of Hazara community had been killed in sectarian targeted killing incidents. “We have taken this issue with provincial and federal authorities but no serious attention was paid in this regard,” they informed the committee, adding that most of the relatives of Hazara community people who had been killed since 1999 were not given compensation. They told the standing committee that the provincial government had failed to provide them security.

At this, Senator Afrasiab Khattak and Senator Mushaid Hussain told them that the committee would visit Quetta to hear their grievances and present them in the Upper House of parliament.

They assured the relatives of the deceased that steps would be taken for security of all affected people, including the people of Hazara community.

Committee’s chairman observed that Balochistan was confronted with many issues and they were well cognisant of the issues, adding that there was also the issue of missing persons and sectarian targeted killings but the standing committee would take up all issues one by one.

On the occasion, relatives of Sunni religious scholars who were killed in incidences of targeted killing also met with the members of the committee and told them that 36 religious scholars had been killed since 2010. They said that besides targeting religious scholars, several accused were also arrested by police, but the government was not cooperating with them. “The provincial government even did not bother to know the condition of the affected families,” they added.

Committee’s Chairman Afrasiab Khattak assured the victims’ families of every possible help and told them that the purpose of their visit was to meet the victims’ families and hear their grievances. He said that all the affected families were oppressed and there was no difference among various sects.

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