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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Two die in post-attack violence Seven Hazaras gunned down in Quetta

From the Newspaper | Saleem Shahid |

QUETTA, Sept 1: At least seven Hazara Shias were gunned down in two sectarian attacks while two other people were killed in violence that erupted after the incidents here on Saturday.

Hundreds of Hazara youths blocked the Brewery and Sabzal Roads by putting up barricades.

They took the bodies to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Chaman Housing Society, calling upon the UN to take up the matter with the administration.

According to eyewitnesses, four armed men riding two motorcycles stopped a bus, told five Hazara men to get off, lined them up and pulled the trigger.

The Hazaras were returning home after purchasing vegetables and fruits from the Hazar Ganji market.

According to Quetta police chief Mir Zubair Mehmood, two assailants shot dead two other members of the Hazara Shia community at the Taftan bus stand minutes after the first
shooting.

“The six killers escaped after the attacks,” police said.

Police termed the incidents sectarian killings.

It was the third incident of sectarian killing in the Balochistan capital during the past week.

The seven who lost their lives in the two attacks were identified as Ali Baba, Jawaad, Nauroz Ali, Mohammad Raza, Nauroz, Mohammad Ali and Aziz Ali.

Hundreds of enraged Hazaras took to the street after the killings, closing Brewery Road and the western bypass to traffic, burning tyres and erecting barricades. Some of them fired shots in the air and stoned vehicles. Eleven people, among them a police officer, were injured.

Two of them later died in hospital. Their deaths sparked yet another bout of protest. The protesters placed barricades and boulders on the Sabzal Road.

After receiving the bodies of victims of the sectarian attacks, the Hazara community, led by Sardar Sadaat Hazara, marched to the Governor House and later staged a sit-in in front of the UNHCR office. They dispersed after about an hour.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, Nawabzada Talal Akbar Bugti, chief of a faction of the JWP, Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) chief Abdul Khaliq Hazara and Sadaat Hazara condemned the killings.

The chief minister, who was in Islamabad, ordered the Balochistan police chief and other officials concerned to take “all possible steps” to arrest the killers.

Amanullah Kasi adds: The Hazara Democratic Party, Balochistan Shia Conference, Tahaffuz Azadari Council and chief of Hazara tribe condemned the killing of seven Hazaras,
condemning the government’s failure to stop the bloodshed.

The HDP called for a strike Quetta on Sunday and Shia Conference declared a seven-day mourning.

In separate statements, representatives of Shia groups blamed inaction of law enforcement agencies for the surge in attacks on the Hazaras.

Activists of the HDP staged a sit-in in the front of the police chief’s office. Mirza Hussain Hazara, a leader of the party, sought traders and political parties’ support for the strike call in order to express solidarity with the families of victims.

Mirza Hussain said over 600 Hazara people had been eliminated in attacks over the past few years.

He criticised the intelligence agencies for “failure to pinpoint those involved in the violence”.A statement issued by the HDP also regretted, what it termed, silence of the judiciary and its failure to “take note” of attacks on Shias, particularly the Hazaras.

Late in the night, a spokesman for the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi called a television channel and claimed responsibility for the sectarian attacks. He also warned media personnel of unspecified action if his group’s point of view was blacked out.

The group threatened to attack key police officers of the city.

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