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Friday, January 4, 2013

Violence is on the rise in Balochistan: Report

Published: January 3, 2013

Sectarian strife and targeted killings continue to claim more victims by the day. DESIGN: FAIZAN DAWOOD
ISLAMABAD: 

The past five years have been difficult for Balochistan according to statistics revealed by the home department. Violence in the province has claimed over 2,100 lives and left 3,845 injured in over 3,232 incidents of bomb blasts and rocket attacks in this period. Amidst rising sectarian strife and targeted killings, the government’s inability to deal with the situation appears more jarring than ever.

Throughout the province, sectarian killings remain the biggest challenge. From 2008 to 2012, 758 members of the Shia community were killed in 478 incidents. Of these, 338 victims belonged to the Hazara community, indicating that Hazaras remain the prime targets of these aggressions.

The province has become a base for a decade-long insurgency as well as a killing field for various sects. Banned outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi allegedly keeps targeting Shias throughout Balochistan. Accordingly, officials have beefed up safety measures from Quetta to Taftan and are even planning to hold meetings with Iranian authorities to discuss possible arrangements to facilitate the movement of Hazaras from Marriabad to Hazara Town and Hazar Ganji.

“The shia community, the Hazaras in particular, remains the prime target of violent groups in the province,” Balochistan Home Secretary Captain (retd) Akram Durrani told The Express Tribune when asked about these statistics. “We are struggling against militants, but the situation is not as bad as [what is] being reported.”

He added that the increasing trend of violence in Balochistan is alarming, regardless of the disparity between the reported numbers and the actual happenings on the ground.


The findings also uncover staggering ‘kill and dump’ statistics. Around 570 dead bodies have been found strewn throughout the province, with 370 of the victims belonging to the Baloch community and 89 to the Pashtun community. The rest remain unidentified to this day.

Further still, over 402 non-Baloch have been killed in 498 incidents, and over 486 injured in multiple attacks.

Not surprisingly, security personnel have also suffered great losses. As many as 340 Frontier Corps personnel and 380 policemen have lost their lives in the line of duty, and 508 security officials in total have been left wounded.

Analysts say that despite the staggering figures, the provincial government is yet to review regulations pertaining to the movement of pilgrims under the Travel Agency Act of 1976. In one instance, police decided to refer the investigation of ‘sensitive cases’ to the Crime Investigation Department after the arrest of alleged terrorist Sher Dil of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, also known as Babu, in a bid to curb violence in Balochistan.

Sectarian target killings

Number of incidents: 478
Number of Hazaras killed: 338

Total number of members of the Shia community killed: 758

Loss of security personnel

Frontier Corps personnel killed: 340

Policemen killed: 380

Security officials wounded: 508

‘Settlers’/ Non-Baloch target killings

Number of incidents: 498

Number of those killed: 402

Number of those injured: 486

‘Kill and dump’

Total number of bodies found in sacks: 570

Number of victims from the Baloch community: 370

Number of victims from the Pushtun community: 89

Unidentified victims: 111

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2013.

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