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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Terrorized by relentless attacks, ethnic Hazaras to cobble together their own protection force

(Arshad Butt/ Associated Press ) - In this Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, photo, Pakistani Shiite Muslim children hold candles and banners next to photographs of people, who were killed by a bomb blast in market on Saturday, February 16, 2013, in Quetta, Pakistan. Terrorized by ferocious attacks that have killed nearly 400 ethnic Hazaras in the past 18 months, with almost half of those deaths occurring in the first two months of this year, Shiite leaders blamed the inaction of Pakistan’s security service for the rising violence against them in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province.

By Associated Press, Published: February 27

QUETTA, Pakistan — Inside the ruins of a market demolished by a powerful bomb, four tiny white candles —dwarfed by the scale of the destruction — flickered gently in the freezing rain as dazed Shiite Muslim Hazaras wept for the nearly 90 people killed in the blast.

Condemning the Pakistan government for doing little to protect them, the small ethnic group has vowed to set up their own defense force to deal with Sunni extremists they blame for the bombing and a series of other ferocious attacks that have killed nearly 400 ethnic Hazaras in the past 18 months, nearly half in the first two months of this year.

The bomb earlier this month in the Pakistani city of Quetta ripped a swath of devastation that flattened a three-story building and left the ruins of scores of single-room shops exposed to the rain. Blood-soaked rugs were all that was left of a carpet store.

“The ones who did this — they are not human. They are animals,” said Surha, a young woman who goes by one name, a common tradition here. She spoke as she grieved at the site, more than a week after the bombing.

Shiite leaders blame inaction by Pakistan’s security service for the rising violence against them in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province. They told The Associated Press recently that they are petitioning the provincial administration of Baluchistan to approve a Hazara-led defense force to work with local police..... Continue Reading.... 

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