Nation condemns Hazaras’ killings
Mohammad Jamil


The entire nation condemned the act of terrorism and expressed heartfelt condolences on tragic loss of precious life and property of Hazara community in Quetta. A six-member parliamentary delegation of the government had gone to offer condolences to the bereaved families. after which nationwide protests were called off. Thousands of Hazara men, women and children had continued their sit-in for the third consecutive day, and they had refused to bury those who died in Saturday’s explosion in Hazara Town, unless action was taken against the perpetrators. After Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the targeted operations had already commenced in the province, in which four suspect terrorists were killed and more than 100 arrested, the protestors called off the sit-in, and dead bodies were buried on Wednesday. The problem is that most political and religious parties have failed to reach consensus on dealing with the terrorists with iron hand, otherwise such acts would not have happened.

Whenever efforts were made to launch a military action against the terrorists, PML-N, Jamat-e-Islami, Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam (JUI-F) and Tehrik-e-Insaf referred to the old resolutions passed in the Assembly and demanded that first negotiations should be held with the militant organizations. They also raised the issue of drone attacks; though there has been a let up in drone attacks significantly, but the terrorists did not stop their heinous acts. After this tragic incident, columnist Wajahat S. Khan in English daily discussed five narratives including the one ‘The Punjab-did-it narrative’, which throws some light on the expediency of political parties. He wrote: “In uniformed power circles here, the question remains: Why is the LeJ - ‘The Army of Jhang’ - not in the Punjab? Why are there sectarian tensions spilling over in Quetta, Karachi and even Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The answer: The Punjab government may have aligned itself with sectarian elements, or at least reached a ‘truce’ with them, encouraging them to fan out”.

There is a perception that the PML-N has soft corner for the militant organizations, and Rana Sanaullah has connection with members of the banned organizations including Malik Ishaq. Of course, political parties wish to draw a political mileage by discrediting the government so that they can enjoy the support of the religious right in the forthcoming elections. The question is why the previous provincial government and now the civil administration under the Governor of Balochistan did not take measures to protect the Hazara (Shia) community? After imposition of the Governor’s rule, Governor Zulfiqar Magsi was responsible for running the administration, but he blamed the military and agencies for their failure to stop the violence in Balochistan. One could ask him as to why it did not depute CID personnel, police and special branch personnel to go after the savage murderers and dismantle their sleeper cells, because they have the record of criminals and people with dubious character of each and every street and lane?

On 4th December 2012, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, while hearing a petition of the Balochistan High Court Bar Association on the failure of law and order and human rights violations in the province, stated that the Balochistan government had lost its constitutional authority. It meant that former chief minister Aslam Raisani had been running the provincial government ineptly and incompetently. In fact, the PPP hierarchy should have replaced Aslam Raisani with some competent and conscientious leader, which could have averted the disasters. It is incomprehensible as to why the PPP leadership waited for more than 4 years to take action against an incompetent CM. Now after the tragic mayhem in Quetta, the military and intelligence agencies are being grilled for their failure to stop Hazaras’ slaughter when a few weeks before 93 people were killed at Alamdar Road Quetta.

It is unfortunate that at a time when members of security institutions are laying down their lives, they are being blamed by some unconscionable elements either for not doing enough, or for turning a blind eye to the pernicious acts of terrorists. One anchorperson and column writer of a renowned media group continues to spew venom against military and agencies. Perhaps, with a view to cover up his cowardice or to show off that he is not scared of anybody including the powerful army, he comes out with cock and bull stories and resorts to illogical discourse and irrelevant references. In his column published on 18th February 2103, he asked Governor of Balochistan as to what action he had taken after the failures of the intelligence agencies. He also demanded of Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and President Asif Ali Zardari and Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as to whose responsibility it was to stop the water tanker carrying one thousand kilogram explosives from entering Quetta? It appears that he does not understand the gravity of the situation, and that Pakistan is fighting a faceless enemy.

Perception has gained currency that Balochistan is in the throes of violence because there are rivaling eyes on the resource-rich province. Apart from India, the US and other big powers do not wish to see Pakistan economically strong and politically stable so that they can exert pressure on Pakistan to do their bidding and advance their agenda. Having that said, the present government has taken two important decisions that will have positive impact on the future of Pakistan. One is the decision to go ahead with Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline despite the pressure from the US, and the other one is handing over the operations of the Gwadar Port to Chinese Port Authority. But Pakistan’s enemies are not happy with this development, and would try to destabilize Pakistan. Having all said, there is some change of mind and heart in certain politicians. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has strongly condemned the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) for the Quetta bombing. It is hoped others will follow suit to send the message to the terrorists loud and clear that the entire nation is united against the spectre of terrorism.