#ShiaGenocide: Daily Times editorials on Hazara Town blast


The Shia genocide

Daily Times, February 19, 2013

After the horrendous bomb attack in Quetta on Shia Hazaras on Saturday, there is little doubt left in the hearts and minds of all Pakistanis that we are now facing genocide in Pakistan where 20 percent of the population is being targeted for its faith. The attack was once again claimed by banned Sunni extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which seems to relish the deaths of more than 80 Shias in one swoop. The helpless relatives of those who died at the hands of these radical savages have, once again, taken their protest to the highest authorities in the government, refusing to bury the corpses of their loved ones unless action is taken. The Hazaras held a demonstration like this previously after the January 10, 2013 bombing, which killed some 100 people. Their demands were met to some extent when the incompetent provincial government was replaced by Governor’s rule but, if this latest episode is anything to go by, nothing seems to have changed in the restive province of Balochistan. The Hazaras seem to have understood this and are now demanding that Governor’s rule be replaced by a military takeover so that the culprits are arrested. Whilst one understands their frustration and anger, one feels compelled to caution this extremely vulnerable and heartbroken minority.

When Governor’s rule was imposed about a month ago, the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) was given police powers, but that has not helped either. What is more, the FC is strongly suspected of being a major player in the violence that has plagued the province, accused by many as having a huge role in the missing persons matter. Far from being part of the solution, this demand for an army takeover may turn out to be part of the problem. Where do the Hazaras turn? So far, the federal government, which now is in charge in the province after the imposition of Governor’s rule, has proved its negligence when it comes to addressing this issue. The federal government must get its head out of the sand to prove that it is not totally powerless. The government must start ensuring that the intelligence agencies start doing their job. In a small city like Quetta, how can no one know what is going on? To prove that the sectarian monster is not confined to the Hazaras alone, a renowned doctor, Dr Haider Ali, and his 11 year-old son were shot dead in Lahore on Monday morning in what appears to be another sectarian killing. The doctor was Shia. This is a steady genocide, and to ignore it and stay silent is a crime in itself.


The military has the answer

Daily Times, February 20, 2013

The entire country is in mourning over the killing of over 80 innocent Hazara Shias on Saturday in Quetta. Angry protests are being held across the country demanding the arrest of the accused through a targeted operation. The genocide of the Hazara Shia has even broken the silence of leaders like Imran Khan, billed as soft on Islamist-cum-terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). Terming the outfit un-Islamic, Imran has demanded of the government to arrest the culprits. The Supreme Court (SC) in its suo motu notice of the killings has asked the government to crack down on the group claiming responsibility. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has criticised the failure of the government to take action against LeJ so far. The atrocity in Quetta is not new. The group claiming responsibility is not new either. The situation, where the relatives are sitting with the corpses of their dead, refusing to bury them unless the culprits are punished, is a repetition of the Alamdar Road incident when a twin blast killed even more Hazara Shias then as on Kirani Road now. The promise held out by the government to take control of the situation is also not new. Politicians blaming the intelligence agencies and vice versa is a time tested technique to shy away from accepting responsibility.

The problem is not that difficult to comprehend. The culprits have been admitting their claim of killing Hazara Shias and are living among us freely. Malik Ishaq, the leader of the LeJ, moves around without fear of retribution. Those who say that Quetta should be handed over to the military are perhaps naive enough not to know that it is already the military calling the shots there through the Frontier Corps (FC). Nothing, not even a leaf can stir without the consent of the military in Balochistan. The FC having been given police powers after Governor’s rule was imposed, has clearly failed to deliver anything positive. This is the very force responsible for the brutal elimination of nationalists in the province; an accusation proved beyond an iota of doubt by even the SC. This being the lay of the land, why is the military not taking the onus? Why is it silent, seeing the government taking all the heat of the protest staged across the country over the repeated killing of Hazara Shias in Quetta? Even if the entire police force were removed, as the Inspector General of Balochistan is replaced along with other officers, Quetta would still reverberate with death tolls, because of trying to solve the problem in the wrong way. It is tantamount to helping the FC evade its responsibilities. The removal of the incompetent previous government of Balochistan after the Alamdar Road massacre last month has brought little if any change in the government’s inability to control the deteriorating situation in Quetta. The dark night has already descended on the Hazara. The message could not have been clearer. Eight hundred kilograms of explosive was used, making Saturday’s bombing the biggest attack in Quetta’s history. If this is not enough, what are we waiting for before getting down to the business of purging this country of the jihadi monsters we used in yesteryears as proxies?

Who can know how best to handle its creation than the creator? It is the military, and none else, who can suppress this jihadi phenomenon. Thanks to our negligence or complacency, the extremists are equipped with the latest weaponry. The silence in certain quarters is feeding into the conspiracy theory that things are being allowed deliberately to deteriorate. Are we into some sort of systematic eradication of minorities in the country, more so Shias? This is what the killing of Shias in Karachi and Lahore too depicts. As far as Balochistan is concerned, the military establishment first, and then the government, owes an explanation to the people of the country.


Time for soul searching

Daily Times, February 21, 2013

The insanity prevailing in Pakistan over exterminating Shias comprising 20 percent of the population is an indication of a decaying nation. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, claiming responsibility for the attacks, are not being apprehended, including its leader Malik Ishaq, who after serving 14 years in what would be a comfortable jail is basking in the sun and not even being questioned about his group’s activities. Arresting 170 suspects for their involvement in the February 16 genocide of Shias in Quetta is already being seen by some quarters as just responding to the pressure by going through the motions. However, even if one accepts the attempt as genuine, the question follows, why did it take the government so long to do even this much? The relatives of the martyrs of Hazara Town blast had refused to bury their loved ones unless Quetta was handed over to the army and a targeted operation was carried out against the perpetrators. Though giving the army the mandate to restore law and order in the province was not entertained, an operation against the criminals was immediately initiated on the instructions of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. Four accused were killed in an overnight raid, while seven alleged hardcore jihadis were arrested. According to the police report, those who were killed included the mastermind of both the Alamdar and Kinari Road attacks. The operation had initially failed to sooth the wounds of the Hazaras, who were reluctant to bury their relatives unless the army was called in, yet they lowered the bodies of their martyred into the ground with the hope that their blood would not go waste. One truly desires from the government that this hope would not be allowed to turn into despair once again. The arrest of the alleged culprits indicates that the law enforcement agencies are capable of doing their job. It could also show that supported by political will, they could deliver results as well.

It is this political will that has come under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court (SC) hearing the case on the suo motu notice it had taken on the killing of the Hazara Shias. The report presented in the court by the ISI chief that failed to impress the judges, had laid the entire burden on the civilian administration that according to the report had failed to maintain law and order in Balochistan. To the judges it was the absence of the collective effort required from the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies that mattered. The officers of a country plunged in terrorism cannot get away with shifting blame. It is in this very context that the SC had gone as far as indicating the possibility of summoning the PM to the court if the defence and interior ministries fail to reveal where the problem lies. How could the raw material of a high intensity explosive pass through security checks from Lahore to play havoc in Hazara Town, Quetta, is a question worth asking. Even in normal circumstances such security lapses cannot be tolerated, but especially in today’s Pakistan, which is literally burning.

Parliament is all set to quiz the chiefs of the intelligence agencies next week to find out the reasons for their laxity. This joint sitting of parliament should be made an occasion for soul searching. The result of this sitting should be an admission of the failure of all those who have been entrusted the job of preserving the lives and property of the citizens. If Rehman Malik had been confident that there would be multiple blasts in the country, as he is reported to have said, why was no action taken on this intelligence? People deserve answers to these questions. And it is in these answers that the recipe for Pakistan’s stability lies.



5 responses to “#ShiaGenocide: Daily Times editorials on Hazara Town blast”

  1. UN chief condemns anti-Shia bombing in Quetta
    AFP | 18th February, 2013 5

    UN chief Ban Ki-moon. — Photo by AP/File

    UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “strongly” condemned the bomb blast in southwestern Pakistan that killed 81 people, calling on authorities there to act quickly against those responsible, his spokesman Martin Nesirky said Sunday.

    Noting that this is the second attack against the Shia community in Quetta in the last few weeks, Ban “calls for swift and determined action against those claiming responsibility and perpetrating such actions,” Nesirky said in a statement.

    He “reiterates the strong support of the United Nations for efforts by the Government and people of Pakistan to protect religious and ethnic minorities and to combat the scourge of terrorism,” the spokesman added.


  2. About time we noticed Shia genocide!
    News Comments (4)
    STAFF REPORT Tuesday, 19 Feb 2013 2:16 am | Comments (4)

    Death toll of Kirani blast rises to 85 as mourning Shias take to streets across the country
    CJP takes suo motu notice of Quetta bombing, hearing today
    President and PM order indiscriminate crackdown on militant outfits
    QUETTA/ISLAMABAD – As the death toll of the deadly bombing in Quetta reached 85 on Monday amid countrywide sit-in demonstrations by the Shia community in protest against the continued violence against the persecuted Hazaras, the federal government and the superior judiciary finally sprung into action, with the Supreme Court chief justice taking suo motu notice of the incident and the president and prime minister ordering a crackdown on religious extremists bent upon mocking the writ of the state with impunity.

    The toll of the bombing at Kirani Road in Quetta was raised to 85 as another injured child succumbed to his injuries at Combined Military Hospital on Monday. The identity of the deceased could not be ascertained. He, however, belonged to the Hazara community.

    Continuing with their protests against the government’s oblivion to the ethnic cleansing of peaceful Hazara minority community, Shias across the country staged sit-in demonstrations in all major towns and cities, including Quetta, where the mourners refused to bury the victims’ bodies until the government deployed army personnel in the city to flush out the banned outfits.


    Shops and markets were reported shut in parts of Karachi and traffic remained scarce. Furthermore, a number of government and private educational institutions were closed and the sit-ins were also reportedly affecting the schedule of the flights and trains to and fro the city. Women and children were also taking part in the sit-ins being held at the city’s MA Jinnah Road’s Numaish Chowrangi, Aisha Manzil, Ancholi, Shahrah-e-Pakistan and Shahrah-e-Faisal.

    The Karachi Bar Council also boycotted court proceedings in protest against the Quetta blast. The Karachi Transport Ittehad also announced its support.

    Largely-attended protests were also held in several other cities, including Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Gujranwala, Sialkot and Sahiwal. The protesters were unanimous in their demand of army deployment in Quetta and extermination of jihadi and sectarian outfits.

    The governments of Punjab‚ Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan also announced one-day mourning against the Quetta tragedy on Monday.

    A Punjab government spokesman said the national flag would be lowered at half mast in the province to mourn the deaths of innocent people.

    AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed has announced to observe three-day mourning in the state to express solidarity with the families of victims of Quetta blast. In Gilgit-Baltistan‚ Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah has also announced one-day mourning.


    Taking notice of the situation three days after the incident, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf ordered the Balochistan government led by Governor Zulfiqar Magsi to clamp down on extremist elements fomenting terrorism in the province.

    In a telephone call to Magsi, President Zardari asked him to launch a targeted operation against the banned outfits operating in the province. He also directed Magsi to summon army’s support for indiscriminate action against terrorists if he deemed necessary.

    On his part, Prime Minister Ashraf constituted a five member parliamentary delegation comprising Federal Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Mir Hazar Khan Bijrani, Maula Buksh Chandio, Nadeem Afzal Gondal and Senator Sughra Imam to visit Quetta today (Tuesday) to assess the situation.

    The delegation will meet the affected families as well as representatives of security and intelligence agencies, and submit a comprehensive report on the situation.

    Ashraf also called for a comprehensive report from the intelligence agencies regarding the breach of security by terrorists who managed to sneak into the city a water tanker laden with explosives weighing around 1,000 kilogrames.


    The country’s chief justice has also taken, albeit much delayed, notice of the genocide of the Hazara Shias, and summoned the attorney general of Pakistan and the advocate general of Balochistan in court today (Tuesday).


  3. From Alamdar to Kirani
    By Amina JilaniPublished: February 22, 2013

    From January 10, when 93 people were killed in bomb blasts in Quetta to February 16, when 89 men, women and children died in a massive bomb blast in the same city, bringing the Quetta toll of death to 182, and all in the space of one month and five days — was this not time enough for a government to act in some manner, considering that the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) proudly claimed that they were the murderers, as they now have done? Their targets were poor Shias of Quetta, who have lived in fear and trepidation of their lives for long.
    Since the LeJ are getting away with murder and mayhem and the governor of Balochistan, who presides over a pathetic governor’s rule, has admitted that “there is chaos everywhere and the state does not seem to be effective” (“does not seem to be” is ridiculous, it ‘is not’), therefore, we can expect more killings of Shias.
    The federal government and all the petrified pillars of state have abdicated, done a Pontius Pilate, washing their hands off the entire matter of murder. The law minister has declared that “the situation is not so bad that the army should be deployed in [Quetta]”. The Supreme Court pronounced that the prime minister should bear responsibility for the carnage. Well, as everyone knows, he can take responsibility for nothing.
    And the head of state is far more involved in the election process — approving symbols, trying to galvanise his party, plotting the caretaker set-up, and so forth — than he is in dwelling upon the safety and welfare of the citizens of the country. Since he runs the government and all else, other than the awkward judiciary and the overweening military, the responsibility for law and order and the lives of mainly the poor and deprived (high profile victims there have been but low in proportion to the rest) sits firmly on his head.
    However, he and the others, who form the so-called ‘leadership’ can do nothing but ‘condemn’ all terrorist attacks and that too anonymously, as they avoid mention of the perpetrators, even though their identities are plastered all over the press — the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the Lashkar-this and the Lashkar-that, or whoever it may be who deals in death.
    What is it with these people who sit, or rather cower, in high chairs? Are they all too frightened out of their skins that they dare not name names, or act in any way to prevent the dance of death that extends from Balochistan, over to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and down to Karachi? The sole security they are worried about is their own. Security arrangements involving the dual head of state and political party co-chairman are a joke as they cross all boundaries of logic and smack of cowardice. The same applies to the hundreds of minion ministers, to the chief justice of Pakistan, and somewhat disgracefully, even to the military top brass — the guardians paid to guard the nation.
    Reported in the national press on February 19 was a news item detailing how the Rawalpindi roads are ‘cleared’ for the COAS to pass on his daily voyages. On February 18, a lawyer was clobbered by a soldier’s rifle butt when he parked his car in an area that had been ‘cleared’. And in September 2012, two police officers were manhandled when they attempted to cross a road on the COAS’s route. This is utter nonsense, as is the size of the motorcades that accompany the corps (sometimes mistakenly written corpse) commanders (at least he of 5 Corps) when they travel from point to point on roads that are ‘cleared’ for them.
    So, these men, paid to protect the lives and livelihoods of the common citizens of Pakistan, have no will or intent to so do. That being so, Hazara Shias and other Shias and all other citizens will continue to be at the non-mercy of the militant groups who have a free hand to murder and maim in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
    Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2013.


  4. ASWJ blocks Balochistan roads against ‘operation’

    Staff Report

    QUETTA: All the national routes of Balochistan were blocked for traffic on Sunday by the workers of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) against the killing and arrest of their leaders and members in search operations by the Frontier Corps.

    Following the protest, Quetta city’s road links to other areas of the province were completely cut.

    Burning tires on the roads, the ASWJ activists shouted slogans against the government and the authorities concerned. The call for the strike was given by the ASWJ leadership in reaction to the killings and arrests of their leaders and firing on a rally in Liquat Bazaar the other day, in which seven party workers were injured.

    The activists blocked all the main roads in Bolan, Dhadar, Dera Allah Yar, Sibbi, Noshki, Mastung, Khuzdar, Dalbandin, Taftan, Hub, Qila Abdullah, Yaro and Loralai for all kinds of traffic.

    Long queues of vehicles, including public transport, could be seen waiting for the strike to end.

    ASWJ Balochistan Chapter President Ramzan Mengal, talking to the workers, said that the party activists could render any sacrifice for the protection of the honour and sanctity of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He said that when the party talked about the sanctity of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), its workers were killed and arrested in the name of operations. He said that the authorities had mistakenly assumed that the ASWJ workers would be frightened.

    He said that the party workers would continue their struggle until death.