Shia leader shot dead in Quetta
Updated at: 1140 PST, Monday, January 26, 2009
QUETTA: A leader of Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) has been shot dead in Quetta on Monday.
According to reports, unknown persons opened fire on HDP leader Hussain Ali Yousfi at Jinnah Road. The body was shifted to hospital.
Terrorists belonging to Sipah-e-Shaba (Taliban) have attacked and killed a number of Shias in Quetta in the past few weeks.
BBC Urdu dot com report:
Shi’a leader’s murder sparks violence in Pakistan’s Quetta
Jan 26, 2009 (BBC Monitoring via COMTEX) —
As you know, we have been reporting on the killing of the chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party [Shi’a party]. Unknown armed men have killed the Hazara Democratic Party Chairman Hussain Ali Yousufzai.
Police say that armed men sitting in a vehicle fired indiscriminately at the chairman outside his shop on Jinnah Road in Quetta. Hussain Ali Yousufi died on the spot and his body was taken to Civil Hospital in Quetta.
A large number of persons and workers of the Hazara Democratic Party gathered at the hospital. Following this incident shopkeepers, in a state of shock, closed down their shops.
The Lashkar-i-Jhangvi [Sunni militant group] has claimed responsibility for this killing and the Baluchistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani has condemned the killing of Yousufi.
The Hazara Democratic Party has announced a 40-day mourning period after Yousufi’s killing.
Tension gripped Quetta City and people came out on the roads earlier protesting the killing. Incidents of arson and violence have also been reported in different parts of the city.
Now for more on this let us cross over live to Quetta where our correspondent Syed Ali Shah has been following the story for us the entire morning:
[Begin live relay via telephone, anchor Razeshta Sethna] Thanks for joining us. What is the latest you have from Quetta? Earlier, when I was speaking to you, you told me about incidents of violence and arson in the city.
[Shah] Indeed incidents of arson and violence have been reported from different parts of the city. The situation is still tense. However, all of the injured people, we have reports about five people have been injured in these acts of arson and violence in different parts of the city. All of the injured have been shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta for medical treatment.
However, crowds of people, they can still be seen on Mannan Chowk, Meezan Chowk, Jinnah Road, Liaquat Bazaar, Sattar Road, on different roads of Quetta City. So the situation is indeed very tense. The protesters, they burnt a private bank, two vehicles, they also smashed the glasses of a bank, shops and they have also set on fire vehicles and motorcycles, in order to protest over the killing of Chairman Hazara Democratic Party Hussain Ali Yousufi. So the crowd of people, they are chanting slogans against the killing of Hussain Ali Yousufi, the chairman Hazara Democratic Party. The workers of Hazara Democratic Party, they took out a protest rally which passed through different roads of Quetta City. The protesters were demanding the arrest of killers.
In the meantime, the workers of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party also took out a protest rally which also passed through different roads of the city. The leaders of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party they were appealing their workers to be peaceful and calm and not to cause any harm to public and private properties.
[Sethna] Now Ali Shah we also have reports that the Lashkar-e Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for the killing of the Hazara Democratic Party chairman, do you have any more information on that?
[Shah] Indeed, the spokesman for the banned Lashkar-e Jhangvi, he telephoned newsmen in Quetta Press Club he claimed the responsibility for killing the chairman of Hazara Democratic Party Hussain Ali Yousufi. Actually in sectarian-related terrorist incidents since January 1st around nine people have been killed in Quetta City and other towns of Baluchistan.
[Sethna] Thanks very much for that update from Quetta. [end of live relay]
Syed Ali Shah reporting on the killing of the Hazara Democratic Party Chairman Hussain Ali Yousufi.
Source: Dawn News TV, Karachi, in English 0900gmt 26 Jan 09
BBC Mon Alert SA1 SADel dg
BBC Monitoring. Copyright BBC.
On 14 January, DSP among 4 policemen shot dead in Quetta
Unidentified assailants killed four policemen including a DSP in a shootout in Quetta on Wednesday. Motorcyclists ambushed a police team on Sariab Road at around 11am, police officials told Daily Times. Three of the murdered policemen belonged to Hazara community and were Shia. Banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the killings, which appear to be part of a recent series of target killing of Shias in the provincial capital that has claimed six lives in a month. Ensuing protests by members of the Shia and Hazara communities paralysed businesses in the provincial capital.
On 9 January 2009:
Shia leader, guard killed in Sibi
QUETTA: Unidentified men killed a central leader of the Fiqah Jafferia along with his guard in Sibi district on Saturday. The assailants opened fire on Saqlain Haider and his guard, Ghulam Ali. They were taken to a hospital in Sibi where they succumbed to their injuries. People staged a sit-in condemning the ‘target killing’ of the Shia leader. They chanted slogans and demanded the culprits should be arrested immediately. No one has claimed responsibility for the killings.
On 5 January 2009:
2 Shias killed in Quetta
QUETTA: Unidentified assailants killed two Shias in the city on Monday despite tight security arrangements due to Muharram.
Police sources said motorcyclists attacked two Hazaragi-speaking members of the Shia community on Kirani Road. Those killed were identified as Muhammad Essa and Muhammad Khan. The assault appeared to be a case of sectarian violence.
The assailants managed to escape. The bodies were handed over to the families after necessary legal and medical formalities were carried out by police and medical staff of the Civil Hospital. No group claimed responsibility for the killings.
Police and other law enforcement agencies have enforced tight security in Quetta to prevent sectarian violence during Muharam. Quetta has been at the centre of sectarian violence for many years. Most recently, on November 21, 2008, two Shias, including leading religious scholar Agha Hassan Zakari, were killed.
AFP reported the men, a rickshaw driver and his friend, were shot multiple times after being stopped on the busy road.
Thousands protest killing of policemen
Web posted at: 1/15/2009 0:22:33
Source ::: AFP
Supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami protest against the Israeli offensive on Gaza, in Karachi yesterday. Thousands of schoolchildren took part in the protest.
QUETTA: Thousands of people protested in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta yesterday after four police officers were shot dead in what an official said was a sectarian attack against Shias.
The police were killed when gunmen riding a motorbike sprayed their vehicle with bullets on a main road on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of restive gas-rich Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran.
The province, which has been in the grips of an insurgency for more than four years, has also been the scene of sectarian attacks between Sunni and Shia extremists. More than 4,000 people carried the bodies of three of the officers, all Shiites, through the streets to the home of a top military official, to demand justice, a photographer at the scene witnessed.
Protesters called for a military probe into the killings before dispersing peacefully.
“Shias have been targeted in the province for quite some time and the latest attack was directed against Shiite officers,” said provincial minister Jan Ali Changezi, who participated in the protest.
The killing was later claimed by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ), a banned Sunni Muslim extremist group with links to Al Qaeda. “We claim the responsibility for today’s attack,” Ali Haider, identifying himself as a spokesman for the group, said in telephone calls to local media.
Earlier, senior police official Humayun Jogezai said the officers had been shot dead in their vehicle as they were travelling to a training academy.
A high-ranking police official also sustained serious injuries.
LJ is regarded as Pakistan’s fiercest Sunni extremist outfit and is accused of killing hundreds of Shias since its emergence in the early 1990s. Former president Pervez Musharraf banned the group in August 2001. Shias account for about 20 percent of Pakistan’s 160 million-strong, Sunni-majority population. The groups usually coexist peacefully but outbreaks of sectarian violence have claimed more than 4,000 lives since the late 1980s.
Baluchistan has also been wracked by insurgency since 2004, with rebels demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region’s natural resources. Taliban militants have also been blamed for attacks in the province.
Baloch protest against ‘Talibanisation’
The Balochistan National Party (BNP) Information Secretary and former senator Mr Sanaullah Baloch told Daily Times on Sunday that “supporters” of the Taliban had “captured land worth Rs2 billion in the eastern and western parts of Quetta” to “undermine the Baloch nationalist movement”. He accused the government of failure to establish its writ in the city where “Taliban and their supporters were consolidating their grip”. He complained of the emergence of “no-go” areas where these elements had dug themselves in. He came close to explaining the state of divided politics in the province when he said that “the Taliban supporters” enjoyed the support of the government and its intelligence agencies who wish “to pit the religious elements against the Baloch nationalists”. He wondered why the state had not carried out military operations against these elements while it was still attacking Dera Bugti and Sui areas. Dealing with the problem of Afghan refugees, he called them “a burden on the economy of Balochistan and the biggest cause of lawlessness and terrorism in the country’s largest province”.
Mr Baloch has indirectly put his finger on the way a new political map is militating against the old deeds of omission and commission of the Pakistani state. The PPP in power in the centre is a liberal-secular party, supported by another secular party, the MQM, in Sindh. The party in power in the NWFP is ANP, which is traditionally secular-nationalist like the Baloch. It is flouting the pro-Taliban mood in the establishment and asking the army to be more effective against Taliban encroachments. In Balochistan, however, the ethnic-political picture is more complex.
As in the NWFP and the Tribal Areas, the Afghan jihad and its refugees have destabilised the ethnic balance in Balochistan. When Mr Baloch refers to “supporters” of the Taliban he is pointing to the dominant Pashtun party, the JUIF, which also queered the pitch in the NWFP for the ANP when it succeeded it in power in Peshawar. What five years of power in the NWFP by the “supporters” of the Taliban did to the ground realities there is now happening to Balochistan, a fact pointed out by scholars who have studied closely the dubious Musharraf policy of giving safe haven to the absconding Afghan Taliban leaders in Quetta.
The JUIF is a religious party but it is quite clearly an ethnic party capturing the Pashtun vote to the detriment of the secular Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP), the same way it had edged out the secular ANP in the NWFP. The JUIF contrasts sharply with Jama’at-e-Islami which remains a religious party appealing to the Pashtun and non-Pashtun alike. The other factor going against the secular Baloch parties is the JUIF’s deft political footwork in Islamabad, sitting inside the federal coalition with the PPP while strongly supporting the Taliban and opposing the military operations Mr Baloch wants against the Taliban in Balochistan.
Unfortunately, however, the separatism of Baloch nationalism plays into the hands of the Pashtun-dominated JUIF which shies away from any rhetoric of insurgency and separation embraced by sections of the Baloch. Quite meaningfully, the Islamisation or “Talibanisation” it favours for Balochistan and the rest of Pakistan is equally radical in its endgame and cannot be opposed openly and vigorously because it gibes with the religious constitution of Pakistan that welcomes the sharia as the faith of the state. The Taliban terrorism is against the government agencies and the Shia. In contrast, Baloch terrorism, while targeting state functionaries, also kills certain non-Baloch and Punjabi elements and destroys the economic lifeline of Pakistan, the province’s natural gas installations and pipelines.
The ethnic balance has been dangerously upset in Balochistan by the jihad waged by the state for over 20 years. This jihad has transformed Pashtun society all over Pakistan and sidelined the nationalists, but it has damaged the cause of the Baloch more effectively. It is true that state functionaries have become indoctrinated by jihadi culture over time just as they have learnt to “prejudge” the Baloch after long years of treating them as “rebels”. Ironically, in the long run, it is the jihadi culture which will destroy the “modern state” and not Baloch nationalism.
In the days to come, Balochistan will acquire strategic importance as the transit terrain for Iranian gas. One hopes that before the pipeline from Iran is finalised the province will get the kind of autonomy it wants. There is no doubt that gas from Iran will be a crucial asset which the state of Pakistan will go to any length to protect. The Pashtun will not oppose it; but the Baloch might. That means that once again the state will have to choose between the Baloch and the Pashtun and, regrettably, might even rely on the unwise and dangerous policy of pitting the “Taliban” against the Baloch. The JUIF is sure to be more supple politically than the proud and inflexible Baloch. Clearly, there is a lesson to be learnt by the Baloch nationalists.
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