QUETTA, Oct 9: A day after gunmen shot dead four women from the Shia Hazara community, the Balochistan administration decided to form a joint investigation team to probe into the grisly violence which officials say violates all tribal norms of the province.
A high-level huddle reviewed the security situation following Tuesday’s deadly assault on a bus which was en route to Hazara Town, an overwhelmingly Shia neighbourhood, on the edge of Quetta. Three gunmen riding a bike intercepted the vehicle on Kirani Road in the Podgali area.
Two of them boarded the section reserved for women and shot five women after confirming they were from the Hazara community. Four of them died on the spot while one was injured in the attack which was apparently motivated by sectarian hatred.
Attendees at Wednesday’s conclave included Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti, Chief Secretary Saif Ullah Chatta, IGP Ahsan Mehboob, DIG Quetta Abdul Razaq Cheema and civil and other military officials. The meeting also decided to improve security arrangements by putting up closed-circuit television cameras in the city. IGP Mehboob updated participants on the investigations.
Meanwhile, Sariab police registered a quadruple murder case against unidentified gunmen. Investigations are under way.
Separately, the Hazara Democratic Party staged a protest outside the Quetta press club against the killing of the women of their community.
HDP Secretary General Ahmed Ali Kuhzad led demonstrators. Participants expressed concern over targeted attacks against their community. Killing women is a violation of tribal and Islamic values which is condemnable, they added.
“We want the government to tell us where did the attackers come from and how did they manage to commit the grisly violence amid heightened security,” Kuhzad said. The Hazara community leaders also criticised the intelligence and security agencies for their sheer failure to preempt the attack.
The protesters called upon the United Nations and rights groups to take notice of the ‘genocide’ of their community in Balochistan.
A top military commander, meanwhile, called for unity among all segments of society to defeat the enemy’s designs.
“We will have to demonstrate unity to defeat our enemy who is hatching conspiracies to divide us,” Lt Gen Aamer Riaz, Commander Southern Command, said during a visit to an Imambargah where he offered Fateha for the victims of Tuesday’s attack on a moving bus.
Lt Gen Riaz visited Nichari Imambargah in Quetta Wednesday to offer condolences to the aggrieved community. He promised that the perpetrators of the cowardly attack would not go unpunished. “They will be brought to justice at any cost,” he added. “Stern action will be taken against those involved in targeted killings of innocent people.”
He called upon all segments of society to maintain unity among their ranks in order to foil the evil designs of the enemy who wanted to divide the society.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2016