Hazara Killing: Demanding Ruthless Action against Terrorists
By Zaheerul Hassan
Hazara community is about 600,000–700,000, out of which 0.6 million predominantly comprise the Shia population of Quetta and are concentrated in Hazara Town of Quetta. Carefully calculated data reveals that about 1200 Hazaras have been killed from 1999-2012. Particularly, in 61 attacks of 2012, 116 have been killed and 89 injured.
But the start of 2013 added the government concerns, when in the first two months 210 have been killed and 313 injured in eight attacks against sectarian violence. This Incident of January 2013 has resulted into the removal of democratically elected but the most ineffective Provincial Government and enforcement of Governor Rule in Balochistan. But even then, not a single culprit has been brought to the justice until terrorists once again targeted hit shia community of Hazara Town, Quetta. On 23 February again six individuals have be killed in gun fire in Liaqat Bazar of Quetta. However, killing and target in sectarian clashes in Balochistan is as follow:-
Figure 1 Killing & Injured Balochistan 2008-2013
Actually, targeting innocent Hazara is an awful and dreadful act of brutality by anti-state elements in which over 90 individuals including women and children were killed and more than 200 injured. The entire nation expresses its heartfelt condolence on tragic loss of precious life and destruction of property, not only sharing their grief but showing solidarity with the victims. All and sundry, today feel deeply aggrieved and fumingly outraged, showing signs of frustration and sense of disparaging vilification. The nation out-rightly denounces such acts of terrorism and condemns their designs.
In fact, multiplicity of present violence, unrest and blast wave in Pakistan need to be analysed in the local and regional perspective. The recent agreements of Pak-China over Gawadar Port, Iran-Pak Gas Pipeline Project, Iranian nuclear programme, Indian hegemonic design, exit strategy of US-NATO forces, Post Afghan situation after departure of foreign forces in 2014 and transitional phase in Pakistani democratic process, are those imperatives which in future would be influencing the geo-economics, geo-military and geopolitics dynamics of the region.
Thus, timing of targeting Shia community of Balochistan happened when Pakistan has concluded an agreement with China for handing over its strategically vital sea port “Gawadar” to the later for operational purpose. Some of the Arab states, U.S. and India might be thinking that that development and operation of Gawadar port would be hitting their economic and strategic objectives.
Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline is another important project that can help in developing and boosting the future economy of Pakistan. In this connection U.S. and India have shown concerns over this agreement. According to voice of Russia, the U.S. has threatened with economic sanctions against Pakistan over Islamabad’s plan to buy Iranian gas to quell its increasing energy thirst.
Therefore foreign Intelligence agencies are supporting, launching, promoting militancy and sectarian violence aiming of converting Balochistan into a troubled spot since it is the easiest way of creating hurdle in the revealed sensitive agreements between Pakistan, Iran and China.
Moreover, ethnic and militant factors are also interlinked and causes of increasing sectarian violence since LJ is being supported by TPP for fomenting terrorism in the country. According to Norwegian Peace Building Resource Report (NOREF), ‘Sectarian violence has spread across the country and is increasingly directed at disenfranchised targets such as Balochistan’s Hazaras (an ethnic minority) and worshippers at Sufi shrines”.
The internal factor is again emerging as disturbing concerns as Pakistan is passing through transitional phase of democracy, where parliament is completing its tenure on 16th March and elections would also be conducted this year. But foreign forces are not probably ready to accept Pakistan as a strong democratic country. Thus, they hooked local elements in spreading anarchy with view to disrupt or derail political system. In this regards we can take the examples of untimed arrival of Tahirul Qadri, MQM actions of supporting and delinking with governemtnt and Qadri. We can defeat these forces with unity and patriotism.
But unfortunately, some of the political leadership and media have found it easy to blame the intelligence agencies for having failed to unearth the schemes of terrorists. Though some writers like Wajahat S Khan (The News-18 February 2013) have pointed towards political correlation of the narrative, questioning as to why are these sectarian tensions spilling over in Quetta, Karachi and KPK and why LeJ in not active in Punjab? People are talking about Rana Sana Ullah’s close connections with LeJ and Malik Ishaq. People also talk that PML (N) is using Rana Sana Ullah’s connections with LeJ in targeting the Shia community in Balochistan (Hazara of Quetta) with the purpose of discrediting PPP Govt and drawing a political mileage. Some of the media anchors traditionally turned towards their guns towards ISI and Pakistan Army while crafting and cooking base less stories against the vital organs of the state.
In this connection, on 21 February 2013, in an arranged briefing, ISPR Chief Maj Gen Asim Bajwa straghtaway negated and condemned the anti security forces propaganda launched by irresponsible media anchors and so called analyst. He said that the factually position is, “The armed forces were not in contact with any militant organisation, including Lashkar-i-Jhangvi,” He also ruled out any collaboration at the lower levels as well and said that As regards the propaganda against the security agencies, rejecting the impression of supporting any banned organisation, Gen Bajwa clarified that the armed forces were not in contact with militant outfits including Lashkar-i-Jhangvi. Military is fighting a war against all forms of terrorism in the country. Commenting on the role of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), he mentioned that the supreme Pakistani agency was operating within its mandate and carried out 130 intelligence operations against terrorists and their masters in Balochistan. The agency has also successfully prevented several terrorist incidents during the last four months. The Pakistan Armed Forces Chief Spokesman also told reporters: “Decision of not calling the armed forces in Balochistan was also a political move, although the military leadership was not reluctant to support the civil administration under Article 245 of the Constitution.”
Meanwhile, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik pointed out on February 20 that Punjab housed hubs of terrorists with headquarters of the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, asking the Punjab government to take action against them or the federal government would eliminate the terrorists’ sanctuaries in the province. He added that explosives were transported from Lahore to Quetta to carry out massacres of Hazaras. But Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Shrif while talking to the journalists has shown reluctance in taking action against LJ on the direction of Federal Government.Notably, in the 2010, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer (The Late) disclosed that Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has links with Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi. Therefore, he is not taking effective measures against these banned outfits.
Nevertheless, Supreme Court of Pakistan has also taken serious notes of Quetta Situation asked government to take actions against responsible organization and culprits for Hazra killings. Security forces are determined to take ruthless actions against foreign sponsored militancy and sectarian violence. Rooting out of violence and militancy is only possible when political leadership gets united, forego their individual interests of attracting any type of voters to win the coming elections and condemn unanimously any sort of terrorisms. Government should also ask Arab states, Iran, U.S. and India to stop private funding to any organizations and NGOs.