According to the latest reports, the number of people killed has reached to 90.
According to the latest reports, the number of people killed because of Saturday’s bombing on Kirani road area of Quetta – the capital city of the Baluchistan province in Pakistan, has reached to 90. And the number of people injured as a result of the bombing is believed to be more than 200. The bombing was carried out by remote controlled explosives, which were hidden in water tank. The explosives were believed to be around 800 to 1000 kg’s, which destroyed several buildings in and around a vegetable market. Even more tragic is the fact that the victims included several girls and women, who were either in market or were in the nearby buildings. According to Afghan consulate officials in Quetta city, at least 30 Afghan refugees, as well, were among those killed by the bomb blast. The officials also confirmed that around 20 other Afghan refugees were injured following the blast and there are fears that death toll of the Afghan refugees will rise.
The bombing was an addition in the series of attacks carried out against minority Hazaras in Baluchistan. Earlier there have been several incidents, which have been both barbaric and inhumane. For the last 13 years or so, more than 1200 Hazaras have been the victims of targeted killings and bombings and it is hapless to say that the carnage continues.
It has been only a month or so that more than 110 Hazaras were victimized by twin bombings on Alamdar Road, Quetta. Though the incident was followed by a sit-in and hunger strike by Hazara community members and political party and resulted in the elimination of the provincial government through a Governor Rule, which promised that security measures would be carried out against the culprits, yet the scenario does not seem to have changed much. Baluchistan governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi accepted after Saturday’s attack, “The terrorist attack on the Hazara community in Quetta is a failure of the intelligence and security forces.” However, accepting the failure would not solve the issue anymore.
Most of the facts reveal that these attacks have been carried out because of the fact that Hazaras belong to Shiite Sect of Islam as after most of the incidents the extremist anti-Shiite religious group Lashkar e Jhangvi has claimed the responsibility. However, in order to have a proper understanding of the target killings of and terrorist acts against Hazaras in Baluchistan, Pakistan the overall growth of terrorism in Pakistan in particular and in the world in general has to be understood. In the post 9/11 scenario Pakistan opted to join hands with the propagators of War against Terrorism and launched movement against the extremist religious groups in the country.
It was when the intensity of penetration of religious fanaticism was gauged in the country. It was not thought to be so much in strength by the people in Pakistan, but soon it was realized that the trees of religious extremism and fanaticism are too strong to be uprooted within some days. Musharaf government had to face opposition from the religious groups even within the most modern cities of the country when it decided to go against religious extremism.
Further the strength shown by the terrorist groups in WANA and Waziristan depicted that the terrorists had made their stronghold in Pak-Afghan bordering areas. Therefore, it was proved that the growth of the religious extremism which was supported by government of General Zia ul Haq and backed by US and Saudi governments in order to strengthen “Mujahideen” against Soviet army in Afghanistan had started producing fruits and had made major portions of Pakistan and Afghanistan a safe haven for the international terrorist groups.
Even Al-Qaida found easy refuge in such a welcoming environment. The incidents that followed showed considerable intensification in extremist sentiments and have had their impacts in different parts of Pakistan, resulting in the death of thousands of innocent people so far. Religious and ethnic minorities have been influenced to a greater extent as they stand weaker in the power game.
But, it is necessary to note that there have been incidents of sectarian killings in Pakistan prior to 9/11 as well. Some of the major cities of Pakistan were affected by the sectarian clashes in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Those clashes were more political in nature. The Shiite and Sunni divide was intensified and was politically utilized by Saudi and Iranian governments. But the roots lie in the same process of religious militancy and extremism that was promoted during General Zia ul Haq era in Pakistan to counter Soviet Red Army.
The Saudi influence in this process was dominant and was opposed and countered by Iran that belonged to a different school of Islamic thought. The formation of different religious groups (including Sipai Sahaba, Sipai Muhammad, Lashker e Jangvi, Jaish Muhammad and some others) based on sectarian sentiments took place during or after the same era and became dominantly active. Most of these religious groups at the moment are banned in Pakistan but they are active and carrying on their mission, like Lashkar e Jangavi. However, the current wave of killings cannot be termed as sectarian in a strict sense as there has not been any major violent response from the Shiite groups to counter the killings.
Lashkar e Jhangvi has been claiming responsibilities in the serious of target killings of Hazaras in Quetta, Pakistan since the very beginning of such incidents in the early 2001. The group seems to have extremist ideology and is strictly against the Hazaras who dominantly belong to Shiite ideology. Though Lashkar e Jhangvi is a banned group, it has been able to carry on its mission successfully in the country. This group has links with militant groups in northwestern Pakistan and even with Al-Qaida. Even more unfortunate is the fact that the group has sympathizers among the Pakistani security apparatus and political parties, which is believed to be the main reason of its functioning with impunity. Unfortunately, after the bold and clear claims of the group for the killings of the innocent people tangible measures are yet to be taken on the part of Pakistani government. Law enforcing agencies have failed to counter the group’s offensive attitude. And it continues to target the people at will. International community in this regard has yet to play its role. Though there have been dissemination of the incidents through media and other sources, international community and Human Rights Organizations are yet to pay serious attention to the issue.
There have been demonstrations in different parts of the world regarding the issue, and the vehement violation of Human Rights have been voiced to the relevant people, hopefully, there will be due attention paid to the issue. If there are no serious considerations paid to the issue it may soon turn into a sort of ethnic cleansing and may devour the lives of hundreds of innocent people.