Hapless Hazaras

THE BEREAVED Hazara protesters thronging Quetta’s streets are in mood to stop mourning the death of nearly 80 people killed in the February 16 blast — not till the authorities find and punish the culprits of the heinous attack.

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Published: Wed 20 Feb 2013, 8:21 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:43 AM

Refusing to bury their dead till the Pakistani government conducts an armed operation against the terrorists, the Hazaras are finally uniting to defy a history of systematic persecution.

The blast that ripped through a busy Hazara-dominated area in southwestern Quetta comes a month after vicious twin bombings killed nearly a 100 people in the city last month. Banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for both the attacks.

Even back then, the ethnic community took to the streets to vent their frustration. And even then, there was one demand uniting their angry chants, desperate pleas and teary appeals that brought Quetta to a near standstill: find those responsible for the attack and bring them to justice. To mitigate the unprecedented show of rage by the Hazaras, the government dissolved the provincial government for its failure to tackle Balochistan’s worsening security situation. But just a month later, another deadly attack has brutally struck Quetta — a city that is fast becoming Pakistan’s prime hub of bombings, target killings and kidnappings — showing the ineptness of the central government.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the offensive against the Hazaras is that its scale has grown over the years. While it was mostly confined to target killings and ambushes, the new year has witnessed the most violent targeted bombings against them.

As they refuse to let go of their dead, the hapless Hazaras are hoping for justice to come their way. Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has announced a targeted operation against Quetta’s killers. Given the government’s past record, however, this might just be another gimmick to do some damage control before the forthcoming elections.

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