Hazara Shias on hunger strike in Quetta want assurance of security, justice from Gen Bajwa

The hunger strike being carried out by the members of persecuted Shia Hazara community in Quetta to bring attention towards the killing of Shia Hazaras in the city entered its third day on Monday.

Lawyer and activist Jalila Haider, who is leading the hunger strike camp set up outside Quetta press club, said on Monday that she will continue the strike until the army chief visits the city and details concrete steps to bring the killers to justice and protect the religious minority.

Haider says Gen Qamar Bajwa should come and console the thousands of widows and orphaned children left by the killing of Shia Hazaras in Pakistan over the past two decades.

In recent months, at least 30 Shia Hazaras have been gunned down in Quetta, however, police have still not arrested any suspect.

The protest against the unabated killings of Shia Hazaras started on Saturday following the targetted killing of two members of their community.

The protesters have repeatedly criticised law enforcement and security agencies for their inaction and failure in preventing Shia Hazaras from being murdered with impunity.

Sectarian terrorism in Balochistan has disproportionately targeted people from the predominantly Shia Hazara community, easily identifiable because of their distinct physical attributes.

A report by the National Commission of Human Rights (NCHR) released last month stated that 509 Shia Hazaras were killed in various incidents of terrorism in Quetta in the last five years.

Narrating heartbreaking details about the plight of Shia Hazara community, NCHR official Fazeela Alyani said, “All these precious lives were lost only in Quetta city.”

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Monday assured the Shia Hazara community of security and said law enforcement agencies have been directed to apprehend culprits behind the recent attacks on the Shia Hazara community.

Iqbal visited a sit-in staged on Zarghoon Road near the Balochistan Assembly in Quetta by Minister for Law Syed Agha Raza along with his supporters. Expressing solidarity with the community, Iqbal said federal and provincial government and LEAs had taken measures to eliminate militants and their facilitators.

 

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