The Shias of Hazara community in Quetta has staged a sit-in on the Western Bypass and entered in second day to protest against what they term the ‘persistent failure’ of law enforcement authorities to provide them security in Balochistan and across Pakistan.
The sit-in commenced on Friday right after a suicide blast ripped through vegetable stalls at Quetta’s Hazar Ganji Market, martyring at least 20 people — including eight members of the Hazara community and a soldier of the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) – and injuring 48 others.
Apart from police officials, Balochistan Home Minister Zia Langove had also confirmed that vegetable vendors belonging to the Hazara community were the target.
Members of the community, including women and children, set tyres on fire and blocked the Western Bypass, while protests were also staged in front of the Quetta Press Club.
As the protests continued into the night, terrorists then targeted a busy market in the border town of Chaman using an improvised explosive device, martyring one man and injuring 11 others including two FC personnel.
Three vehicles, eight motorbikes and nearby buildings were also damaged in the blast.
As the sit-in at Western Bypass entered its second day on Saturday, the protesters remained steadfast on their demands – immediate action against the perpetrators of the attacks; implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) without any discrimination; and an earnest effort by the state to fulfill its responsibility of providing security to its people.
The attacks were condemned by leaders of all political parties and there were renewed calls for a comprehensive security plan for Balochistan and proper implementation of NAP.