ISLAMABAD, Feb 17: Civil society activists and members of the Shia community here on Sunday held a protest demonstration and a sit-in at D. Chowk to show solidarity with the relatives of the over 80 people killed in Quetta on Saturday.
The protesters demanded targeted operations against extremist elements in the capital city of Balochistan.
They also asked the government to take action against those elements in intelligence agencies who had been supporting the extremists.
They said Quetta should be handed over to the army to ensure peace in the city.
Addressing the protesters, MNA Bushra Gohar of the Awami National Party (ANP) said the Balochistan government had not taken any action against the culprits which showed that it was not capable to resolve the issue.
Fauzia Kasuri of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) said the nation had not recovered from the shock of the killing of over 100 people in a blast in January when the latest mayhem occurred.
“The state has failed to provide security to the citizens. People who belong to different sects have equal right to live in this country,” she said.
Human rights activist Tahira Abdullah said the government should protect the lives of the Shia community. “Parliament has become dysfunctional and we have no expectation from the President,” she said.
Farzana Bari, another rights activist, remarked: “We have been spending 35 per cent of our budget on the military and other law enforcement agencies. If they cannot protect us, we don’t want them.”
Representative of the Hazara community Sajjad Hussain said outlawed Lashkar-i-Jhangvi had accepted responsibility for the killings but the government was not ready to take action against it.
“Our agencies should understand that extremist elements are not the well-wisher of the country. The next generations will have to reap what they (extremists) are sowing today,” he said.
Speaking to the participants of the protest sit-in, Allama Asghar Askari, the deputy general secretary of Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen Punjab, said the decision to impose governor’s rule in Balochistan was right but it was not the only solution to the issue.
“The government should have started a targeted operation against extremists but it could not do that due to which we faced another tragic incident,” he said.
He demanded that Quetta should be handed over to the army to restore peace in the city. He was also of the view that an operation should also be launched against extremist elements in agencies.
Allama Zaheer said extremists were using different sects for their own vested interests. The Gwadar Port can play an important role in development of the country but some external forces do not want Pakistan to reap the fruits of such a development, he added.
Attock: On the call of Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen, leaders and members of the Shia community along with other people staged a peaceful protest rally against the Quetta killings.
They also demanded that the government should hand over the city of Quetta to the army in order to protect human lives.
The rally was taken out from Kamalpur Syedan in Attock cantonment which after reaching Katchery Chowk turned into a public gathering. Speaking on the occasion, the Shia leaders, including Syed Khadim Hussain Naqvi, Syed Maqbool Shah, Maulana Khair Ali Shah and Maulana Ahmed Ali Rizvi, said the frequent killing of people belonging to the Hazara community was shocking and alarming.
They said the government had failed to protect the lives of the community. The participants of the rally expressed solidarity the families of the victims.