Extremists, bigots and militants continue to target Baluchistan’s Shia community, commonly known as Hazaras, without any fear of being traced or tracked down by security agencies. It is unfortunate to see the writ of the Pakistani government crumbling fast. What is more shameful for the government and security agencies is that extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi targets the community members and then claims responsibility of each incident just hours after the tragedies and mishaps. This time around, two bomb blasts targeted members of the community, killing 96 people and wounding hundreds of others.
Both federal and provincial governments seem to have virtually lost their writs to the extremist group in the restive province, Baluchistan, as they have failed to arrest even a single perpetrator of the crime so far. Who is abetting Lashkar-e-Jhangvi? The outfit is notorious for targeting Shia community for its belief and has established its tentacles across the country, according to a widely held belief, with connivance of the security agencies. The security agencies are alleged to have links with the outfit, as the former wants to quell a separatist movement going on in Baluchistan with the help of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. This belief/allegation stems from the fact that the systematic killing of the Hazara community has been going on in the violence-wracked province of Pakistan for the last couple of years, but security agencies have not been able to arrest even a single culprit.
Frustrated and angered, the Hazara community has denied burying their beloved ones until Pakistan army takes control of the provincial capital, Quetta. In sub-zero temperature, women, children and family members of the aggrieved families spent the whole last night in the open, mourning the killings and protesting against the failure of the government. The inept and corrupt Pakistani rulers are busy in loot and plunder. They don’t have time to address grievances of the community. Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khurshid Shah did visit the aggrieved families on Saturday in order to coax them to call off their protest, but the efforts failed to bear fruit as the community is not ready to accept anything less than the deployment of Pakistan army to restore law and order at least in the provincial capital.
Will Pakistan army be able to restore peace in the restive province? It doesn’t look possible. Pakistan army already has enough deployment of troops in the province to curb violence, but nothing significant has been achieved so far. More deployment of troops in the province cannot guarantee any long-lasting peace and prevent targeted attacks on the Shia community. The civilian government, both federal and provincial, should take stock of the situation and address root-cause of the brutal aggression, arrest activists of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and award them exemplary punishments to avoid recurrence of targeted killings.