Hazara-Shia Community Targeted Yet Again. 2 Killed In Ziarat Blast
As the country celebrated Eid, violence against the persecuted Hazara community continued as usual. In yet another instance of targeted killing of the Shia-Hazaras, two people belonging to the community were killed in a blast targeting their vehicle in the Ziarat district of Balochistan on Friday.
7 other Hazara community members received injuries in the attack. According to Levies sources, the deceased belonged to the Hazara community of Quetta and were visiting Ziarat for sightseeing.
There was little to no coverage of the attack on mainstream media, perhaps because it was smaller in extent. But regardless of their magnitude, the fact that faith-based killings continue to take place despite the civil and military leadership’s claims that terrorists have been defeated, raises questions about the country’s counter-terror strategy.
The never-ending wave of violence against the Shia-Hazara community has forced the members of the community to confine themselves within a small area in Quetta. The restricted movement has isolated them from the rest of the city. And it has been like this for more than six years now.
When the ill-fated members of the persecuted group choose to make an exception and go out of the area for recreational purposes, they have to pay a heavy price. Just like the slain travelers in Ziarat did.
The state institutions’ failure to uphold their constitutional duty to protect the lives and properties of Shias Hazaras is disappointing. The elements behind these killings are not unknown. It is common knowledge that sectarian militants of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) are involved in these killings. But members of the group are free to operate and carry out their activities.
LeJ leader Ramzan Mengal, who is known to be the mastermind of anti-Shia violence in Balochistan, was released by Balochistan police in April. A blast targeted the Shia-Hazara community in a fruits market in Quetta three days after he was released.
The leaders of banned Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), which can be termed as the political wing of LeJ, are also free to engage in political activities despite the group’s ‘banned’ status. The authorities need to realize that this inaction is leading to killing of innocent citizens. A countrywide crackdown against sectarian militants and a blanket ban on their political activities is needed to stop the violence.
Naya Daur Media (NDM) is a bi-lingual progressive digital media platform aiming to inform and educate Pakistanis at home and abroad.