Pakistan: Hazaras continue Quetta sit-in for third day; CTD team set up to investigate Hazarganji attack

Syed Ali Shah April 14, 2019

Family members and relatives chant slogans during a protest on April 13 to condemn the Hazarganji blast. ─ Reuters
Family members and relatives chant slogans during a protest on April 13 to condemn the Hazarganji blast. ─ Reuters

A probe team comprising senior Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) officials has been set up to investigate the Hazarganji blast as Quetta’s Hazara community continued protesting the suicide attack for a third consecutive day.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abdul Razzaq Cheema told DawnNewsTV that a team of CTD officials had visited the site of the attack in Hazarganji’s fruit and vegetable market to collect evidence for its investigation.

The body parts of the suspected attacker have been sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency for DNA testing. The DIG said that the test reports, once issued, would be handed over to Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal, but did not specify when they would be issued.

At least 19 people, including eight members of the Hazara community, were killed and 48 others were wounded in a suicide blast on Friday whose responsibility was claimed by the Qari Husain faction of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan as well as the militant Islamic State group.

The Hazara community staged a protest against the killings following the attack. On Saturday, despite reassurances by federal minister Ali Zaidi, the protesters refused to call off their sit-in until all their demands were met, including the arrests of those involved in the attack, steps for protection of the community, and implementation of NAP without discrimination.

Violence against Hazaras

Hazaras are disproportionately targeted by sectarian violence as they are easily identifiable due to their distinctive physical appearance. Nearly half a million Hazaras have settled here since fleeing Afghanistan to escape violence in their homeland during the past four decades.

report released by the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) last year stated that 509 members of Hazara community were killed and 627 injured in various incidents of terrorism in Quetta from January 2012 to Dec 2017.

NCHR official Fazeela Alyani had earlier said that all these lives were lost in Quetta. According to the NCHR, targeted killings, suicide attacks, and bomb blasts have inflicted harm to daily life, education, and business activities of ethnic Hazara community members in Balochistan’s largest city.

Alyani had also explained that the fear and intimidation forced Hazaras to migrate to foreign countries, while target killings forced Hazara students to abandon their studies.

More details to follow.

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