HRCP raps killings in Quetta -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

HRCP raps killings in Quetta

LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has condemned the killing of Shia pilgrims in Balochistan.

In a statement issued on Friday, it said the incident demonstrated that terrorists persist with their vicious and systematic campaign to target citizens on account of their religious beliefs. “And the state has either been unwilling or increasingly unable to prevent the blatant killings,” it said.

“The HRCP shares the grief of the families of those killed and injured in Thursday’s terrorist attack in Quetta that targeted a bus of Shia pilgrims. After the brazen attack on a bus of Iran-bound pilgrims in Mastung district of Balochistan last year, it was certain that unless the culprits were brought to justice, they would strike again. They did so on Thursday and this time the bus had a police escort and yet, as in the Mastung attack, neither the attack could be foiled nor perpetrators captured.”

The number of Shias killed in targeted attacks in Balochistan in 2012 alone had exceeded 60, it said.

“With each attack, allegations of the attackers enjoying sympathy and support among the security forces gain more credence, at least in view of the targeted community. In these circumstances, the Shia population of Balochistan, and the Iran-bound pilgrims in particular, understandably feel like sitting ducks.

Little wonder then that many young people from the community are prepared to take their chances to flee the country in search of safety, often risking travel in rickety boats in shark-infested waters. At least 70 young men from the community had drowned in one such attempt in Indonesian waters in 2011.”

The HRCP further said the authorities had failed to act against Lashkar-i-Jhangvi which had repeatedly claimed responsibility for these attacks. The promised probe into the attack must also look into charges of support for the terrorists among the
security agencies, it stressed.

“It has also been alleged that the Iran-bound pilgrims targeted on Thursday were originally sitting in various buses but the authorities asked them all to go in one bus which was later targeted. Some members of the community have interpreted that as proof at least some elements in the law-enforcement agencies are working hand in glove with the terrorists,” said the commission.

Dawn