Human Rights Watch slams authorities over Shia massacre in Quetta
NEW YORK: The Pakistani government’s persistent failure to protect the minority Shia community from sectarian attacks by militant groups is reprehensible and amounts to complicity in the barbaric slaughter of Pakistani citizens, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.
In a statement, the HRW said the government should immediately hold accountable those responsible for ordering and participating in deadly attacks targeting Shias across Pakistan.
On Thursday, at least 4 bomb attacks took place in Quetta. Those killed included at least eight police personnel and one journalist, it said.
“Year 2012 was the bloodiest year for Pakistan’s Shia community in living memory and if this latest attack is any indication, 2013 has started on an even more dismal note,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, Human Rights Watch Pakistan director. “As Shia community members continue to be slaughtered in cold blood, the callousness and indifference of authorities offers a damning indictment of the state, its military and security agencies.” While sectarian violence is a longstanding problem in Pakistan, attacks against ordinary Shia have increased dramatically in recent years, Human Rights Watch said. In 2012, well over 400 members of the Shia population were killed in targeted attacks. Over 120 of these were killed in Balochistan province, the vast majority from the Hazara Shia community.
Similar attacks targeting the Shia population have taken place repeatedly over the last year in Balochistan, the port city of Karachi, predominantly Shia populated areas of Gilgit-Baltistan in the northern areas, and in Pakistan’s tribal areas, Human Rights Watch said.