Shia killings expose state’s criminal negligence: HRCP
* Commission condemns Thursday’s bus attack, expresses concern over authorities’ inability or unwillingness to act against terrorists
LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said that the killing of Shia pilgrims in Balochistan on Thursday proves that terrorists persist with their vicious and systematic campaign to target citizens on account of their religious beliefs “as the state has either been unwilling or increasingly unable to prevent the blatant killings”.
In a statement issued on Friday, the commission said, “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. This time the bus had a police escort and yet, as in the Mastung attack, neither the attack could be foiled nor perpetrators captured.” HRCP added, “Only difference was that those dead and injured were taken to hospitals relatively quickly. The number of Shias killed in systemic and targeted attacks in Balochistan in 2012 alone has exceeded 60. Everyone knows who the perpetrators are.”
With each attack, the commission added, allegations of the attackers “enjoying sympathy and support among security forces gain more credence, at least in views of the targeted community”.
“In the 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 to do so. At least 70 young men from the community had drowned in one such attempt in Indonesian waters in 2011.” The statement further read, “HRCP unequivocally condemns the attack and is shocked by the authorities’ inability or unwillingness to act against terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has repeatedly claimed responsibility for these attacks.”
It said the promised probe into the attack must also look into charges of support for the terrorists among the security agencies.
“It has also been alleged that the Iran-bound pilgrims targeted on Thursday were originally sitting in various buses but the authorities asked them 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 working hand in glove with the terrorists. HRCP cannot vouch for the veracity of this claim but that too should be investigated.”