Hazara Town: 8 people have been killed and 15 others injured in a rocket attack and firing early morning on Friday in Hazara Town area of Quetta. The attackers were some unknown armed men on two vehicles who fired rockets and Kalashnikov on people playing football and exercising early in the morning at 6am. The injured have been moved to Bolan Medical Hospital, where doctors say some inured are in severe condition. Angry protesters blocked the Bypass Road, and police have arrived in the area. Police say the incident is a sectarian attack.
Hazaras have been victim of sectarian and ethnic target killing in Balochistan for many years. In previous incidents, different sectarian groups have claimed responsibility, among them are the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and Al-Qaeda related Lashkar-e-Jangvi. Such target-killing include suicide attacks on Hazara mass gatherings and hit-and-escape firings on individuals, that number more than 300 in 2010 alone. Friday’s incident is first of its kind when attackers have come in more than one vehicle and fired rockets, then Kalashnikov. Hazara victims of such attacks are mostly common people, but professionals like politicians, doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, laborers and Hazaras in police and other security forces have also come under attack.
Police and other security forces have totally failed to arrest terrorists responsible for the attacks in 2009 and 2010 killing more than 400 Hazaras. In Nov 2009, police claimed to have arrested a mastermind of Hazara target-killing and member of notorious militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jangvi. However, during last two years, not only the attacks have increased, but the mastermind Hafiz Usman has not been punished to death by court, despite admitting for the attacks in front of media cameras. Previously, some top terrorists behind Hazara killings broke away from a high-profile jail in Quetta.
After all such attacks, that happen everyone once in a month, police label it “sectarian target killing” and then nothing happens in investigation. The whereabouts of all militant outfits including SSP, Lashkar and other groups are known by the intelligence agencies. For instance, leaders of SSP and Lashkar roam freely in public in Karachi and Lahore. Despite the fact that these outfits are banned, they operate under new names and have public activities.
The target killing of Hazaras make small one-column news on all national and local newspapers in Pakistan, and headline for an hour on TV channels, but media have never bothered to follow with in-depth investigative reports and questions from law-enforcement agencies. Only Geo TV did a documentary last year on the target killing of Hazaras. In a recent report, the Pakistan Human Rights Commission said about 300 Hazaras were killed in 2009 and 2010, and police had failed to arrest any killer.
The Federal Government of Pakistan, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and intelligence agencies should pay attention to the genocidal target-killing of Hazaras in Quetta.