Following the rocket attacks and firing on Hazaras in Quetta on Friday, May 06 2011 that killed 8 innocent people, most-read newspapers of the country have run editorials about this genocide that is going on from the last 10 years.
Below is the text of editorial in The Daily Times titled “Attack on Hazaras”
A terrorist attack on members of the Hazara community in the ground and adjacent cemetery in Hazara Town of Quetta left eight dead and 15 wounded. People were taking an early morning stroll, playing sports in the ground or praying at the graves of dead relatives in the adjoining cemetery when the attack took place. Preliminary police investigation reveals it was a sectarian attack. The audacity with which this attack has been carried out boggles the mind. In a highly coordinated assault, after firing rockets from the nearby mountains, about a dozen terrorists appeared on the site in vehicles, lobbed hand grenades and started indiscriminate firing. This continued for about 20 minutes before they fled, leaving behind a trail of blood and gore. The death toll could have been much higher had this happened in an enclosed compound instead of an open ground. According to media reports, banned sectarian outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for this incident. In reaction, the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Hazara Democratic Party observed a shutter-down strike in Quetta.
Extremist Wahabi outfits such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba consider Shias wajib-ul-qatl (worthy of murder). The Hazaras are a Shia community straddling Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is not the first time that they have been targeted due to their religious orientation. There is so much fanatical hatred amongst these extremist groups that it really does not matter to them if they are killing unarmed innocent people, including women and children, as long as the targeted persons fit their description of being ‘infidels’. It is alarming that, despite being banned, these outfits are operating with impunity in the length and breadth of Pakistan. Strangely, in a highly sensitive area such as Quetta, which is in the grip of an insurgency, no prior intelligence was available to law enforcement agencies about this attack. Frontier Corp and intelligence agencies have gained notoriety for their highhandedness in dealing with Balcoh activists, whom they illegally detain, torture and murder. How is it possible that they did not know of the presence of sectarian outfits and their activities in the area? Where was the police when this was happening? It is time the law enforcement agencies revamped their priorities and focused on protecting the citizens by rooting out militant sectarian networks and remaining vigilant about any such presence in their area. Otherwise, violence will not stop here.
The other editorial is from The Express Tribune titled “Chapters in Carnage”
The chapters telling the story of violence in Balochistan, written out on the sands of the province, seem to be growing longer and longer with each passing day. They tell a tragic story of growing chaos and of killings based on motives that range from the nationalist to the criminal, with many shades in between. Sadly, unlike most marks made in sand, these are not so easy to wipe out and have coloured the province a deeper and deeper shade of red, as spilled blood continues to seep deep into its hungry soil.
The latest attack seems, at first sight, to be sectarian in nature — though it may be too early to rule out an ethnic motive. Eight members of the Shia Hazara community, gathered at a graveyard on the morning of May 6, were killed and some 15 others injured when unknown assailants drove up in two cars and fired rockets at them. This was followed by a volley of gunfire as bodies tumbled to the ground amidst the graves. The attack took place in a predominantly Shia area of Quetta. Across the province, attacks on both sectarian and ethnic lines have taken place before. There have been no claims of responsibility, but it seems likely extremist forces were behind the killing, carried out with deadly precision and an obvious element of prior planning.
The extent to which the once laughing city of Quetta has changed tells us, in a nutshell, much about Pakistan. Into the early days of independence, relatively cosmopolitan Quetta enjoyed a reputation as a glittering urban centre where entertainment flourished. Today, grime and dust have taken away the city’s sheen, marking the transformation of Quetta in more ways than one, turning it into a place where militants of many different kinds brandish arms and where no one feels entirely safe. Will it ever recover its lost identity and its abandoned gaiety? We do not know — but as more weeping households receive the bodies of those they loved, there appears tragically to be no sign of this.