Quetta: Human Rights Watch has called the Pakistani Government to hold accountable extremist groups for killing. In statement, HRW said:
Human Rights Watch research indicates that at least 275 Shias, mostly of Hazara ethnicity, have been killed in sectarian attacks in the southwestern province of Balochistan alone since 2008.
The report mentions two worst attacks on Hazaras in 2011.
On October 4, gunmen on motorbikes stopped a bus carrying mostly Hazara Shia who were headed to work at a vegetable market on the outskirts of Quetta. The attackers forced the passengers off the bus, made them stand in a row, and then opened fire, killing 13 and wounding 6 others.
On September 19, near the town of Mastung in Balochistan, gunmen forced about 40 Hazara who had been traveling to Iran to visit Shia holy sites to disembark from their bus. They shot 26 dead and wounded 6. Although some of the Hazara escaped, gunmen killed another three as they tried to bring the wounded to a hospital in Quetta. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni militant group, claimed responsibility for this attack.
Human Rights Watch said no one has been charged in these attacks. It said, “While authorities claim to have arrested dozens of suspects, no one has been charged in these attacks.”
HRW also said the militant extremist groups have links to Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment.
Some Sunni extremist groups are known to have links to the Pakistani military and its intelligence agencies. Groups such as the banned Lashkar-e Jhangvi operate with impunity even in areas where state authority is well established, such as Punjab province and the port city of Karachi. In Balochistan, where local militants challenge government authority, and elsewhere across Pakistan, law enforcement officials have failed to intervene or prevent attacks on Shia and other vulnerable groups.
HRW also called tThe Pakistani government to urgently act to protect Shia Muslims in Pakistan from sectarian attack during the Muslim holy month of Moharram. Hazaras have come terrorist suicide bombings during Muharram. In March 2004, when a suicide bomber attacked a Muharram procession, 42 Hazaras were killed.