8 Hazaras among 9 killed in Quetta
QUETTA: Nine more people were gunned down in three separate incidents of sectarian target killing here on Saturday, the fourth such incident in Quetta this week. The fresh incident at Brewery Road comes a day after Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi’s remarks that if peace was not restored in Quetta the Army might take over which could further complicate the situation. Police said that six people, who belonged to the Hazara community, were on their way to Marriabad from Hazara town in a yellow cab when it was ambushed by unidentified armed men in the Killi Ibrahimzai area at Brewery Road. The armed men sprayed bullets with lethal automatic weapons targeting the passengers of the yellow cab. All the six people in the vehicle died on the spot.
Reports suggested that the assailants had taken positions on Killi Ibrahimzai’s main road. The attackers opened fire on the vehicle as it approached them at around 9:15am. The attack was so sudden and intense that the victims could not resist and died immediately. The attackers fled from the scene on a motorcycle leaving behind the deceased in a pool of blood.
The bodies of the deceased were take to the Bolan Medical Complex hospital in private vehicles. Soon after the incident, a large number of people belonging to the Hazara community thronged to the hospital where they strongly protested against the target killing incident.
On being informed, the police and Frontier Corps (FC) personnel reached the spot and started a probe into the matter.
The Balochistan government also called in 10 platoons of the FC to maintain law and order in different areas of Quetta and to deal with any untoward occurrence.
The incident of target killing created tension in the provincial capital and people belonging to the Hazara community, including political activists and students, blocked the Brewery Road and protested against the killings. They burnt tyres and demanded of the government to step down as it has failed to provide security to the citizens.
Meanwhile, three persons, two of them belonging to the Hazara community, were shot dead in other incidents of target killings at the Sabzal Road and Shalakot area.
Police said that unknown armed men opened indiscriminate fire with modern weapons on them, killing two of them on the spot while another succumbed to his injuries in the CMH.
Routine life was paralysed and violent protest demonstrations were staged in Quetta following the fresh incidents of target killings. All business activities in the city remained at a standstill throughout the day. An angry mob ransacked the Bolan Medical Complex (BMC) hospital and set ablaze a vehicle. Despite the ban on aerial firing, there was heavy aerial firing in different localities of the city.
The Hazara Democratic Party (HDM) announced a wheel jam strike in the provincial capital today (Sunday) against the Brewery Road carnage, while Hazara women staged a protest demonstration in the Hazara town graveyard. They chanted slogans against the government, holding it responsible for the killings. At Brewery road, the protestors burnt tyres and staged a token sit-in outside the Brewery Police Station.
Meanwhile, expressing their deep grief over the gory incidents, Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and Chief Minister Aslam Raisani strongly condemned the target killings. In their separate messages, they expressed deep grief and sorrow over the killings. In his message, the governor underlined the need for provincial government to adopt strict measures as it has become a challenge for the government to restore peace in the province.
Meanwhile, the Balochistan Shia Conference demanded the imposition of governor’s rule in Balochistan saying that the government has miserably failed in combating the target killings.
APP adds: The enraged protestors opened fire at the Station House Officer (SHO) Brewery Police Station, however, he remained safe.
The FC and police personnel escorted students and teachers of the Sardar Bahadar Khan Women University and schools located close to the affected areas where they were besieged after the protestors opened aerial firing.
The law enforcement agencies raided various places in the city and took over 100 suspected persons into custody who were being interrogated.
Tahaffuz Azadari Council announced a seven-day mourning in the city. Hazara Qaumi Jirga, Shia Conference and all political and religious parties condemned the incidents of target killings which had claimed about 25 lives and injured several others during the last 10 days in the provincial capital.
Talking to the media, Home Secretary Balochistan Nasibullah Bazai said they could not provide complete security and protection to citizens. He, however, said that a comprehensive security plan had been devised which, after the approval of the relevant authorities, would be implemented.