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Living in fear... By S T Hussain

20 February, 2013

Pakistan was carved out in 1947 to ensure security for Muslims in a separate homeland. After 65 years, Pakistan has become one of the most dangerous and insecure countries for Muslims in the world. Hindus and Sikhs are not killing Muslims in Pakistan; Muslims are murdering Muslims, particularly the Shia Hazara community is being attacked now on a regular basis. On January 10, 2013, a double suicide bombing on Alamdar Road in Quetta killed 100 innocent people, most of them Hazaras. Then, on February 16, 2013, again the Hazara Shia community was targeted and 80 people were killed, including women and children, when a remote controlled bomb went off in Hazara Town, which is a Shia-dominated locality situated on the out skirts of Quetta.

About 800 kilogrammes of explosives, packed inside a water tanker, exploded near a market place thronging with men, women and children. A nearby building also collapsed, causing more casualties. This has all happened in less than five weeks. The Hazara community has lost close to 200 of their people. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) has claimed responsibility for these attacks, just as they have for many dozens of previous attacks against Shias. This outfit is on a mission to eradicate the Shia community and yet the state is unwilling to take action. The LeJ operates freely throughout the country and its leaders address rallies without a worry.

The Shia community wants to know why the state is reluctant to tackle extremists and why the intelligence and security agencies have not made any arrest after the Alamdar Road attack of January 10, 2013. Why is the leader of LeJ still out there as a free man? Why has he not been hauled up when his organisation openly claims responsibility for these atrocities? Why has the Chief Justice (CJ) of the Supreme Court (SC) not taken notice when it comes to protecting the Hazara community's right to live with their faith freely in the Islamic Republic? Why are the organs of our state's security system not protecting the citizens? How many more minority Pakistanis have to die before a change in the strategy and working of security and intelligence agencies will start working for the protection of Pakistani minorities? Is the police force afraid of the LeJ and other extremist groups? Is the LeJ more powerful than the state's security establishment? Is it not the prime, collective responsibility of the state's organs and institutions to protect the basic rights of their citizens? Should the Shia community seek international help to save their lives and live in peace in their own country?

S T HUSSAIN
Via e-mail

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