Shia leaders present their demand as Quetta sit-in continues – by Kamil Hazara

Shia leaders present their demands as sit-in continues

After a day of tragedy (10 January 2013) in Quetta in which over 100 Shias and more than 10 Sunnis were killed by Deobandi militants (Sipah Sahaba aka ASWJ) and more than 200 wounded, Shias have staged a sit-in protest for indefinite period (Source: BBC). A big number of women and children are also participating in it. The protest was called after local Shia leaders decided not to bury the dead unless their demands are met.

Their demands are:

  1. Chief Minister of Balochistan must resign; Balochistan’s Provincial Government must be removed, the province must be put under Governor rule and army be made directly responsible and accountable for the law and order including safety of all people including Shias.
  2. Full enforcement of the legal ban on Sipah Sahaba which currently is allowed to operate freely under new name ASWJ. Arrest ASWJ leaders (namely Ahmed Ludhianvi, Malik Ishaq, Tahir Ashrafi, Aurangzeb Farooqi, Qazi Nisar) and punish them for inciting hate speech against Shia Muslims;
  3. Carry out targeted military operation in the notorious areas of the province known for being the training camps and hide outs of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Sipah Sahaba – ASWJ) terrorists, most importantly, Saryab Road in Quetta, Kanak and Mastung. All leaders and militants of Sipah Sahaba (currently operating as ASWJ-LeJ) must be arrested and awarded exemplary punishment after summary hearings;
  4. Urgently implement death sentence to ASWJ-LeJ militants already sentenced to death by the court;
  5. Stop allowing publication of threats to Shia community by LeJ-SSP in local newspapers and TV channels. Stop providing air time to Ahmed Ludhianvi, Tahir Ashrafi, Malik Ishaq and other ASWJ-LeJ leaders in the media;
  6. Financially compensate over 1000 Shia victims (Rs. 1 million per victim), and provide Rs.0.5 million plus free medical facilities to the wounded; all those injured in terrorist activities be treated on Government expenses in Agha Khan Hospital, Karachi and other reputable and trustworthy hospitals
  7. Provide jobs to every victim who lost their guardians or male members;
  8. Release innocent Shia Muslims arrested in false cases;
  9. Provide protection to the Shia businessmen, transporters, vendors, officers, school, college and university students;
  10. Set up security check posts of police in areas where Shias have been regularly targeted. In particular, set up permanent check posts in and around Alamdar Road and Hazara Town;
  11. Provision of free licensed weapons for self defence, X-Ray scanners, training to Shia volunteers to defend their life, property, family. Allow Shia scouts and volunteers to set up private security in Shia areas;
  12. End of apartheid in the Balochistan University and other institutions against the Shia Hazaras, and all Shias;
  13. Resettle the Shia Hazara families who were evicted from Khuzdar and Machh and protect and compnesate them;
  14. Full and accurate coverage of Shia genocide by Deobandi militants of Sipah Sahaba (ASWJ-LeJ) in media; must not obfuscate as Hazara specific ethnic or Sunni-Shia sectarian violence. Pakistan government, in particular Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority PEMRA, must take action against those media channels and newspapers which misrepresent Shia genocide as Sunni vs Shia sectarian violence or present it as Hazara specific ethnic violence.
  15. Set up high-level judicial inquiry, also including members of the UN, HRW, Amnesty and HRCP, to investigate allegations of collusion between militant groups and military intelligence and paramilitary forces.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), “The Pakistani government’s persistent failure to protect the minority Shia Muslim community in Pakistan from sectarian attacks by Sunni [Deobandi] militant groups [Sipah Sahaba Taliban aka LeJ-ASWJ], is reprehensible and amounts to complicity in the barbaric slaughter of Pakistani citizens, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday. The government should immediately hold accountable those responsible for ordering and participating in deadly attacks targeting the Shia across Pakistan and particularly the Hazara Shia in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.”

Pakistani Shia Muslims hold protests over Quetta carnage

Thousands of Pakistani Shia Muslims staged demonstrations on Friday and Saturday across the country to condemn the recent bomb attacks in Pakistan in which more than 100 people, including many Shias, were killed.

A total of 129 people were killed and more than 280 wounded in three bomb attacks across Pakistan on Thursday.
At least 92 Pakistanis lost their lives and more than 200 others were injured in twin bomb attacks that targeted Shia Muslims in a crowded billiards hall in Quetta. Earlier in the day, 12 security forces were also killed in a bomb explosion at a security checkpoint in the city.
On Saturday, the protesters in the southwestern city of Quetta demanded that the army take control of the violence-hit city to protect Shia Muslims and stated they would not allow the victims of the twin bombing to be buried until their demands were met.
On Friday, Pakistani Shia leaders criticized the country’s army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani over security in the country.
“I ask the army chief: What have you done with these extra three years you got (in office). What did you give us except more death,” Maulana Amin Shaheedi, a central leader of the Majlis-i-Wahdat-i-Muslimeen, told a press conference Quetta on Friday.
“They (the victims) will not be buried until the army comes into Quetta,” Shaheedi said.
Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan Director of Human Rights Watch, said, “Last year was the bloodiest year for Shias in living memory.”
“More than 400 were killed and if yesterday’s attack is any indication, it’s just going to get worse,” he added.
Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in bombings and other militant attacks since 2001, when Pakistan entered an alliance with the United States in the so-called war against terrorism.
Since late 2009, there has been a surge in militant attacks in Pakistan. Thousands have been displaced by the wave of violence and militancy sweeping the country.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also strongly condemned the “terrorist violence” in Pakistan.
“The secretary general is deeply concerned about ongoing terrorist violence in Pakistan,” the UN spokesperson said in a statement on Friday.
In another incident of violence on Thursday, a bomb detonated inside a mosque in the Swat Valley of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, northwest of Islamabad, leaving 25 Sunni Muslims dead and 80 others wounded.
“He strongly condemns the multiple attacks in Quetta and the Swat Valley,” the statement said.
“He (the UN secretary general) reiterates the strong support of the UN for the efforts of the government of Pakistan to combat the scourge of terrorism and hopes that the perpetrators of these violent acts will be brought to justice,” the statement added.