By Shehzad Baloch
QUETTA: Targeted killings in Quetta continued as a member of the Hazara community was shot dead on Abdul Sattar Road after Friday prayers.
The deceased, who was identified as Mohammad Ali Hazara, was a watchman and was sitting outside a shop when armed men opened fire on him. The assailants fled the scene on motorbikes after the incident.
As many as four people from the Hazara community have been killed and one injured during the last 24 hours, while six people were targeted last Monday. Investigators termed the killing a sectarian attack.
The killing had taken place when over 4,000 members of the Hazara community were protesting outside the Governor House and Chief Minister Secretariat.
The incident caused panic in Liaquat Bazaar, Prince Road, Mezan Chowk, Jinnah Road and other adjoining areas. All stores, trading centers and restaurants in the area were closed after the incident.
A heavy contingent of Frontier Corps and police personnel reached the scene and cordoned off the area to prevent any untoward incidents from taking place.
Most of the affected areas remained deserted with very little traffic on the roads.
FC, Army to be called in if govt fails to curb violence: Governor
Governor Balochistan Zulfiqar Ali Magsi announced that the Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps (FC) will be called in Quetta to control the situation if civil administration and police failed to curb the ongoing incidents of targeted killings.
The governor made these remarks while meeting a delegation of Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) who took out a procession and staged a sit-in outside the Governor House and Chief Minister Secretariat. The delegation led by Ahmed Ali, Hassan Agha and others lodged their protest with the governor by saying that the Hazara people are being targeted and killed in broad daylight with complete impunity.
“The situation is going out of control. It is ironic that targeted killings are taking place on a daily basis despite the presence of paramilitary troops, Frontier Corps (FC), police and Balochistan Constabulary,” Magsi told ministers and senior officials who were present during the meeting.
“We will be compelled to deploy Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps in Quetta for maintaining law and order if government continues to fail in curbing the incidents of targeted killings,” he said, adding that this may lead to deteriorate the situation.
He also feared that the ongoing uncertainty and lawlessness will convert into a civil war if the current situation lingers.
He directed the concerned authority to convene a high-level meeting and launch an effective crackdown in order the break up the chain of target killers. “There is a huge cabinet and all of the MPAs are ministers but they are least interested in maintaining law and order situation,” he added.
He assured the delegation of Hazara community that he will take up the issue with Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani.
Earlier, the Hazara Democratic Party took out a procession from Alamdar road and marched through different parts of the city. The protestors raised slogans against the government and law enforcement agencies for their failure to curb the targeted killings of people belonging to Hazara community.
Protesters, after removing the barricades erected by law enforcement agencies on Zarghoon Road, entered into the high security zone and staged a sit-in protest outside the Governor House and Chief Minister secretariat.
The procession led by Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) returned to Alamdar Road peacefully following the assurance of Governor Magsi that he will take up the issue with the chief minister.