NEW YORK: The Pakistani government should take all necessary steps to ensure the security of Shias in Balochistan, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.
“The government should hold accountable those responsible for ordering and carrying out a campaign of targeted killings against the Shias,” it said. On October 4, 2011, gunmen riding on motorbikes intercepted a bus carrying mostly Hazara Shias who were headed to work at a vegetable market on the outskirts of Quetta, the provincial capital.
The attackers forced the passengers off the bus, made them stand in a row, and opened fire, killing 13 and wounding six others.
On September 19, near the town of Mastung, gunmen forced around 40 Hazaras who had been traveling by bus to Iran to visit Shia holy sites to disembark, shot 26 dead, and wounded six. Although some Hazaras managed to escape, another three were killed as they tried to bring victims to a hospital in Quetta.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni militant group, claimed responsibility for the September 19 attack. “The targeted killings of Shias are a barbaric attempt at sectarian and ethnic cleansing,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“The government’s failure to break up the extremist groups that carry out these attacks calls into question its commitment to protect all its citizens.” While sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia militant groups has been a persistent problem in Pakistan, more recent attacks have primarily targeted ordinary Shias going about their daily lives.
Source: Daily Times – 06.10.2011