Hunger Strike, Protests in Pak’s Balochistan After Quetta Blast

At least 21 people were killed in a suicide bombing attack in Balochistan’s Quetta on Friday, 12 April.

2 min read
Hunger Strike, Protests in Pak’s Balochistan After Quetta Blast

A group of people belonging to the Shia Hazara minority community staged a protest and hunger strike after a suicide bombing attack killed at least 21 people and injured 50 others on Friday, 12 April.

In videos posted by activist Mohammad Jibran Nasir and a Facebook page named Hirjaan News, the protesters can be heard saying that they are being used as a scapegoat for war politics in the country.

Victims of the attacks were mainly from the Hazara community, who are largely Shia Muslims. The community has been frequently targeted by extremists from Pakistan's Sunni Muslim majority.

“Aapko bhi pta hai, humein bhi pta hai, hume ye war politics ka bakra banaya ja raha hai. (You know and we know that we are being made scapegoats)“ a protester said while speaking to the representative of the provincial government which was followed by slogans of “ye jo dehshatgardi hai, iske peeche wardi hai” (Those in uniform are spreading terror)

The protesters also told officials that even the police security forces are not safe in the area.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had condemned the attack and ordered an inquiry.

Both the Pakistani Taliban and the Sunni militant group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abdul Razzaq Cheema had earlier said that the blast, which occurred when the vegetable and fruit sacks were being loaded onto trucks by the traders, targeted the Hazara ethnic community.

However, Home Minister Ziaullah Langove, in a press conference, said that the blast was not targeting "a specific community".

"Our guess is that no specific community was targeted. Marri Baloch and Frontier Corps (FC) personnel were among those killed as well. The numbers of the Hazara community were just greater," Langove said.

A city in Baluchistan province, Quetta is home to more than half a million people from Shia Hazara.

While talking about the repeated attacks, the protester, on the day two of the protest, said “this is not the first attack, nor the second.”

The explosion at around 7:35 am on Friday, took place in the busy wholesale market area of Hazarganj in Quetta where Hazaras and other traders come daily to buy fruits and vegetables to later sell at their shops in other parts of the city.

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