Hazara protests in Quetta, Balochistan, Pakistan
Hazara protests in Quetta, Balochistan, Pakistan

Hazaras calls off hunger strike after five days

ANI | Updated: May 03, 2018 13:26 IST

Quetta (Balochistan) [Pakistan], May 3 (ANI): The Shia Hazara community, who were on a hunger strike, demanding their protection against miscreants, have called off their strike after meeting with Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa here on Wednesday.

General Bajwa, who arrived in the Balochistan capital late on Tuesday met with the elders of the community, who apprised him of their grievances, Express Tribune reported.

After assuring them that strict action would be taken, General Bajwa said, "Those targeting Hazara community will suffer twice as much and the state and Pakistan Army will provide security to the community."

He also met with a Pakistani advocate Jalila Haider, who was leading the hunger strike and other Hazara women.

"We are Muslim first and then anything else. Every Pakistani irrespective of religion, sect, language or caste has to stay steadfast and united to defeat hostile forces trying to create division among our nation," General Bajwa was quoted by the Pakistan Army's media wing as saying.

General Bajwa was accompanied by Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Balochistan Tribal and Home Affairs Minister Sarfraz Bugti.

Jalila broke her fast by taking a sip of juice by the hand of Iqbal.

Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday took suo motu notice of the rise in "targetted killings" on the Hazaras. He sought reports from the authorities concerned, including the interior ministry, the provincial government and the Balochistan Levies on measures taken by the respective agencies to ensure the security of the community within 10 days, the report said.

"It has been pointed out by the Bar and media alike that during the last several years, the Hazara community in Quetta has been a target of repeated terrorist attacks driven by ethnic and sectarian hatred," said the CJP as he fixed the hearing of the case for May 11 at the top court's Quetta registry.

The recent protest began after two men from the community were shot dead by unidentified assailants at an electronics shop on Jamaluddin Afghani Road in Quetta on Saturday.

The Hazara community has been severely affected by sectarian terrorism in Balochistan for years.

In March, a report released by the Pakistan National Commission for Human Rights showed that 509 people from the community were killed, while 627 of them were wounded in different incidents of terrorism in Quetta since 2013. (ANI)

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