PM’s assurances to Hazaras

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AFTER nearly a weeklong sit-in, Hazara community on Saturday laid to rest ten coal miners martyred in a ghastly act in Machh, Balochistan. As promised, Prime Minister Imran Khan also visited Quetta on Saturday and during interaction with the bereaved families, assured to take all possible steps to provide protection to the community which over the years has remained most susceptible to sectarian attacks. While guaranteeing to fulfil the demands of Hazaras, he said a special cell is also being established in the security forces for their protection.
Undoubtedly, the Machh incident aggrieved the entire nation. Soon after the incident, protest demonstrations sprang up in different cities to express solidarity with the Hazara community. This really shows that Pakistani society as a whole strongly believes in sectarian harmony. How followers of different sects are amiably living in different neighbourhoods is also not a secret. But indeed there are elements backed by foreign forces that always make nefarious attempts to disturb this serene environment. It is unfortunate that the Hazara community in Quetta is worst victim of these plots and they are more vulnerable because of their distinctive facial features and concentration in one area. Being citizens of the country, it indeed is responsibility of the State to provide them full protection. It is not the first time that a sitting government has promised them protection as in the past also such assurances were given but these proved to be worthless as the community continues to face a constant threat of targeted violence.
Data from PHRC (Pakistan Human Rights Commission) and other reports suggest that over 3,000 Hazaras have been killed in bombings, car bombings and suicide attacks. Despite enhanced security of their neighbourhoods in the city, attacks have not stopped against Hazaras and they continue to live in an environment of fear and terror. Despite passing through difficult times, the Hazaras have never gone violent and remained peaceful. Those behind these dastardly acts must not only be nabbed but also given strict punishment before they could mount another attack. It is time to go beyond mere lip service. The government, security forces and intelligence agencies must fulfil their responsibilities to create a sense of security amongst Hazaras and enable them to harness opportunities offered by launch of CPEC projects in the Balochistan province.