Violence in Balochistan
On July 29, 11 people (including a woman) of Hazara, Shiite community were gunned down when they were traveling in the pickup truck. This is not the first incident of its kind either in Balochistan or in Pakistan. The members of the Shiite community had been targeted frequently in the past. Some incidents were the random attacks on the Shiite gatherings while others were targeted killings of the Shiite religious and political leaders.
The banned sectarian organization Lashkar-e-Jhanqvi (LeJ) was quick to take responsibility of the attack. It shouldn’t amaze anyone given that quite recently they had circulated pamphlets in Balochistan. In that pamphlet the LeJ declared the Hazara Shiite community in Balochistan libel to be murdered for their belief. The letter also said that after successful mission in Parachinar against the Shiite, their members are ready to deal with them in Hazara Town, Quetta. According to one newspaper report almost 40 people belonging to Shiite community had been gunned down in Balochistan in two months. That is a shocking figure.
Balochistan is home to people of Baloch, Pushtun and Hazara ethnicity (in addition to Punjabis etc.). There is a Baloch uprising in the province which demand an independence from the federation. The issue of missing Baloch nationals and human rights violations has been raised in the media off and on. The province is, as it proves from the incident of July 29, in the grip of sectarian violence too. In fact according to the figures released by the Islamabad based independent think-tank, Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) the most number of terrorist attacks took place in Balochistan last year.
The pie-chart below is based on the figures released by PIPS. It shows the total number of terrorist attacks that took place during 2010 in different parts of Pakistan. According to PIPS 737 attacks took place in Balochistan, followed by FATA – which is another major conflict zone.
It is quite unfortunate that despite having explicit claim of responsibility by the terrorist/sectarian/militant organizations, a section of people in our society still believes that those acts are committed by the foreign elements. It is hard to come up with a solution, unless we own the problem.