Eight Hazaras shot dead in Quetta;15-day toll rises to 26
QUETTA: At least eight members of the Shia Hazara community and a policeman were killed in three attacks here on Saturday.
After the attacks and subsequent violence, the administration called out Frontier Corps in the city. The paramilitaries started taking up positions at important places in the evening.
“Seven people were killed in firing on two vehicles on Brewery Road and Subzal Road,” DIG (Operation) Qazi Wahid told Dawn.
Saturday’s killings took the number of Hazara Shias killed in Quetta and its vicinity during the past fortnight to 26.
The Hazara Democratic Party has called upon the community to observe a strike on Sunday to “register outrage over the unabated killings”.
Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, who was in Islamabad, expressed sorrow over the deaths and ordered officials concerned to “take all possible steps for arresting the culprits”.
The Balochistan governor had earlier this week criticised the provincial government, warning that the army could be called out if the administration failed to protect life and property.
Soon after Saturday’s attacks, angry protesters blocked the road that leads from Quetta to Hazara town.
They torched a private van and a motorcycle in Bolan Medical College Hospital.
A student was injured when unknown people fired in the air. Shots were fired at police, too.
The protesters also burnt tyres at different points in Quetta and some men riding motorcycles fired blank shots, triggering panic.
Shops and business centres were closed and people started rushing home as fear overtook the city after masked men riding motorcycles fired indiscriminately in shopping areas.
The terrorists first struck at Killi Ibrahimzai, where four motorcyclists fired at a yellow cab that was taking six people to Quetta from Hazara town.
“They opened fire on the car from two directions, killing all the six passengers. They suffered bullet wounds to their heads,” police said.
In the other shooting, two men riding a motorcycle attacked another vehicle on Subzal Road.
One man was killed on the spot and another was critically injured. He died in the Combined Military Hospital.
A policeman, Mohammad Panha, was shot dead in Shalkot, near Quetta, when he was going to his place of duty.
According to some TV reports, some suspects were taken into custody.
OUTRAGE: Members of the Hazara community converged on Brewery Road in their hundreds and at the Bolan Medical College Hospital, where bodies were placed for identification. The enraged crowd pelted vehicles with stones and blocked roads.
The demonstrators set on fire a van and a motorcycle parked in the hospital and also attacked some shops.
Groups of protesters burnt tyres at Meezan Chowk and in some other places across the Balochistan capital.
However, security personnel dispersed them after firing shots in the air.
Home Secretary Naseebullah Bazai immediately called out the Frontier Corps to control the situation.
“Ten FC battalions have been deployed in and around Quetta to restore peace and order,” official sources said.
Heavy contingents of FC, police and Balochistan Constabulary patrolled the road and streets of the provincial capital.