On 8th August 2016, there was an attack on a group of lawyers and journalists in Quetta that killed more than 70 people, and leaving over a 100 injured. This attack came in the wake of another attack earlier that day which killed the former president of Balochistan Bar Association, Bilal Anwar Kasi. The second attack took place when Anwar Kasi’s dead body was brought to the hospital, causing journalists and lawyers to gather. Balochistan is no stranger to incidents of violence and target killings. Nearly 1400 incidents have been reported which have collectively targeted the minorities of Shia and Hazara community.
One is forced to think about how long Quetta shall suffer? It has been a decade now since Quetta witnessed several terrifying attacks that have resulted mass killing of people of Quetta. One of the most painful attacks occurred in 2013 when a bomb killed 110 and injured over 200 in a market. Most of the victims were members of the Shia Community.
In 2014, polio workers were attacked, leaving four female polio workers dead as the polio workers were on the way to vaccinate children in Quetta without any security protocol. Moreover, there was a repeat of this incident when twenty polio workers lost their lives in January of 2016.
After the horrifying attacks in Quetta, lawyers protested against the killing of 73 lawyers and journalists. In response, the government declared to have three days of national mourning causing shops and markets to close.
However, in recent times, law and order situation has improved in other parts of the country; but the situation of Quetta has remained unaddressed pertaining to security threats. Recently, we have seen a police training college was attacked, killing more than 60 people. During the elections, the country was momentarily paralysed when 150 people lost their lives in Mastung.
When people who help operate institutions that build frameworks for education, for law and order, and for health, are attacked, these are direct attacks on the respective institutions.
As a developing country, we must safeguard the existence of these institutions. Because they play a pivotal role for the development of Pakistan.
After tragedies, our leaders express sorrow and promise to help the affected families. The foremost responsibility of our leaders should be to provide safety to the public. Expressions of sadness and false promises do not save lives. The citizens of Quetta and Balochistan are dying while they await help from the government.
Let’s hope and expect from the upcoming government that it would have a deeper commitment to provide effective security to the province and the institutions that serve it. It is necessary that the stern security measures should be ensured so that the mega projects like CPEC are accomplished within time period.. Hence, the elimination of terrorism is essential for the country.
Published in The Balochistan Point on August 08, 2018