QUETTA- Balochistan on Monday mourned the barbaric killings of innocent people, including women and children, while a complete shutter-down strike was observed in Quetta against the deadly blast in Hazara Town on Sunday night.
The strike call was given by Majlis-e-Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen (MWM) and Hazara Democratic Party to denounce massacre of the Hazara Shia community. All shopping malls, business centres and markets located at Jinnah Road, Liaquat Bazaar, Alamdar Road, Double Road, Brewery Road, Hazara Town, and in other parts of the city remained closed while traffic on the roads was also very thin.
At least 28 people, including 10 women and 3 three children, were killed and more than 50 others sustained critical wounds in a suicide attack followed by a remote-controlled bomb blast near an Imambargah at Aliabad Balkhi Chowk, Hazara Town, Quetta. The banned outfit, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, through its spokesman Abu Bakar Siddiq, claimed the responsibility for the attack.
On Monday, two more critically injured persons succumbed to their injuries at Combined Military Hospital, raising the death toll to 30. Hospital sources said the condition of some injured was still serious.
Moving scenes were witnessed when the dead bodies were brought to a graveyard for burial. The funeral prayers of the 28 victims, attended by a large number of people, including MPA Muhammad Raza, were offered in Hazara Town while two dead bodies were sent to Afghanistan for burial.
An investigation team, comprising six members, has been constituted under SP (Investigation) Muhammad Tariq. An FIR of the suicide attack has been registered against unknown persons by Brewery police station.
A 20-year-old shopkeeper, Muhammad Shafiq, talking to media persons, said there was no place safe for the people of Hazara community. “We cannot even go to Imambargahs and schools/colleges while living in Quetta has become quite hard,” he added.
Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch who was in Islamabad shorted his visit, reached Quetta and went direct to CMH to inquire about health of the injured.
Talking to media people on the occasion, the CM termed the suicide blast at Hazara Town tragic and strongly condemned it. “We share the grief with the Hazara community and the bereaved families,” he said. He added the Hazara people should not think them alone as not only Balochistan but also the entire country was with them. He directed the authorities concerned to utilise all resources for providing better treatment facilities to the injured. Whadat-ul-Muslimeen MPA Muhammad Raza, talking to media people, said there should be a targeted operation in Quetta.
He was of the view that the new government should be given time to improve the situation. He said the suicide attacker had been stopped at the main gate of the Imambargah. Had he entered the Imambargah where 400 people were offering the prayers, the death toll would have been much more, he said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of activists of Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) staged a demo outside Quetta Press Club against the suicide attack at Hazara Town and the killings of innocent people. The participants of the demo were carrying placards and banners, inscribed with different demands, and shouting slogans seeking security for the Hazara community.