The recent attack on policemen protecting members of the Hazara community in Quetta has highlighted two major phenomenons taking place in this country. First is that Balochistan as a province has not witnessed a decline in extremism. The second is that the persecution of the religious minorities in the country is still not being addressed.
The entire population stands in unison in recognising that terrorists attacks in the country have decreased. This is due to the operations, Radd ul Fasaad and Zarb e Azb, carried out by the military and has resulted in extremists evacuating their hubs in the country and moving to secluded areas. However while it is true that major areas has seen a decrease in these attacks, these statistics completely negate the province of Balochistan where the attacks have been rampant in the last year. During 2017 a total of five attacks took place in the province resulting in the death of 73 people with another 166 injured. There is growing influence of Islamic State (IS) in the region as well. The group was able to gun down two Chinese nationals in Quetta last year.
If we consider the second phenomenon, then Pakistan as a country has still not reached a point where it accepts the persecution of religious minorities in the country. Attacks on the minorities are often mislabeled as attempts to disrupt festive activities and not specific targeted action against a particular group. A case in point is the attack in Parachinar last year just days before Eid ul Fitr. It was against a particular minority group, however, authorities conveniently covered that fact up by labelling it as an attempt to disrupt the festivities of the upcoming Eid.
The state now needs to recognise its problems because that is the first step towards solving them, not blatantly covering them up.