Shia community, which is slightly above 20 percent of the country’s population, has been under constant attacks by Sunni sectarian groups, operating under umbrella organization Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) in recent years. Hazara community living in Quetta and its outskirts are the worst affected of violence against Shia Muslims. In an attack yesterday, five Shia Muslims including three members of Hazara community lost their lives to the firing of armed motorcyclists.

Whereas the authorities boasted about the tight security and upholding of law and order during the month of Muharram this year, the violent attacks and systematic targeting of Hazara people are yet to find an end. It only shows the naivety of law enforcement agencies about how sectarian organizations work against minorities, especially Shia Muslims. While the government still denies sectarian and militant groups’ presence in Baluchistan, the attacks against Hazara community suggest otherwise.

Though it is true that sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni militant groups has a long history in Pakistan, attacks in recent times are one-sided. Ordinary Shia citizens of the country, going about their daily lives, become the victims of such heinous attacks.

To many belonging to Hazara community, the failure of authorities in stopping their persecution is the sheer incompetence and indifference or their possible compliance in such attacks. The government needs to remove any such doubt preoccupying the minds of Shia community. These uncertainties can only be removed by acting iron-handedly against sectarian organizations.

It is true that overall security situation in the country is getting better as result of military operations and crackdowns. However, it is also a sad reality that organizations that attack Shia Muslims are still busy killing Shias with impunity.

The question that needs urgent address is; when will the persecution of Shia Muslims, especially those belonging to Hazara ethnicity, be equated to the issues of national security? Are they children of some lesser god? If not, then protecting their lives is as much important and necessary task as preserving the life of any other citizen of this country.