QUETTA - Members of Quetta’s Hazara community continued their protest against Hazarganji suicide blast for a third consecutive day on Sunday.

A large number of men, women and children attended the protest demonstration on Western Bypass, demanding of the government to bring those behind the attack to justice.

Traffic remained suspended on the Western Bypass owing to the sit-in.

According to protesters, they will continue their sit-in till arrest of the culprits. They also urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit Quetta.

At least 20 people including security personnel and eight members of the Hazara community were killed and 48 others wounded in the suicide attack at the Hazarganji fruit and vegetable market in Quetta on Friday morning.

Meanwhile, investigation into Quetta’s Hazarganji attack is underway and body parts of the suicide bomber have sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency for DNA testing. A team comprising senior Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) officials has been set up to probe Hazarganji blast. The CTD officials have decided for geo-fencing of the crime scene.

According to a private television channel report, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abdul Razzaq Cheema said a team of CTD officials had visited site of the attack in Hazarganji’s fruit and vegetable market to collect evidence.

The DIG said that test reports would be handed over to Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal, but did not specify when they would be issued.

Speaking to media after the blast, Balochistan Home Minister Zia Langove had said the vegetable vendors belonging to Haraza community were the target. “A suicide bomber detonated his explosive laden vest inside the vegetable marker,” he said.

Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Qari Husain faction of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan as well as the militant Islamic State group. Da’ish also released a photograph of the bomber along with his name.

On Saturday, despite reassurances by Federal Minister Ali Zaidi, the protesters refused to call off their sit-in until all their demands were met, including the arrests of those involved in attack, steps for protection of the community, and implementation of NAP without discrimination. Hazaras are disproportionately targeted by sectarian violence as they are easily identifiable due to their distinctive physical appearance. Nearly half a million Hazaras have settled here since fleeing Afghanistan to escape violence in their homeland during the past four decades.

A report released by the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) last year stated that 509 members of Hazara community were killed and 627 injured in various incidents of terrorism in Quetta from January 2012 to Dec 2017.

NCHR official Fazeela Alyani had earlier said that all these lives were lost in Quetta. According to the NCHR, targeted killings, suicide attacks, and bomb blasts have inflicted harm to daily life, education, and business activities of ethnic Hazara community members in Balochistan’s largest city.

Alyani had also explained that the fear and intimidation forced Hazaras to migrate to foreign countries, while target killings forced Hazara students to abandon their studies.

The Amnesty International, in its statement on Friday had said the blast was a ‘painful reminder’ of many attacks suffered by the Hazara community in Quetta over the years. It had also called for the government to give them better protection.

“Each time, there are promises that more will be done to protect them, and each time those promises have failed to materialise,” wrote Omar Waraich, Amnesty’s deputy director for South Asia.

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan visited the Hazara Town on Saturday. He expressed his condolences over the lives lost in the suicide attack, vowing to end the menace of terrorism.