ISLAMABAD - Federal government is weighing options to launch a targeted operation against those involved in killings of Hazaras in Quetta, sources said on Monday. The president called Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and inquired about the situation in the province in the wake of the Saturday bombing in Quetta and the steps taken by the provincial government to apprehend culprits.

He asked him to take all necessary measures for the security of Hazaras and facilitate the victims and their families. Sources told TheNation that President Zardari asked the governor to seek help from the Pakistan Army, if necessary. Sources said that the president directed the provincial governor to order an immediate action against those nominated by the elders of Hazara community.

"There are three localities including Akhrottabad in Quetta where the alleged culprits are said to be residing and the provincial government should immediately arrest them", sources quoted President Zardari as telling the governor.

However, some sources said that the govt was indecisive about its strategy to handle the situation and was just trying to gain time until the installation of a caretaker govt. They said that the PPP-led coalition was shying away from taking action against the alleged perpetrators for fear of serious reaction that could lead to more sectarian violence in the country, delaying the general elections.

"God forbid if such incidents continue unabated and sectarian violence spreads to other provinces, elections would be delayed", a source said, adding that the coalition should immediately take appropriate steps. However, sources in the coalition said that the government was weighing option to tackle the situation in Quetta. "The federal is in contact with the provincial government to work out an effective operational plan against the culprits", sources added.

They dismissed the notion that government was avoiding taking a decisive action against the killers of Hazaras. The president and prime minister assigned the Balochistan governor to go offensive against the culprits without any delay, the said.