Children as young as five holding placards that read, “Am I next?” and “Stop Hazara killings in Quetta”, participated in a sit-in at Numaish Chowrangi on MA Jinnah Road on Saturday.
Hundreds of mourners from the Shia and Sunni communities and the civil society gathered to protest against the blasts in Quetta on Thursday that killed around 120 people.
The protesters maintained that the sit-in would not end until the army takes control of the Balochistan province.
“We won’t budge from this place until the government hands over Balochistan to the army; we have had enough,” said Nasir Hussaini, the information secretary of the Majlis-e-Wahadat-e-Muslimeen, (MWM), one of the organisers of the sit-in.
Hussaini said the government had failed to bring the law and order situation in the province under control. “It’s time that the army takes over.”
Members of the Pakistan Youth Alliance and other civil society organisations paid tribute to the victims with a candlelight vigil and held placards that reflected their sentiments.
One placard read, “I support Hazara Muslims, I support Shia Muslims and yes I am a Sunni Deobandi who supports love, peace and humanity.”
Salman Khan, a member of the Pakistan Youth Alliance, said, “I came here to support my Pakhtun brothers and sisters. I am here to show that Sunnis and Shias stand united against such killings.”
The ambience of the sit-in was charged as various leaders using loudspeakers vehemently denounced the killings and families had arrived there prepared to ensure their participation for days.
“In line with our brethrens in Quetta who are with the bodies of their loved ones in this freezing weather waiting for the State to act, we here in Karachi and people across the country are staging such sit-ins,” said Ali, one of the organisers associated with the Shia Ulema Council.
Ali said the people who were killing Shias were not being brought to book. “The law enforcement agencies know who are behind these murders, but nobody seems to care, nothing is being done; what options are we left with?” he asked.
Earlier, the Hazara Mughal Yekjehti Forum Pakistan organised a protest rally against the Quetta blasts and the government’s inaction outside the Karachi Press Club in which many Hazara community members participated.