THE Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) strongly condemned Thursday’s killing of 25 Shia Muslims pulled out of buses headed for Gilgit Baltistan, as well as target killing of three Shias in Quetta, demanded that the authorities explain why the killers roamed free and how the government planned to ensure security for the citizens targeted because of their religious belief.
The Commission in a statement said: “HRCP is appalled that terrorists have once again succeeded in targeting without any difficulty Shia Muslims on their way to Gilgit Baltistan. Thursday’s attack was similar to the one carried out in Kohistan in February in more than one respect. Again buses were stopped on a main road by men in military uniforms, Shia passengers were separated from the rest and executed.
Many transporters had started using the Mansehra-Naran-Jalkhad route instead of the Karakoram Highway after the February killings, from which the region had yet to recover. Thursday’s attack occurred on this changed route. Other than claims of responsibility made by Taliban or other bands of extremist militants, the authorities appear to be clueless about who the attackers were or how to stop them.”
The killing of three men belonging to Quetta’s long suffering Hazara Shia community on Thursday further underlined the hazards that Shia Muslims face in Pakistan, the HRCP statement said. Such targeted killing of people because of their religious beliefs was unfortunately no longer an anomaly in Pakistan.