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- Saturday, January 12, 2013 - From Print Edition




Emotional scenes were observed as people from Hazara community, civil society representatives and human rights activists gathered outside busy Super Market to mourn the death of 125 innocent people in blasts in Quetta and Swat on Thursday.


They held candlelight vigil, chanted slogans and observed a moment of silence for those who lost their lives. They were holding the pictures of young human rights defender Irfan Ali from Hazara community who was among those killed in the second blast of Quetta when he was providing first aid to the victims of first blast.


Most of the speakers were all tears when they remembered their friend Irfan Ali who they said was a hope of the bright future of the Pakistan. “He always stood up for the vulnerable and was on his toes all the time to serve humanity,” recalled Faizan, Irfan’s friend.


The speakers demanded Supreme Court to take notice of the blatant killing of innocent civilians and said all those who have remained silent on this situation are to be blamed besides the insensitiveness and indifference of government and security agencies. They opined that the present situation is the result of strategic depth policy in Afghanistan.


“Hundreds of innocent people are assassinated every day in our country. We are at war both within and outside Pakistan,” said eminent human rights activist Tahira Abdullah. She appealed to the government and citizens of Pakistan to come forwards and save the Hazara community.


Representatives of Hazara community said they are not left with any land to bury their dead. “Thousands of our people are dead but not even one person has been arrested,” said Sjjad Hussain Changaizi, a student from Hazara community. “The first step is to at least name those who are involved in this killing,” he said while regretting that media and politicians are reluctant to name extremist who openly admit the killing.


Civil society activist Rakhshanda Perveen urged Supreme Court to take suo moto notice of the situation. Farzana Bari said that ethnic genocide of Hazara’s is a well-planned conspiracy. Dr Ambreen Ahmed said Irfan had the heart of gold. “Unless we all become like Irfan, things will not change. He was not afraid of anyone and he always stood for truth and justice,” she added.


A statement issued on this occasion called upon all political leaders in and out of government to leave behind petty differences and join hands to defeat the enemy of extremism and reclaim the country for the vast majority of its citizens who wish to live in peace and harmony.


“Together with the cruel assassination of 125 innocent children, women and men, all citizens of this land, we mourn the loss of Irfan Ali, a young human rights activist who was deeply committed to helping others and working for the betterment of humankind. A member of the viciously targeted Shia sect, Irfan, like so many other persons with him at that time, was cut down in the prime of his life when he was assisting victims of the bomb blast at a snooker club in Quetta. Irfan was enthusiastic, gentle-natured and a dedicated supporter of peace and justice. His gentle presence will be sorely missed by us all in Insani Huqooq Itehad (IHI),” mentioned the statement.


It said the latest carnage of innocent citizens has been proudly claimed by the cold blooded perpetrators. “Who has given them the right to murder and kill at will? Those in politics and those trying to eke out their livelihoods away from the citadels of power, health workers, school children and teachers, the police and army men, religious leaders and ordinary citizens — all have been targeted. Surely those who are committing these atrocities are neither religious people, nor do they have any shred of humanity or sentiments of patriotism. Since they do not have popular support, they seek to terrorize the nation and impose their will by force.”


They statement prayed for the innocent lives that were lost and extend heart-felt sympathies to the family and friends of Irfan, and to all those who have lost their dear ones. “We demand the government of Pakistan to take immediate action to arrest those who have claimed the responsibility of these blasts and bring them to justice and take concrete steps to stop ethnic cleansing of Shia and Hazara minority in Pakistan. It is the prime responsibility of the state to protect all its citizen and the state must do so urgently.”


The statement was endorsed by Insani Huqooq Ittehad (IHI), Pakistan Reproductive Health Network (PRHN)-Islamabad Chapter, EVAW/G and Women’s Action Forum.