Messages of hatred, through bombs and killings, continue to be delivered across the country with militants – motivated by different ideas and ‘inspired’ by different aims and ideologies – striking at will in various places, in various ways and aiming at different targets. Reports narrating the details of these attacks have become the norm, with their tales of death and injury. Now we read such a story again, once more from Quetta where a bus carrying Hazara pilgrims across the border from Iran on Thursday was attacked as it entered Hazar Ganj. Thirteen people were killed and 40 on board the bus were injured. The bomb that caused that havoc appears to have been planted in a car along the route. Like those before it, the attack was well-planned and expertly executed. The toll of the dead may rise given the gravity of some of the injuries suffered by the victims now lying in hospital. Clearly the motive was sectarian as it has always been in similar attacks in the past and the present. There was another incident of terrorist violence on that same day. In the Bara area of Khyber Agency, an army vehicle was attacked with a home-made explosive device killing eight soldiers of the Pakistan Army including a captain. Again it is not hard to know who was responsible or why the army personnel died. Many other similar attacks have taken place before.
What is difficult to know and understand in the former case is the ‘unchecked’ consistency with which a particular community is being targeted with the government and the law-enforcement agencies playing a role no better than that of a bystander. The pain and agony suffered by the Hazaras is immense. Living constantly under the fear of death, so many of them have been forced to abandon their work and education. Even if terror has become so much a part of life in many areas of this country, it still boggles the mind how a process of systematic elimination of the Hazaras in Balochistan by sectarian extremists belonging mostly to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has gone on undeterred, with little apparently being done by those at the helm of affairs to protect the community that is being attacked and slaughtered and punish those who, it seems, would have nothing less than genocide as their aim. After the latest incident, words of condolence and directions for an enquiry have, once again, come from the prime minister and other officials, as they always do. Such condolences have started to sound obscene now. A government’s job is a bit more than just mourning along with the grieved as their neighbours do. And such enquiries, if they are indeed held, lead nowhere. Protests and demonstrations have been held and strikes observed after each such incident by parties representing the Hazaras and also other groups, and Quetta is seeing more of these after the latest carnage. Will these rallies, and slogans of protests raised by them, ever shake the government out of its criminal slumber and move the intelligence agencies into doing their job – that of identifying those planning this crime and tracking them down?