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February 19, 2020

Terror in Quetta

Editorial

 
February 19, 2020

Quetta has seen repeated acts of violence at various times – originating in nationalist, ethnic or sectarian motives. On Monday evening, a suicide bombing along a main road in the city killed at least eight people and injured more than 25 others some of whom are still in hospital. The terrorist attack was apparently intended to target a procession taking place at the time by the Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat (ASWJ). The blast occurred close to the Quetta Press Club, for some time triggering fears that journalists may have been targeted. If this was a sectarian attack, similar in nature to others staged before it not only in Quetta but also in other parts of the country, such a revival of sectarian violence presents a further threat to law and order in Quetta and the rest of Balochistan. The province is already hit by crime, terrorism and violence of various kinds and an expansion in it is obviously a terrible omen for ordinary people as well as authorities.

As messages of condemnation come in from top leaders of the country, attempts are on to try and investigate which outfit could be behind the killing. There have been as yet no claims of responsibility. A number of analysts speaking on television shows and at other forums have however pointed out that the nature of the attacks resembles those seen in the 1980s and 1990s. Hundreds were killed in these attacks. There has been fear that the current situation in the region could lead to more violence on Pakistan’s soil. We hope that this is not the case.

Pakistan has suffered badly as a result of such violence in the past. It cannot afford another period of such violence. During the past five years, the number of attacks and resulting casualties has steadily declined. But, any complacency at this stage may result in a relapse of violence in the country. The country most of all needs harmony. We must hope that we can ensure it so that violence aimed at specific groups does not once again create further tension and discord in a country that badly needs peace.