Amid heavy showers and cold weather, members of the Hazara community continued their sit-in for a third consecutive day, demanding that Prime Minister Imran Khan come to Quetta and assure them of protection and impartial implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP).
The western bypass, which links the city with highways, remained blocked for traffic as security forces surrounded the area where the Hazara families had set up their protest camp against the Friday blast at the Hazarganji vegetable and fruit market.
The suicide attack resulted in the killing of 19 people, including eight members of the Hazara community. Eleven others belonged to different tribes. Among them, there was one security official who was on duty at the blast site.
Representing the protesters, Advocate Tahir Hazara expressed dismay over the federal government’s attitude and regretted that Prime Minister Imran Khan had no time to visit Quetta after the tragic incident of Hazarganji.
He said the government had failed to protect their lives, as terrorists were continuously targeting the Hazara community in Quetta. “We have lost hundreds of our loved ones during the last 10 years,” he added.
Advocate Tahir said the National Action Plan had been prepared by the parliament with consensus yet many points of NAP were not being implemented. It was for this reason that the people of Hazara community were being targeted by terrorists, he added.
“PM Khan should ensure full implementation of the National Action Plan,” he reiterated.
The protesters also chanted slogans against the authorities for failing to protect the people against terrorist attacks.
While the provincial authorities contacted the protesters and assured NAP’s implementation, the latter refused to end their sit-in until all their demands are met.
Meanwhile, more workers of the Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM) joined in the protest and announced their support for the Hazara community.
Addressing a press conference, MWM Secretary General Allama Raja Nasir Abbas demanded that the federal government ensure implementation of NAP. He said frequent attacks against the Hazara community were giving a message to the world that Pakistan was not safe.
However, he said, no one was safe in Quetta. Along with ordinary masses, security personnel too had been martyred he said, adding that it raised questions over capabilities of the government.
He said the state must act without further delay, because the people were tired of lifting the coffins of their loved ones.