Ongoing protest in Quetta; mourners refuse to bury their dead until action is promised

Haunting photo of grieving protestors sitting with coffins in the freezing cold in Quetta

Haunting photo of vigil by thousands of protestors gathered around the shrouded bodies of the blast victims; they’ve been there for 15 hours now, braving freezing cold and rain.

In a powerful statement of grief, rage and protest, demonstrators, including women and children are sitting in the freezing cold and rain holding vigil over 86 shrouded bodies at Alamdar Road, the site of the bomb blasts in Quetta. No one from the government has yet met the mourners who are refusing to bury their dead until the army promises them protection. See video footage of the dharna, ongoing for 15 hours now, broadcast online by Such TV. In solidarity, protestors began gathering at the Karachi Press Club starting at about 3.00 am, galvanised into action by Syed Ali Raza Abidi‘s tweets. By 5 am , some protestors also started gathering in Islamabad. A protest called by the Institute of Peace and Secular Studies is already scheduled from 5-7 pm at the Liberty Roundabout in Lahore today, Jan 12. (UPDATE: Karachi protest Sat, Jan 12, 2.30 pm at Karachi Press Club)

Grieving women light candles at the ongoing dharna in Quetta

Grieving women light candles at the ongoing dharna in Quetta

“In a rare challenge, a Shi’ite Muslim leader publicly criticized Pakistani military chief General Ashfaq Kayani over security in the country on Friday after bombings targeting the minority sect killed 93 people,” commented Reuters (Shi’ite leader challenges Pakistan army chief over attacks).

“The criticism of Kayani, arguably the most powerful man in the South Asian state, highlighted Shi’ite frustrations with Pakistan’s failure to contain Sunni Muslim militant groups who have vowed to wipe out Shi’ites. The burials had been scheduled to take place after Friday prayers but the bodies would remain unburied until Shi’ites had received promises of protection, they said.”

Karachi, 3.30 am: protestors, galvanised by a shoutout by @abidifactor on twitter, gathered at the Press Club in solidarity with the Quetta dharna.

Karachi, 3.30 am: protestors, including women and children, galvanised by a shoutout by @abidifactor (in check shirt) on twitter, gathered at the Press Club in solidarity with the Quetta dharna. Photo by @AnasMallick

Violence against Pakistani Shi’ites is rising and some communities are living in a state of siege, says Human Rights Watch. “Last year was the bloodiest year for Shias in living memory,” said Ali Dayan Hasan of HRW. “More than 400 were killed and if yesterday’s attack is any indication, it’s just going to get worse.”

The banned Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jangvi (LeJ) claimed responsibility for the attack in a predominantly Shi’ite neighborhood where the residents are Hazaras, Shi’ites who first migrated from Afghanistan in the 19th century.

“While U.S. intelligence agencies have focused on al Qaeda and the Taliban, Pakistani intelligence officials say LeJ is emerging as a graver threat to Pakistan, a nuclear-armed, strategic ally of the United States,” comments the Reuters report. “It has stepped up attacks against Shi’ites across the country but has zeroed in on members of the sect who live in resource-rich Baluchistan.”

3 Responses

  1. Last year 2012 or the year before last year…
    As I remember, the same sort of incident happened in Karachi.
    Some Shia People killed and brutally dealt with the bodies of some Sunni Madrissa students.
    Nobody came out for those…
    Even at that incident none of the media ever gave a single report…..
    But Now..
    All are saying this is insane…

    I am not supporting this all….
    but am pleading for transparency in our behaviors…

    It was said once…
    “Terrorists are not trained…they are result of some past event…!”

    What ever happened….

    We all Muslims condemn this..
    This is not a way to solve religious or secular conflicts…


  2. […] PM Imran finally announced his decision to visit Quetta on April 18 as the Hazara community sit-in entered its fourth day – to the background of hashtags like #ImranKhanGoToHazara and #WazireAzamQuettaJayain. This is not the first time the Hazara have staged such sit-ins; there was one just last year. Here’s the link to my 2013 post: Bomb blasts in Quetta target Hazaras, claim over 100 lives #RIPKhudiAli. And another post from that time:  Ongoing protest in Quetta; mourners refuse to bury their dead until action is promised. […]


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