Last Rites: Another massacre, another mass burial

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 10:00:24 by


Amid scuffles and protests, and tears and sobs, the Shia Hazara community buried the victims of Saturday’s blast in the Hazara Town graveyard on Wednesday.

While the official death toll is 89, the Shia representative organisation Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) said 114 bodies were buried on Wednesday.

The mass burial brought to an end a three-day sit-in protest by relatives and members of the Hazara community after they accepted a government request to call off the nationwide protests.

Families and community members had refused to bury the victims of Saturday’s bomb attack in Hazara Town – which came just over a month after twin blasts killed over 100 people, mostly Hazaras – until Pakistan Army took control of the provincial capital.

Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf constituted on Tuesday a special committee – headed by Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira – to hold talks with the protesting community.

MWM General Secretary Allama Amin Shaheedi along with the victims’ relatives announced at a news conference late Tuesday night that they would bury the bodies on Wednesday at 9am.

But for many of the mourners, the deal was insufficient.

On Wednesday, some angry relatives and community members, crying and screaming, initially refused to bury the dead.

Mourners threw stones at some media persons and the car of Quetta’s Deputy Commissioner Abdul Saboor Khan Kakar as burials got under way, prompting security forces and then protesters to fire gunshots into the air.

Five people, including four security men, sustained injuries in the melee.

A large number of paramilitary Fortier Corps and police personnel rushed to the spot and managed to bring the situation under control.

The angry mob finally dispersed and as the bodies were buried in a row of graves, hundreds of volunteers formed a human chain in a symbol of solidarity and protection.

Mourners told AFP they thought nothing would change.

“We are in severe shock, we want the government to take visible steps,” said college student Kazim Ali, mourning a relative. “The army is our last hope. We want a comprehensive military operation.”

Ali Raza, 35, asked how up to 1,000kg of explosives were smuggled into Hazara Town. “Why are they killing us? What is our crime?” Raza said.

“How did terrorists transport such a huge amount of explosives here? The government will have to take some serious steps.”

Soldiers from the paramilitary Frontier Corps and police were deployed in all markets and on roads in Quetta city as the burials took place, while troops searched every vehicle heading towards the Hazara Town area.

Case registered against trouble-makers

Quetta police chief Mir Zubair told reporters that a case had been registered against the men involved in firing and pelting stones at the police in the graveyard.

Around five security forces, including the three policemen and two Balochistan Levies personnel, sustained injuries. The windows of the deputy commissioner’s car were smashed after it was hit by a bullet, eye witnesses said.

The MWM central vice president said they had convinced to relatives of victims to end their protest and bury their dead; yet, some elements wanted to disrupt the peaceful burial.

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, he called on the government to change newly appoint police chief Mushtaq Sukera. (With additional input from AFP)

Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2013.

Quetta News Sources -2

Tags: , , , , ,

Short URL:

Posted by on Feb 20 2013. Filed under Latest News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Search Archive

Search by Date
Search by Category
Search with Google Deals
Log in