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UK: London protesters call for army action, rule of law in Quetta


LONDON, (The News): Outraged at what they termed the genocide of Hazara Shias and the inability of the government to maintain law and order in almost all parts of Pakistan, protesters targeted the Pakistan High Commission (PHC) in London in various protests, starting from Friday night through to Saturday.

Braving cold, rain and freezing temperature, more than 200 Shia youth occupied the pavement outside the Pakistan High Commission on Friday night as the news spread of helpless mourners on Alamdar Road in Quetta protesting the killing of over 90 Shia Hazaras. The Quetta protesters were staging a sit-in, demanding that the military seize control of the provincial capital and protect the ethnic Hazara community, which has been routinely targeted by armed militants from sectarian groups such as the Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

The protesters said they were staging a impromptu sit-in to show solidarity with the Hazara community until their demands are met.

Hazara protesters were demanding that they would not allow the victims of two bomb attacks in Quetta on Thursday to be buried until their demands were met and the Pakistan Army took control of the province and provided protection to the vulnerable community. They said that the government had failed in hindering the terrorists and in fact elements within the government were supporting terrorists groups.

The London sit-in turned into a grand protest by the afternoon in which more than 500 people took part.

Addressing a press conference on Saturday here, Shia leaders announced that thousands of people will assemble outside the Pakistan High Commission next Saturday to express their anger at what they termed the “massacre of the Shia populations in Pakistan”.

The Majlis-e-Ulema Shia Europe leader Syed Ali Raza Rizvi told media that the government knew who the killers of Shias are, as the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Sipah-e-Sahaba are not only known for their strong antipathy against Shias but also made no secret of the fact that they believe in killing Shias and preaching this message. Yet the government, from President Asif Ali Zardari to Rehman Malik and others, has shown no resolve to deal with this situation.

“We believe due to the indifference shown by the Pakistani government history will remember it to be a partner in these barbarous acts of terrorism and all the different departments which have the authority will not be forgiven. All institutions have failed criminally to provide any personal or public security to the public. The silence of the chief justice of Pakistan on the continued massacre of the Shias is questionable especially because he normally shows special interest in the happenings in Balochistan,” he said.

Separately, members of civil society organised a protest on Saturday outside the Pakistan High Commission to demand justice in the case of Shahzeb Khan and in the cases of all other unlawful killings in Pakistan. The victim’s relatives also took part in the protest.

The protest was organised by Pakistanis living in Britain and The Young Activists of Pakistan and attended by professionals and students who had gathered to call for justice for Shahzeb Khan, who was gunned down on the 25th December 2012 on the night of his sister’s wedding, allegedly by Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur and their guards over a minor disagreement. Protesters pointed out that Shahzeb Khan has become a name associated with a cause and that cause is justice and the rule of law in Pakistan.

Speaking to The News, Barrister Aisha Jamil, who helped organise the protest, said: “This is not just about Shahzeb Khan.

This is about a society which should not live in fear of daily killings. This is about trusting the police and the judiciary to take action, even when an individual does not have recourse to the press and social media.

A poor life snuffed out is no less than a wealthy life taken. This is about trusting the government to enforce the rule of law and order for everyone, regardless of how wealthy or politically connected they are. The culprits in this case must be brought to justice and appropriate severe punishment given, so it serves as a deterrent to other killers. The people of Pakistan and those affiliated with Pakistan have spoken. We will not tolerate injustice. We will not tolerate incompetence or corruption in tackling crime”.

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